The first “Deadpool’s” greatest weapon in its arsenal was its fortuitous release in a season typified by being a cinematic dumping ground, and at a time when the superhero movie genre, despite seeing almost no shortage of acclaimed entries, was justifiably perceived to be moving towards a tiring overproduced and bombastic blockbuster formula.
Freedoms granted by its R rating emboldened the filmmakers to explore far bolder territory than most PG-13 faire for superhero movies and helped to make the film a certified hit, heralded as the breath of fresh air that the genre needed before a slew of incoming movies helped it to find new footing and successfully revived and stabilized the career of the stupendously underappreciated Ryan Reynolds, who was in desperate need of a hit after being attached to an unfortunate string of box office duds.
As a result, “Deadpool” has managed to become a significant success story in its brief existence that has earned quite a legacy to live up to and the portion of that legacy composed of the movie’s originality played a healthy hand in my initial skepticism as to whether or not “Deadpool 2” was up to the task.
While working his way through some personal problems, Wade Wilson (reprised by Ryan Reynolds), finds himself protecting a mutant child with anger issues from a time traveler named Cable (Josh Brolin). “Deadpool 2” just about fits the bill perfectly with everything you would want out of a sequel by simply doing almost everything that the first did but quite possibly bigger and better. The sequel’s action is more stylish than ever under the direction of John Wick co-director David Leitch and it even manages to surpass the original in its sense of humor while having a much better pace to it.
Deadpool’s new mercenary friends going by the name of X-Force are composed of a fairly impressive cast of actors that amp you up for a more traditional turn, only to subvert expectations in a sequence that almost plays out as a dark joke punchline in the form of a set piece that had me laughing for almost five minutes straight. Even with massive comedic gags like that set up, however, the film still keeps a surprisingly strong dramatic element intact that provides a firm grounding for the tone and reminds us that as great as Ryan Reynolds is at doing the clown act, Deadpool is ultimately endearing because he is an actual character beyond all of the snarky gimmicks.
As a result, the most effective aspect of “Deadpool 2” in the heat of viewing is a streak of unpredictability that follows it from beginning to end as you’re genuinely left wondering whether or not they’re going to play it straight for drama or rip the carpet out from under you to comedic effect and the balance never really comes undone.
If “Deadpool 2” is guilty of any truly tangible flaw, it’s that the movie is noticeably less ambitious than its predecessor to a bit of a fault.
On average, I’d dare to say that this one is probably the superior film sheerly in terms of filmmaking execution, but the original flavor of the first movie that made it stand out from the crowd is slowly starting to give way for tactics and style found in more traditional superhero faire and benefitting from the novelty of its mature tone only in a freedom of language usage in dialogue and some admittedly impressively gruesome action sequences that are very real about how ugly action involving a dual katana-wielding and gun toting mercenary in a world of superpowers can get.
Not assisting this are the efforts of Reynolds’ banter to be more singularly focused upon quirks of its own genre and blockbuster status, which can lead to a few chuckles here and there but feel fairly cheapened whenever things decide to go down the conventional route. While it doesn’t wholly live up to the unique precedent for R-rated superhero movies set by the first film and maintained by last year’s send off to Wolverine in “Logan,” however, “Deadpool 2” is an undeniable blast of summer blockbuster that proves the original wasn’t a fluke and endears by being more sincere than its cynical attitude and conduct would have you believe.
Just be sure to leave the kids at home unless you’re ready to have some uncomfortable conversations on anatomy with them.
Graduating from Texas A&M University—Commerce with a bachelor's degree in News and Editorial Journalism, Jordan Wright has lived most of his adult life professionally critiquing films, from major blockbusters to indie dramas, and has no intentions of stopping.