Director: David Leitch
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Zazie Beetz, Brianna Hildebrand, Morena Baccarin, T.J. Miller, Julian Dennison, Stefan Kapicic, Leslie Uggams, Karan Soni
Runtime: 119 minutes
Coming off the surprise hit that was 2016’s Deadpool, fans and skeptics alike were anxious to see just what insane antics everyone’s favorite regenerating degenerate would get into during his second excursion onto the big screen. And with all the super-meta teasers we’d received up until this point to promote the movie (I’ll never see a Bob Ross episode the same), expectations were set fairly high. Not to mention Ryan Reynolds said that his sequel was, “bolder and nuttier than the first”. So, the question is: does Deadpool 2 deliver? Does it live up to all the hype? Yes and no.
The film’s story is fairly straightforward: Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds), apparently between slicing and shooting countless criminals around the world, decides that he wants to start a family with children of his own. And after a good bit of plot, he decides that he’ll take the foul-tempered Russel Collins (Julian Dennison) under his wing. All of this would be well and good if it weren’t for the fact that Russel becomes a violent murderer in the future known as Firefist. Because of this, time-traveler Cable (Josh Brolin) journeys to our present day in order to kill Russel before his rampage begins. From this basic premise, however, the film takes viewers through an uneven and unfocused plot that struggles to maintain the same sharp storytelling as its predecessor.
The film jumps from plot point to plot point almost as though it were a series of episodes strung together in one sitting rather than a feature length film. While multiple plots are commonplace and basically expected in most media, in this film it feels most of the ideas or characters introduced are there for a quick gag later rather than used to develop meaningful relationships or character arcs. The cast is filled with big names, but by the end of the film you might forget half of them were there or question why they were even there to begin with (although there are a few surprising cameos that will get a laugh out of you).
Which isn’t to say that the film is devoid of enjoyment. Director David Leitch is no stranger to the hyper-violence that is synonymous with Deadpool having directed both John Wick and Atomic Blonde, and it shows in the action scenes in this film. Deadpool is all about his crazy close-combat feats using his blade mastery and brazen disregard for his own well-being due to his immortality, and Leitch takes full advantage of this with plenty of engaging and well-shot scenes that blow most of the first movie’s action scenes out of the water. While some of the computer-generated characters look a little bit strange (something about the way Colossus’ mouth moves and the words being heard just doesn’t synch the same way a real person’s would), a lot of the big set pieces come out great, such as Domino’s (Zazie Beetz) introduction scene of her mutant ability. And, of course, it’s always fun to watch the ways Deadpool’s constantly healing body manages to get mangled in each battle.
The casting of this film is excellent on all accounts. Ryan Reynolds was born to play this role; it’s almost hard to tell where Reynolds ends and Deadpool begins at times. Atlanta-star Zazie Beetz ended up being my favorite part of the movie with her great dialogue and excellent delivery, as well as her ability to compete with and even outshine Reynolds in some scenes. Josh Brolin, previously seen this year as the big bad in Marvel’s 10-years-in-the-making blockbuster Infinity Wars, plays a good straight man to the goofy antics of the titular character but his character is given such flat and uninteresting lines that Brolin is barely able to show off his acting chops throughout the movie. And while Julian Dennison (known for his starring role in Hunt for the Wilderpeople) delivered a few funny lines, for the most part, he just came off as an annoyance who did not develop much at all throughout the movie until the last ten minutes.
Deadpool 2 delivers an enjoyable action-comedy that will give you plenty of laugh-out-loud moments (especially the post-credit scene) but it fails to harness the same charm that made the first film as special as it was. Deadpool was released at a time where the superhero industry was rife with melodramatic nonsense that began to bog the films down, and the film was exactly what the industry needed to give itself new life. However, this movie just feels derivative of the first, choosing to do everything the first film did but to greater excess almost to the point of exhaustion. Both movies are filled to the brim with jokes so of course, not all of them will hit, but for me, there were fewer in the second movie that in the first that really had my sides hurting from laughter. If you wanted more action, more 4th wall breaks, and more jokes pushed even further into the terrain of “too far”, then this movie will give you exactly that. But at times it simply feels like the movie is following the motto of quantity over quality. While the first movie will always be a film I could watch again and again, Deadpool 2 isn’t a movie I’ll be rushing out to buy when it hits home release.
Deadpool 2 delivers an enjoyable action-comedy that will give you plenty of laugh-out-loud moments but it fails to harness the same charm that made the first film as special as it was.