Deadpool 2 manages the improbable task of being far better, and in some ways worse, than the original. Yes, viewers are treated to the same antics of the Merc with a Mouth, this time out, however, a heaping helping of heart comes with the various blood spurting organs, limbs, and decapitated heads rolling about.
The first film in the Deadpool franchise provided a streamlined introduction to Wade Wilson aka Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds), the love of his life, Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), and Weasel (T.J. Miller), the owner of the hitman dive bar that served as the hub for all things illegal in Deadpool’s section of cinema. Weasel is wisely underutilized in this installment due to the fall-out from T.J. Miller’s real world troubles. The original Deadpool film moved at a quick clip, bounding from one high-point to the next as it told a simple story that revealed Deadpool’s origin. Deadpool 2 is a bit more muddled especially early on and during some of the film’s final moments.
Throughout its runtime the film suffers from a slow build and several lulls in the action and comedy. Deadpool 2 has moments that are far and away funnier than the first. When the jokes land it is an Olympian level dismount. Sadly it also has moments that are slower than the tortoise racing the hare. Luckily, by the time the film is over this tortoise has managed to win the race by hitting enough entertaining high notes that many of its several shortcomings can – mostly – be overlooked.
With two notable exceptions, Deadpool has several twists which don’t all quite make it up to the level of actually being surprising. One of those decisions is a bold turn that serves the narrative well by providing the emotional underpinning that drives the film. There will be tears people. Tears that may come from all of the laughter.
We catch up with Deadpool, who has been slicing and dicing his way through the criminal underworld, being none too protective regarding his secret identity. This flippant attitude towards committing acts of ultra-violence while strolling around in blood red tights comes home to roost in a major way. As fate would have it, no sooner than Vanessa and Wade are tossing about the idea of bringing a baby into their lurid world of strap-ons and contract killings, the couple is set upon by vengeance fueled victims of Deadpool’s most recent murderous spree.
Depressed, suicidal, and feeling inadequate, Deadpool – as he spoils for the viewers via his fourth wall breaking voice-over, wants to go the way of his pal, Logan, by dying. Taken in by his erstwhile compatriots from the first film, Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, Deadpool is made an X-Man…trainee. The status of which he is constantly reminded of by friends and foes alike. This reunion leads Deadpool and the X-Men to the door of an orphanage and an encounter with a distressed young mutant aptly named, Firefist, giving Deadpool a chance to prove his “good guy” potential to the X-Men’s cause.
Josh Brolin’s, Cable, is the time-traveling mutant hardcase in pursuit of Firefist. Seeking to avert a future occurrence that Firefist will be responsible for, Thanos jokes quickly ensue as Cable embarks on a collision course with Deadpool. Thankfully the audience is spared Cable’s convoluted comic book backstory in one of many of Deadpool 2’s well-timed zingers.
The second of those aforementioned decisions which actually manage to surprise, is the introduction and exit of X-Force. Needing back-up to take on Cable, Deadpool and friends recruit a group of mutants to serve as the strike team supporting his rescue mission: X-Force, his own derivative X-Men team. Pulling a trick from Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War marketing kit, the advertising for Deadpool 2 would have you believe X-Force to be playing a far larger role than they wind up doing in the movie. Witnessing the X-Force interview process and the scenes involving the team in action provides some of the funniest moments. Just as in the trailers the powerless, Peter, is a standout but it is Zazie Beetz as Domino, who has several memorable moments to shine.
Deadpool 2 performs the delicate balancing act of functioning as a big budget comic book film in the guise of a B-movie grindhouse schlock-fest with an emotional story about the value of family at its core. It is well worth sticking around for the end credits montage, it is one of the BEST and funniest end credits scenes ever filmed.
Deadpool 2 is in theatres Friday, May 18th.