In the time that’s passed since the original film, Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) has embraced his role as a superhero… well okay, more like the unkillable anti-hero we all know and love, killing scores of criminals around the world and generally ticking people off. Trouble tends to follow him and those close by, and after said trouble takes out someone dear to him, Deadpool tumbles into a suicidal talespin of grief that brings him (against his will) to the X-mansion where he once again joins forces with Colossus (Stefan Kapicic with a ton of CGI) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) and heads out to stop a mutant kid named Russell (Julian Dennison) from destroying an orphanage.
When Deadpool realizes the kid has been abused by those in charge at the orphanage, he sympathizes and takes it upon himself to attack them, getting both him and Russell thrown into a mutant prison. Cable (Josh Brolin) travels through time from the future in search of Russell wanting to kill him before he grows up to become the supervillain that killed Cable’s wife and daughter. Deadpool fends Cable off, but when it’s obvious he won’t stop until the kid is dead, Deadpool puts together a team of superheroes – including lucky badass Domino (Zazie Beetz) – to stop Cable’s mission.
Deadpool 2 proves that bigger does not necessarily mean better. Under the new direction of David Leitch (John Wick, Atomic Blonde) the scope of the story, the set pieces, and the action sequences are all much bigger and more impressive in this sequel than the relatively modest first film. But the sequel just isn’t as good (or as fun) the second time around. Not saying it’s “bad”, it just suffers from sequel-itis, falling short of its predecessor in pretty much every way.
In the first movie, you not only gave a damn about Deadpool, you believed his plight and felt his pain and wanted him to succeed because of all the misery the movie put him through. We cheered when he managed to find his way back into his girlfriend’s arms. So while it’s arguable that he loses someone close and it makes him sympathetic, he sheds that sympathy and becomes so withdrawn that he feels weak. Sure, he tries to do the right thing by saving the kid and having the plan to set him on a different path because he’s still a child and hasn’t turned evil yet… but it’s really not enough to make me need him to succeed. Noble? Sure. But it wasn’t enough to make me really root for him.
There’s a lot of really funny lines and pop-culture references in this film. Everything from breaking the 4th wall (like asking Twentieth Century Fox to “throw us a bone!” by adding more X-Men) to referencing to other movies (calling Cable “Thanos” and having a figurine of Logan’s death at the end of Logan). There’s also plenty of jokes and physical gags. The movie takes some very ballsy movies for the sake of a laugh… but these can backfire and take away from the authentically emotional moments.
There are scenes meant to tug at the audiences heartstrings, but they often either kill the moment with a gag, or go too far and end up with cheesy melodrama. You know how sometimes you just can’t make a joke because it’s too easy? Yeah, Deadpool 2 never cares and takes the easy joke every time. It makes for a laugh-out-loud couple hours, but hurts any chances for other emotions to come through.
The acting of Reynolds and Brolin was on point as you’d expect. The breakout performance however was Zazie Beetz as Domino. She was badass with comedic timing that was just on another level from the rest of the secondary cast. The kid though? I don’t know where (or why) they got this 15 year-old New Zealander – but he was just awful. I know the role is written in such a way that he’s not by any means a likable character, but his delivery is so bland and unfunny. Also, you’ll want to be on the look-out for cameo appearances from Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and Alan Tudyk in some blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moments.
Just a heads up, anyone hoping for a post-credits scene at the end will be disappointed as this isn’t really a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There is however a mid-credits scene that you’ll want to stick around for. It pulls double duty as a) being the most fan-service post-movie scene ever and b) giving you a total mindscrew as you try to figure out the consequences of the scene as a whole, making you wonder if the filmmakers just wasted 2 hours of your life.
Deadpool 2 isn’t nearly as good as the original, but it’s still an entertaining time and you’ll find yourself laughing more often than not. Anyone who sees it is sure to enjoy themselves, but I don’t expect it to be nearly as popular or make as much money as the first movie.