Film Review: ‘Deadpool 2’ Has Even More Insanity This Time Around

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The Merc With a Mouth is back. After the massive (and surprising) success of “Deadpool,” expectations were high for a sequel. Well, fans are in luck, as “Deadpool 2” is everything you could want in a follow up adventure. It’s bigger, but still on the smaller side for a blockbuster, honoring its lo-fi roots. It’s also filthier, funnier, and somehow more violent. In short, it caters to fans in the perfect way. “Deadpool 2” has very little chance of winning over new fans (though a handful of fellow pundits seem to like this one better), but those who enjoy this franchise are in for a treat. For low art delights, this stands tall as one of the most enjoyable movies of the year so far. If you loved the first one, you’ll almost undoubtedly fall head over heels for this one as well.

“Deadpool 2” is just as meta a film as the first one. Ryan Reynolds was born to bring this character to life, co-writing this time in addition to starring. It’s the perfect combination of actor and part. What’s more, he’s able to raise the scope and the stakes here, without ever losing the fun of the character. Most superheroes are at their best during action sequences. Deadpool is solid when he’s kicking ass, but he’s amazing when mocking the genre. Some of the best jokes are too good to reveal, but the movie takes no prisoners with its humor.

Once again, Wade Wilson/Deadpool (Reynolds) narrates as we jump back and forth within the narrative. Wade is living happily with the love of his life Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), who wants to have a baby, while still killing bad guys as Deadpool. When spoilerific events bring him to come under the care of X-Men member and supporter Colossus, he’s at a low point. Colossus still wants him to join the team, and brings him along on a mission to stop a young mutant named Russell (Julian Dennison) who’s causing havoc. Wade finds out that all is not as it seems and helps Russell, which gets them both locked up. Then, Cable (Josh Brolin) arrives from the future, looking to kill Russell. Against his better instincts, he saves him, putting them both on the run. In need of friends, Wade opts to recruit his own force of mutants. An X-Force, if you will.

Forming X Force, Deadpool attempts to protect Russell while keeping Cable away from him. Most of the members of the team are as useless as his human compatriots Blind Al (Leslie Uggams), Weasel (T.J. Miller), and Dopinder (Karan Soni). Then, there’s Domino (Zazie Beetz), who’s “lucky”. Wade doubts her power, but she’s more than a match for Cable, becoming invaluable in the process. Frankly, the plot is mostly an excuse for the character to crack wise and go off on tangents, but the action is a step up from last time. There’s even a point being made about family. Mostly, it’s just an incredibly good time, finished off by a post-credits sequence you won’t soon forget. More on that in a bit.

Ryan Reynolds is just as strong here as last time. Given more partners to spar with, his ridiculous dialogue and commentary continue to amuse. Comfortable in the character’s skin, he’s invested in the part, and it shows. Aside from “Buried,” his turn as Deadpool is the best work he’s done in his career. This time around it isn’t quite as surprising to see him ace the role, but it’s just as enjoyable. You can’t help but admire the fuel he brings to the fire, making it one of the most memorable characters in current day cinema. He takes being this silly very seriously, which is his gift to all of us.

Between this and “Avengers: Infinity War,” Josh Brolin is dominating the early blockbuster season for 2018. Caught somewhere between an antihero and a villain here, he provides a strong counterpart to Reynolds. While Reynolds is waxing poetic and engaging in lunacy, Brolin is stoic and dismissive of Deadpool. Returning players Morena Baccarin, Brianna Hildebrand, T.J. Miller, Karan Soni, and Leslie Uggams offer up more of the same, while newcomer Julian Dennison is somewhat on the annoying side. Zazie Beetz, however, is a burst of charisma. More of her, please. She’s clearly the character besides Deadpool that the filmmakers are most enamored with, and rightly so. Also in the cast are Terry Crews, Rob Delaney, Eddie Marsan, and more. Of course, Reynolds is still the star of the show, though Beetz shows that she could be an amazing partner going forward.

Taking over for Tim Miller, director David Leitch ups the action quotient while keeping the tone consistently insane. Returning scribes Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, co-writing with Reynolds, again turn in witty work. Reese and Wernick have the perfect feel for what makes the character work. “Deadpool 2” always had the possibility of failing because the mixture couldn’t be recreated, but that’s not the case. Leitch and his more action-oriented view pairs just as well with Reese and Wernick as Miller did. Cinematographer Jonathan Sela doesn’t match the inventiveness of “Atomic Blonde” here, but the work is still very admirable. The Cable scenes have almost a “Terminator” vibe, which is an interesting change of pace. Then, there’s the violence, which is upped significantly, as is the humor. The feint of heart won’t go for this, but then again, were they ever interested in the first place?

The film, in addition to the aforementioned selling points, also contains the best post-credits sequence ever. Yes, ever. It’s so perfect, so hilarious, and so “Deadpool” that you can’t help but be blown away by it. It would be a crime to spoil what happens, but it should result in an audience reaction that’s truly one of kind. In this case, being vague is a prerequisite. If you think the Marvel sequences are hit or miss, this would be a whole other ballgame for you.

For a filthy good time, it’s hard to beat this movie. “Deadpool 2” is able to prove that the first time was not a fluke. In fact, in certain ways, the sequel is an improvement on the original. Reynolds has been skeptical about a “Deadpool 3,” aside from an upcoming “X-Force” movie, and that’s a shame. With this formula in place, the character could anchor his own franchise for years to come. That’s rare to hear about comic book properties, but this is a decidedly unique one. “Deadpool 2” works terrifically well and is among the year’s best so far.

“DEADPOOL 2” IS DISTRIBUTED BY 20TH CENTURY FOX AND OPENS IN THEATERS ON MAY 18.

GRADE: (★★★½)