Screw Deadpool, I’m only interested in Peter. After an unsuccessful attempt to convince James Cameron to speed up the process in making Avatar sequels, 20th Century Fox executive Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is ousted from his position. What does he do? He takes up babysitting, where he learns the fine art of child rearing from the one and only Mrs. Doubtfire.
This new career is fulfilling and not without a plethora of frozen chimichangas but gets disrupted as extraterrestrials emerge from outer space and threaten our very livelihood. With no Will Smith in sight to save the day, Wilson must don the red and black bodysuit to become our favorite antihero capable of saving the world. Knowing he can’t do it alone, he recruits his own team that consists of the super-intelligent ape Caesar, astronaut Mark Watney, the famed wolverine Logan, and even the cast away Chuck Noland. Maximum effort incoming!
It was Deadpool himself who stated that his first movie was no ordinary superhero tale, but more of a love story. And that it was—a relatively effective one to boot amid the fourth wall breaks, raunchiness, and graphic violence. It’s no surprise that The Merc With A Mouth once again tells us what type of movie theme we’re in for. Clearly, Wade’s been hanging out with Dom Toretto and crew, as Deadpool 2 goes all in on the theme of family and teamwork making the dream work. At the end of it all, Deadpool 2 is successful, but as the old proverb goes, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”
Let’s address the number one pertinent question. Is Deadpool 2 funny? Absolutely, and probably more so than its predecessor if we’re comparing. Returning co-writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick along with lead star Reynolds (officially his first time being credited for writing in his career) ensure that the nature of their beloved character stays the same. The jokes are still rapid, and no punches are pulled; be on the lookout for a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it one about the sci-fi snooze-fest that is Self/Less. Much credit to the marketing team as well, as so many of the film’s truly hilarious lines and visual gags were not revealed. Make no mistake, the second go-around of Deadpool 2 doesn’t bat 1.000 on the humor scale, and certain gags and joke run too long, but when it hits, think triples, home runs, and grand slams.
Yes, the humor is ever-present, but Reese, Wernick, and Reynolds do have some difficulty executing successfully in other facets of their sequel. For one, much of the first 30-40 minutes feel somewhat aimless, bogging down the pacing, an unfathomable happening for such a quick-witted and impulsive hero such as Deadpool. Part of the pacing issue might be due to the lack of a true and central villain. Ajax may have been one note, but his aim was clear and his badness never questioned. Here, sometimes that villain is the entertaining-yet-underdeveloped Cable (Josh Brolin, continuing to hold the summer movie season on lock), sometimes the enigmatic Firefist (Julian Dennison), and another time it’s a caretaker of a mutant boarding house.
Eventually, the real big baddie emerges, but he comes so late it’s hard to take him as a true threat. As effective the humor can be, it can be a hindrance when Deadpool 2 tries to play the emotional investment card if only because a razor-sharp quip manifests five seconds later to nullify it. The family theme is as weak and nonexistent as some of the characters of X-Force end up being. However, Domino (Zazie Beetz) is a great addition to the proceedings and there appears to be many ways that her character can go in the future.
Not even a year after plans were crystallized in earnest for Deadpool 2, creative differences served as the reason Deadpool‘s first director in Tim Miller isn’t back in the directorial seat; the age-old Hollywood dilemma of wanting a sequel to be bigger (Miller) and more stylized versus keeping what made the original unique (Reynolds). Reynolds winning the battle meant a new director in the form of David Leitch, of John Wick and Atomic Blonde fame. The R-rated bloodshed in the form of severed limbs and headshots remains, but for an individual who has crafted and choreographed some of the best and extremely inventive action scenes of recent memory, the stuff in DP2 is solid, but also underwhelming. Missing is Junkie XL’s contributions to the score, replaced by Tyler Bates. While there are some good cuts, the music lacks that funkiness that Holkenborg brought to the first.
In a deep pool of expectations, Deadpool 2 doesn’t walk on water but certainly doesn’t sink, either, mainly on the strength of its irreverence alone. By that extent, X still gives it to ya.
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