© Twentieth Century Fox of Germany GmbH

Deadpool 2
U.S.A. 2018

Opening 17 May 2018

Directed by: David Leitch
Writing credits: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, Ryan Reynolds, Rob Liefeld, Fabian Nicieza
Principal actors: Josh Brolin, Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Zazie Beetz, Brianna Hildebrand

The “Merc with the Mouth’s” sequel flick explodes onscreen, trailed by a fast-backwards to six weeks earlier and a major killing. A quick run-of-Mouth’s commentary fills in all sorts of blanks a propos taxi driver Dopinder (Karan Soni), and foxy Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). Facetious opening credits tell us nothing about everything, i.e. sets the mood.

Blind Al’s (Leslie Uggams) salty no-nonsense retort to Wade/Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) wanting sympathy reveals these roommates are close. Dropping in on Colossus (Stefan Kapičić voice, Andre Tricoteux body), the X-Man convinces Deadpool a new direction is worth a shot. The test comes at Broadstone House, during a standoff between mutant Russell  (Julian Dennison) and everybody else including the Headmaster (Eddie Marsan). Sliced in-between, Nathan/Cable (Josh Brolin), your everyday cybernetic, time-traveling mutant is introduced, so when they face-off Deadpool’s resolve increases. He and Weasel’s (T.J. Miller) scheme is to recruit allies (great comedic sequence) with a self-bequeathed moniker, “X-Force.” Lucky for them, Neena (Zazie Beetz) is in the mix. Because, to get where he wants to go, Wade/Deadpool must go back repeatedly, until he gets it right.

Marvel Comic’s debuted Deadpool in The New Mutants, February 1991. Its first feature film debuted in 2016 reaping two “first-time-ever” titles: Biggest R-rated film opening, and nevertheless the highest grossing R-rated film ever—over $750-million globally. Deadpool was also nominated for a Golden Globe; since 2009 writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick struggled to launch their “passion project”. Ryan Reynolds joins Reese and Wernick in co-writing and producing 2; they rewrote throughout the production. As storytellers, they stayed “true to the DNA of the original,” says director David Leitch. All concur Reynolds and Deadpool share personality traits: irrelevant, funny, big-hearted and compassionate. Hmm, Wade/Deadpool is irascible, childish, violent, self-loathing and pushy as well.

Unique is Deadpool’s penchant for wisecracks, quirky tongue-in-cheek commentary, and talking to the fourth wall (audience) – a titular superhero. The cast is brilliant; the metamorphosis between Deadpool and Cabel hints at potential agendas. Leitch’s long-time collaborator (John Wick, 2014, Atomic Blonde, 2017) Jonathan Sela is cinematographer; Craig Alpert, Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir and Dirk Westervelt edit with Tyler Bates music. Lively visual depictions arise from David Scheunemann’s production design, Dan Hermansen and team’s art direction, Sandy Walker’s sets, Kurt and Bart’s costumes, and visual effects and special effects (SFX) artists.

Deadpool 2—PG-13 now—nicely balances over-the-top action, satirical comedy, and empathetic, and otherwise, emotion. It has already reached cult-status: the energized audience was expectant and involved, snickering/laughing, hissing, cheering and clapping throughout. The comic’s creator and a fan of the film Rob Liefeld (with Fabian Nicieza) points out, “X-Force is the second best-selling comic of all time.” Marvel Cinematic Universe dares to push boundaries considering Africans (Black Panther) and women (Wonder Woman) were honored in the past year. Maybe not everybody’s ideal superhero, but face it, Wade/Deadpool has likeability and charisma … besides not being afraid to kick-ass when necessary. (Marinell Haegelin)

Second Opinion

Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) has been running around killing bad guys, as is his prerogative. After he suffers a breakdown, he is thrown into a prison for mutants with a teenage boy named Russell (Julian Dennison). Russell has had a hard time of things which has led to him having anger issues, something particularly dangerous considering he has the ability to shoot fireballs from his fists. When a cyborg from the future (Josh Brolin) comes back to kill Russell, Deadpool gathers a team to try and stop him.

Sometimes a film comes out that defies expectations to such a level that it becomes a massive hit. Deadpool (2016) was one of those films. This was primarily due to the inept way the character had been handled in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine where Deadpool was stripped of the humor which made him so popular. So when a Deadpool standalone film was announced, and Ryan Reynolds was slated to return to the role for which he had been so universally panned, it was a shock. That he returned with such chutzpah and proved himself perfect for it in a film that totally understood the character’s appeal, created a perfect storm of media attention and fan appreciation. Trying to reclaim the magic in a sequel is difficult for any potential franchise, and while Deadpool 2 is not an absolute failure, it isn’t as refreshing as its predecessor and subsequently isn’t as humorous.

However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t still some legitimately funny moments. Deadpool 2 works best when the eponymous character pokes fun at the various superhero franchises or when he breaks the fourth wall, and this occurs quite often. However, a film cannot be sustained on in-jokes alone, and when it comes down to it, the story just wasn’t as compelling and too many jokes were duds for it to really succeed. Fans of Deadpool will likely get a kick out of it, but for those who look for something more than fat-shaming and raunchy humor, it might be best to give this one a pass. (Rose Finlay)

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