When Deadpool became a huge hit in 2016, not only did it cleanse Ryan Reynolds’ soul by finally doing justice to the character after the studio assisted butchery of Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine but it also did a world of good for R-rated superhero projects. Long considered a risk, the success of Deadpool has undeniably impacted the genre and shown the big wigs that a harder comic book movie can still make the green. In the time since, we have already seen Suicide Squad and Logan (both 15 rated in the UK) follow suit and on the horizon future DCEU projects are toying with heavier ratings, and the upcoming Hellboy and Spawn reboots have confirmed it. However, that was then, now Deadpool is back for more and is the formula of crude fourth wall breaking satire, anarchic violent action scenes and a massively tomfooling marketing campaign still enough to work? The answer is yes, most definitely.
Deadpool 2 does whatever it can to prove the first film was no fluke and while the plot is pretty thin, it works a treat. The film is a splurge of lampoonery, as it pokes fun at its closest cousin the X-Men, Hugh Jackman, the DCEU, the MCU and even Justin Bieber. Deadpool 2 is a sequel that matches the first film and with a sharp script, action ready direction and fantastic performances, its rather troubled production is but a passing memory, as the final product is a confidant riot of a movie.
The first half does admittedly have some pacing issues, and takes a bit to get going (a prison sequence in particular drags a tad) but once ol’ red finds his groove, the film is off and away. It barely matters that the film recycles some gags or feels a bit like a Terminator-style story (in fact that is knowingly acknowledged in one gag) because this follow-up knows its audience and strengthens its formula with a laugh rate so smooth, you never have time to settle on any jokes that don’t work or are a bit prolonged (and they are impressively few in number anyway). From the Bond-style opening credits, to some exciting action scenes, to a hilariously unexpected use of X-Force characters (#ParachuteScene), and some operatic swearing amidst its eclectic soundtrack, this is just an absolute hoot. And that mid-credits scene is absolutely glorious to behold!
The performances are roundly great, none more so than Reynolds who – like Jackman with Wolverine – has become the character to the point that it is impossible envisioning anyone else wielding the swords, cracking the wise or donning the mask. He is invested in everything and these movies and their success are as much down to him as they are the construction. Also brilliant is Josh Brolin, as the time-jumping cybernetic soldier Cable, as he adds gravitas for Reynolds to bounce off, while having some deadpan moments of his own. It is a performance that, much like his turn in Men In Black 3, works so well in holding things together and in the final stretch Cable really comes alive as a character.
Old and new cast members alike also make an impression, most prominently Julian Dennison as the troubled fire wielding teen Russell, Brianna Hildebrand as Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Stefan Kapičić as Colossus. Although the biggest supporting standout is the ace Zazie Beetz as Domino, who is funny and cool as hell, as she makes this – on paper – quite silly super powered mutant into a scene nabbingly slick character. Along the way there are also some funny familiar face comebacks in Leslie Uggams, Karan Soni and T.J. Miller (sadly Morena Baccarin takes more of a backseat in this one) and some BIG appearances, references and surprises for fans to enjoy.
Loaded with laughs, violence and action, Deadpool 2 is another Meta superhero caper that is hugely entertaining. Plus, it has one of the best (and admittedly warped) Basic Instinct references I have ever seen onscreen. Bring on part 3…