Deadpool 2 Review
One of the biggest surprises in 2016 was the success of Deadpool. I didn’t expect it to be a flop, the character Deadpool had too much of a cult following for it to make no money at all, but I didn’t expect it to be a cultural phenomenon and bring back R rated movies. But that’s exactly what it did with Deadpool being one of the most popular movies of the year and perhaps even the most quotable. But that puts a lot of pressure on the inevitable sequel as it has to up the ante and be even better than a beloved original. Does Deadpool 2 manage the pressure well and be the better movie?
In an ill-fated mission with actual X-Men, Wade Wilson aka Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds, Buried) discovers a very angry young boy named Russell (Julian Dennison, Hunt for the Wilderpeople), a mutant with the power to make fire. While their first meeting doesn’t go well, when Deadpool discovers a time travelling vigilante, Cable (Josh Brolin, No Country for Old Men) is trying to kill the young boy, he decides to do something good and try and save him.
If you are a fan of the first film, you’ll be a fan of this one. It has all the same things that you loved about the original. The meta-humour is here right from the off, one of the gimmicks of the movie is that Deadpool is aware that he is in a movie and constantly makes asides to the audience, there’s plenty of smut and gore without feeling like an Italian exploitation film and there’s that overall feeling of madness taking place in front of you. Basically, it gives you everything you wanted from a Deadpool movie. Yes, there’s nothing here to convince the doubters who disliked the first film but I don’t think they really cared about turning them to the cause. This is an example of appealing to your core audience and not really bothering about anyone else.
This however is one of the movie’s flaws as well. There are a lot of popular jokes in the first film such as the amusing use of flashbacks, the creative opening credits and just the overall tone. For a while, the movie tries really hard to try and replicate that and while there’s definitely some laughs, it also feels a bit awkward. There’s an element of the old legendary band trying to capture the magic of the older albums but while there’s nothing techinically wrong with the new songs, they lack that something. Perhaps it’s because they’v done the superhero parody exhaustively and the new targets aren’t as effective. For instance, the opening credits this time are a parody of the James Bond opening scenes. But while that’s slightly amusing to a Bond nut like myself, there’s no real reason for it. It’s just parody for the sake of parody because that’s what Deadpool does so it’s not as funny.
This also contributes to the slow start to the film. This movie needs to put a lot of different things in place so that the plot can move forward with what it wants to do, in this case Deadpool making a team so he can take on Cable. But boy does it take its time. You’ve got to go through a lot of plot before the movie gets going which includes the beginning which I can’t discuss for spoilers, Deadpool’s short but sweet time with the X-Men and then him being in prison. This is about half of the film and while it is not boring, there’s enough good jokes and action to make sure of that, it does feel like the movie is spinning its wheels until it gets to what it wants to do. This is also where a lot of the ineffective callback jokes are which doesn’t help things.
But when the movie gets going with the whole point of the movie, that whole Deadpool team thing, it gets good. Really good. This is where the film hits its stride and is having so much fun. Interviewing the mutants that are set to join his team is a great funny montage and from there on in, it’s a laugh riot. Deadpool’s random obsessions are new and creative again, we all love Peter (Rob Delaney, Catastrophe) as much as him, and there’s a tonne of fresh jokes which are just as funny as the original. You can really tell that this was the pitch for the movie and that everything else in the film was the script writers trying to get a situation where this made some sort of sense though to be honest with Deadpool, you could probably have started the film like this and made some quip to excuse it.
And the action is great as well which is probably down to the change of direction. Tim Miller is out and replaced by David Leitch (Atomic Blonde), one of the men who brought you John Wick. Or as the film puts it, one of the men that killed the dog in John Wick. I’m not saying the action in the original was bad, it certainly wasn’t, but bringing in the guy who made a modern action classic was definitely a wise move. There is a tonne more blood, the action is far punchier than last time and there are some great set pieces which are just a lot of fun to watch. And it’s not just Deadpool who gets all the great action scenes. The creativity comes with Domino’s (Zazie Beetz, Atlanta) scenes. Her superpower is that she is lucky which makes all the action scenes happen around her which leads to some brilliant moments. The character is also great while I have time to say it.
I don’t think Deadpool 2 is as good as the original. It’s not the same breath of fresh air as the original and it often repeats the same tricks of the first film without beating them. There’s also an element of it spinning its wheels until it gets to the point where Deadpool can make his team. But when it gets going, it is really good. It’s still very funny, the character of Deadpool is still a delight to be around and the action scenes are brutal in the best way. This is a fun film and worth watching but don’t get your hopes too high that it will surpass the original.