While it was nothing truly spectacular, I found Deadpool to be one of the most enjoyable comic book films of the past few years. Deadpool’s humor isn’t really for everyone, me included, but I enjoyed it’s irreverent and satirical take on the current state of comic book films. Sure, the plot was a little thin and the humor sometimes too overbearing, but it was a breath of fresh air to have a superhero film that was basically a parody. Can that success be captured twice? 

In Deadpool 2 (which they really should have kept as Untitled Deadpool Sequel, still annoyed about that), Wade Wilson/Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) is ready to try and become a member of the X-Men! The X-Men don’t want him, though. So, what does Deadpool do? Form his own superhero team known as the X-Force! Their goal? Protect young, mutant delinquent Russell Collins (Julian Dennison) from Cable (Josh Broling), a very deadly mercenary from the future.

With Deadpool, I feel like someone’s enjoyment of the film stems from how much they can handle the character. I don’t mind crude humor, as long as it’s clever, well timed, and well delivered, which I believe Ryan Reynolds excels at. When I was gearing up to watch Deadpool 2, I feared that it would fall under the same traps as any comedy sequel does: doubling down on all the humor that made the first film a success. With original film director Tim Miller stepping down after creative differences with Ryan Reynolds, and then Reynolds actually receiving a screenwriting credit, I was ready for all of the things I didn’t like about the first film to be much, much worse. During the first act, I was honestly not feeling it, as the many gags just didn’t work for me. When you have a comedy film that’s literally gag after gag, of course some are bound to fall flat, but as they continued to stack up, I found myself laughing more. Some of them are just so bizarre, you can’t help but laugh. An epic fight scene underscored by a classical chorus singing “Holy shitballs!” A portrait of Karl Marx hanging in the X-Mansion. They really threw everything but the kitchen sink in and they didn’t care. I kind of respect that from such a big budget film, even if they did steal a joke from MacGruber.

I was also surprised by how emotional and thoughtful the film was. The first film had an emotional core with Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), which this one also had, but there was a lot going on with the other characters, like Cable and Russell. Josh Brolin is fantastic as Cable, showing how versatile he is, playing a character completely different from Thanos, who he portrayed on screen just three weeks ago. He’s a character who has an understandable goal that you can empathize with, even though he’s not fully in the right. He also gets some of the funniest lines too, perfectly playing a grumpy old man who seems out of his element in Deadpool’s ridiculous world. Dennison, who I became a huge fan of since The Hunt for the Wilderpeople, more than holds his own against the more veteran stars. While Cable and Russell’s storyline is basically a rip-off of The Terminator, it still serves as a decent plot mechanic to build these characters. Still, that satire is sometimes used as an excuse to justify the “lazy writing” that Deadpool speaks of. While funny, it doesn’t really make it okay. 

While all of the right elements are here, the film is kind of sloppy in its storytelling and plotting, making it wildly inconsistent. As director David Leitch showed with Atomic Blonde, he definitely knows how to direct action, but seems to struggle with pacing and structuring. There are a lot of awkward edits and directorial choices, some scenes abruptly stopping, and some going on for far too long. Compared to the first film, there’s quite a lot of plot here that goes in a lot of different and unexpected directions. While I enjoyed the unpredictability, it didn’t feel completely cohesive. There are no complaints about Leitch’s action, though. Just like John Wick and Atomic Blonde, the action is clearly directed, brutal, and almost balletic. Since he’s in a comic book universe, he’s allowed to be even more creative in the brutal ways our heroes can off the bad guys. It’s that type of cathartic action where you’re excited by the choreography, but also laughing at the ridiculousness. 

While Deadpool 2 is less clever and doesn’t quite have the novelty of the original, it’s not afraid to take chances and get a little weird, the action sequences are stellar, and it has a surprising amount of heart. I’ve always thought Ryan Reynolds had comedic talent, but it’s nice that he recognizes his films still need a solid emotional core for our characters, no matter how ridiculous they may be. I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to be entertained by Deadpool, but it’s always nice to have a genre film that feels a little bit more unique. 


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