3.5 out of 5 stars.
“Deadpool 2” was at risk of being too much of a good thing. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love “Deadpool,” the hilarious and gory R-rated adaptation of a fan favorite Marvel hero. It’s about as meta as it gets, and lampoons superhero movies- even it’s own movie- with hysterical gags and lots of fourth-wall-breaking. But as funny as it is, it was also very apparent how the film’s inevitable sequels could take the good thing they’ve got going too far. After all, many didn’t think “Deadpool” could be a success; that’s a big part of why it took so long to get made. With the filmmakers having proved the formula’s success, there’s virtually no limit as to how far they can take it.
Fortunately, while at times the fast-flying humor becomes exhausting, “Deadpool 2” Is every bit as funny as the first film, if a bit darker in terms of story. This film opens with Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) going global as the merc with a mouth, slicing and dicing bad guys left and right. But when personal tragedy strikes, his world is thrown into chaos, and the arrival of a baddie from the future called Cable (Josh Brolin) forces Wade to reevaluate his definition of being a hero.
This latter thing was something that “Deadpool 2” really needed to accomplish for Wade to remain a likeable character. For all his wisecracks, Deadpool doesn’t have any issue with killing people- bad people, sure, but he’s still much more brutal than your typical superhero. The first “Deadpool” ended on that note, with Wade defying members of the X-Men and killing the villain, and “Deadpool 2” picks that thread up, but makes Wade rethink that by throwing a kid with mutant powers and an out of control temper into the mix. Cable wants this kid—Russell (Julian Dennison), who has fire powers—dead, but Wade realizes there are other ways to defeat bad people besides killing them—and that they even have the potential to be saved. It’s an important step for this character to take, and one that the film does a good job addressing.
For all the solid character development, the plot of “Deadpool 2” is a bit on the weaker side. A lot of this is due to the lack of a great villain, but the other stuff are strong enough that this doesn’t impact the film too much. Despite having a new director (David Leitch), this film is pretty spot-on in duplicating the first movie’s voice, and reuses a lot of the same elements from the first movie, but amps them up so that it is even darker, even more violent, and even more hilarious. Basically, if you loved the first “Deadpool,” you’ll love this one, even when the movie ventures in to almost-too-dark-to-laugh-at material at times.
Much of the cast from the first film returns for this installment, including Morena Baccarin as Wade’s girlfriend Vanessa, T.J. Miller as his friend Weasel, and Karan Soni as cab driver Dopinder, who really, really wants to be a member of Deadpool’s team. There are also X-Men members Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), as well as some new faces that pop up as Deadpool tries to create the X-Force, like Domino (a cool new character played by Zazie Beetz) and a host of fantastic cameos and surprises that you’ll want to be on the look-out for. Brolin—who already proved he can handle being the biggest villain in the Marvel universe as Thanos in “Infinity War”—is great as Cable, but the star of the show, of course, is Ryan Reynolds. Reynolds was one of the people pushing for a “Deadpool” movie early on; he serves as a co-writer and producer on this film as well as starring in it, and it’s safe to say these movies wouldn’t have been made without his involvement. He brings the same charm, humor, and, occasionally, heart, to the character here that he did in the first “Deadpool.” From his near-perfect interpretation of the character from the comics, to his absolute glee at poking fun at himself whenever possible, this movie truly wouldn’t be the same without him.
As mentioned before, there are tons of ridiculous meta jokes about superhero films—not just Marvel—that may go over your head if you’re not a comic book person, but that are absolutely hysterical if you are. There are so many of them, that it is almost too much, but at the same time, they are so funny it’s a little hard to care if they threaten the cohesiveness of the film as a whole. There’s already a “Deadpool 3” in development, and I will likely go into it with the same fears I had with this one—when is too much of a good thing too much? But so long as Reynolds and the rest of the creative team are still on board, I think we- and Deadpool—will be in good hands.
Oh, and make sure you stay for end credit sequences of this film. They fall perfectly into that ridiculously meta, over-the-top category—and they may be the best part of the movie.
Runtime: 119 minutes. Rated R.