Deadpool 2 revs up more on meta-references, violence and attitude. It simply won’t back down up until the post-credits.
If the first Deadpool movie made history by breaking down the fourth-wall in the superhero film genre, this sequel outdoes its predecessor by revving up on everything that fans expect of it: meta-references and gratuitous violence. So much of these, that this time, you can almost feel its portrayer, Ryan Reynolds eating popcorn beside you, giving you rib nudges all throughout. And with the amount of bloodshed and mockery thrown in this film, expect some lasting bruises on your way out.
By design, Deadpool should make fun of other films and its first victim is no other than Wolverine (it’s no secret when the trailer explicitly markets this film with a line, “from the studio that killed Wolverine”). Then, we are served with a stylish, James Bond-inspired opening sequence featuring Celine Dion’s original song, “Ashes.” This is played along Deadpool’s signature fake credits (“directed by one of the guys who killed the dog in John Wick”) to remind us that this sequel can be self-deprecating too. It is Marvel’s slowly-diminishing competitor, DC Comics who takes the biggest shade of all and past the comic-book genre, even B-films like Human Centipede can’t escape the travesty. Deadpool 2 simply won’t back down, up until the post-credit scene that everyone’s been raving about.
But the meta-ness of its humor is only one aspect it. It’s the raunchy side that induces you to laugh your guts out. It is indeed excessive—and reprising screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (and now joined by Reynolds himself) could be trying hard for all we care—but it doesn’t matter. Wade Wilson/Deadpool is not a protagonist who acts like a comedian desperately wanting his audience to laugh. He is a hilarious madman who draws comedy out of tragedy after being tortured in the first film. Hence, he can’t help himself. It all works.
The most important thing is Deadpool’s humor, no matter how vulgar and edgy it is, it does not rely on racism, sexism, homophobia and other real-life offensive themes. In fact, the film goes in the opposite direction and mocks those who tolerate them. Deadpool calls his motley crew as “forward-thinking and gender-neutral,” a character comments on the discrimination of plus-sized heroes in Hollywood, and so on.
Along with old-timers Colossus (Stefan Kapicic), Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), Weasel (TJ Miller), Dopinder (Karan Soni) and Blind Al (Leslie Uggams), DP2 returns with more wonderfully diverse cast members. After conducting hilarious quick-cut interviews, Deadpool assembles his not-so-derivative team called the X-Force crew: Bedlam (Terry Crews), Zeitgeist (Bill Skarsgard), Shatterstar (Lewis Tan), Peter the human (Rob Delaney), and Domino (Zazie Beetz) who cinematically shines with her luck-manipulation skills.
We learn from the get-go that Deadpool and his long-time girlfriend Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) plan to have a baby of their own and with a troubled fireball-hurling kid Russell/FireFist (Julian Dennison) stepping on the picture, he test-runs his capacity to be a father. The X-Force must protect the kid from a time-hopping terminator-esque Cable. The latter being played by Josh Brolin fresh from his Thanos role so we can expect more jokes in this department. As a whole, DP2 actually works as an antidote from the harrowing end of the recently released Avengers: Infinity War.
Defying morals is part of Deadpool’s charm and as we can see here, Deadpool convinces Russell that killing will set him to the wrong path. Yet, he and his team does this by slicing and dicing a lot of bodies along the way. It’s ultra-violent as ever than before but it works hand-in-hand with the humor and blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameos. These are all punchlines in this bloody raucous good-time.
Director David Leitch (who I also recently learned is a former stuntman) knows his angles well and employs neat camera tricks here. But what makes DP2 stand out even more is the use of its soundtrack. When is the last time that you heard songs like Dolly Parton’s ‘9 to 5’, Air Supply’s ‘All Out of Love’ or Annie’s ‘Tomorrow’ used in a fight scene? Only Deadpool has the craziness to do so.
On the other hand, Reynolds’ attitude and charisma permeates through his mask that he almost immortalizes himself with this character (much like Robert Downey Jr. does in his Iron Man). He has a crazy level of hyper-awareness that he can point out obligatory tropes that even DP2 is also guilty of doing. He throws in comments like, “big CGI fight coming up!” “that’s just lazy writing,” or “if we finish this mission, we can skip the third act and eat chimichangas after.” It indicts pop culture and questions mainstream taste, showing gruesome stuff while asking its viewers, “Are you enjoying this? Of course, you are!” Nothing is sacred here, except the comedy itself.
On an entirely different note, I still have my reservations whether or not to officially include Deadpool in the X-Men franchise. How do you put a character in a universe that does not use fourth-wall breaking comments? Will he start calling Professor X as Patrick Stewart or James McAvoy? That being said, I think it is best for his character to stay out of it. But even if the executives decide to go in that direction, it can still be interesting how they do it. Marvel, please don’t screw this up in the future.
And now to answer the question of diminishing returns. Does DP2 wear me down after using more of the same technique? At this point, not yet. The strain occasionally shows but for the most part it pays off with big laughs with an emotional core strong enough to keep it together. Deadpool 2 can be as subversive as it can be but deep inside it’s just a comic book movie that wants to be loved. The bottomline is, if you enjoyed the first Deadpool film, you will most certainly enjoy this sequel too.
4.5 out of 5 stars
About Deadpool 2
After surviving a near fatal bovine attack, a disfigured cafeteria chef (Wade Wilson) struggles to fulfill his dream of becoming Mayberry’s hottest bartender while also learning to cope with his lost sense of taste. Searching to regain his spice for life, as well as a flux capacitor, Wade must battle ninjas, the Yakuza, and a pack of sexually aggressive canines, as he journeys around the world to discover the importance of family, friendship, and flavor – finding a new taste for adventure and earning the coveted coffee mug title of World’s Best Lover.
Distributed by 20th Century Fox, Deadpool 2 is now showing worldwide on May 18, 2018 starring Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, Karan Soni, Brianna Hildebrand, T.J. Miller, Leslie Uggams, Stefan Kapicic and Eddie Marsan.
Directed by David Leitch from a screenplay written by Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick and Ryan Reynolds (R-16). Runtime: 119 minutes.