2016’s Deadpool will always hold a fun and special place in my heart, because it was the R-rated comic book romp two years ago that opened me up to a new kind of appreciation for a genre that I have little to no real connection with. Besides the campy, unusual Tim Burton era of Batman from my childhood, the superhero popularity wave is something that continues to pass me by. I’m probably the only person in the world who is still yet see any kind of Avengers or Black Panther situation. I pop in and out for titles that vaguely interest me (Guardians Of The Galaxy, Ant-Man), but in terms of overarching narratives and mythology, I’m a virtual noob. I went in to Deadpool 2 hoping that it would satisfy my craving for adult oriented comic book fun that Suicide Squad failed on every single level to provide.
The film picks up not long after the first ended, with Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) enjoying a brief period of romantic bliss with his recently rescued fiancée Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). Of course, in true superhero narrative fashion, everything very quickly goes to shit, and through a series of tragic but effortlessly comical circumstances, Wade finds himself donning his Deadpool suit, forming an ‘X-Force’ of various mutants and embroiling himself in an all action, all comedy race against time to interfere in a murderous plan that has the potential to change both past and future timeline events.
If you enjoyed the first Deadpool, then it’s a safe bet that you are going to enjoy this one too. The filmmakers have effectively stuck to the formula that worked so well in 2016, but turned the dial up another two or three notches. On a plot level, Deadpool 2 isn’t quite as streamlined and clean as its predecessor, but the vulgar, irreverent humour and fun, inventive action sequences are all present in abundance. If anything, one might be justified in criticising the film for playing it ‘too safe’ in terms of tried and tested formula, but when that formula is already so out of the ordinary and different, it’s not so much of a big deal.
Being a complete novice when it comes to the interlinking and mythology of this comic book universe, there are no doubt dozens of references that flew straight over my head. When I come to these kinds of movies I’m not on the look out for clever call backs and connections, I’m just looking to have a fun, raucous time, and on that front the film definitely does deliver. There is something of a relentless pace to the comedy, with what feels like a joke scatter gun approach in effect. Not everything hits a target successfully, but before you have had time to ruminate on a less effective line, there are three good ones stacked up to put the thing back on track. The film boasts interesting cameos, over the top action, a great musical soundtrack and an overall tone of such irreverence that it’s hard to do anything but like it. The first Deadpool might have had more of an impact on me, simply because it was the first time I was introduced to the franchise’s signature style, but at the end of the day Deadpool 2 does nothing other than carry on that crazy tradition, so what’s not to like?
Ryan Reynolds bring the same irreverence to Wade/Deadpool this time around as he did the first, somehow managing to bring camp and cool together in a really irresistible and fun way. It must be hard to bring so much personality to a character whose face is completely covered up for the majority of the movie, but Reynolds’ courage in the conviction of his performance and dialogue is really enjoyable to see. He’s not afraid to poke merciless fun at himself (as evidenced in the post credits scenes), and it is very rare in Hollywood these days to find a genuine ‘heartthrob’ type leading man who is so willing to get down and dirty in the realms of pure silliness.
A heavily expanded cast of supporting characters make the main difference for Deadpool 2, with the pick of the bunch including Josh Brolin as time travelling soldier Cable, Zazie Beetz as Domino, a mutant with the handy power of extreme luck, and Julian Dennison as Firefist, a young mutant with pyrokinesis who finds himself the subject of the crazy narrative race against time. Having fallen in love with Dennison after his star turn in the amazing Hunt For The Wilderpeople, it’s great to see him making the movie in to big mainstream movies. Brolin is at his beefy best as Cable, giving a performance equal parts wrecking ball and sensitive which is fun to see. The large and varied cast all put in solid performances, with nobody letting the side down and everybody possessing that all important skill for handling off beat comedy.
Overall, Deadpool 2 is a film that pretty much does what it says on the tin. It brings back all of the humour, action, music and political incorrectness of its predecessor whilst also introducing some new and interesting elements to the mix. It’s a super simple equation, if the first Deadpool was a home run for you, then the second is going to evoke exactly the same reaction. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.