Deadpool 2 (2018)
Director: David Leitch
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Saccharin
Synopsis: Foul-mouthed mutant mercenary Wade Wilson (AKA. Deadpool), brings together a team of fellow mutant rogues to protect a young boy with supernatural abilities from the brutal, time-traveling cyborg, Cable.
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
MPAA Rating: R (for strong violence and language throughout, sexual references and brief drug material)
Release Date: May 18, 2018
It's been two years since Ryan Reynolds surprised the world with Deadpool, a shameless, genre-breaking superhero film that garnered critical and commercial success, including becoming the highest grossing R-rated film of all time. This time around, the Merc with a Mouth battles Cable, a mutant from the future who hopes to save his family. As is the question with all second installments that have a hit predecessor, does the sequel hold up to the original?
The reason Deadpool resonated so well with audiences and critics alike was that it literally bent the superhero genre to its own will--delivering unabashedly crude, witty humor from jokes and references to pop culture (including past superhero films themselves) while also utilizing the title character's wickedly funny, fourth wall-breaking personality. Of course enough credit can't be given to Ryan Reynolds, who pushed to get the film made in the first place and delivered a irresistibly funny antihero layered with playfully wicked wit, charm, and even heart.
Deadpool 2 continues in its predecessor's footsteps when it comes to its shamelessly crude, witty humor, but on a technical level is bigger in terms of its approach to its action sequences and special effects work. This is actually where Deadpool director Tim Miller split with Reynolds on the project, not wanting to produce a large budget special effects extravaganza but rather hold to the aesthetic approach of the first film, which had very limited large-scale action sequences and instead offered more close, hand-to-hand combats. And that is Deadpool 2's weakest link--the action feels more like the action you'd expect in a conventional Marvel film, not the lower-key action sequences from the first film. That being said, the film still delivers enough space between the action sequences that you rarely feel overwhelmed, not to mention (just like in the first film) slow-motion sequences are utilized, which helps make some of the heavy action more enjoyable. Even the faster cut, bloated action scenes are elevated due to the film delivering another killer soundtrack, featuring classic 80s hits, rap, and yes, even an original Celine Dion song.
One of the unsung heroes of the film is Josh Brolin's Cable, who, though the antagonist of the film, has good intentions in trying to save his future family from death at the hands of young Russell (Julian Dennison). Brolin, fresh off his role as Marvel's arch antagonist Thanos in Infinity War, delivers a delightfully ordinary, simple performance that plays beautifully off Reynold's quirky, crude persona. Though their personalities are polar opposites, their chemistry on-screen is palpable, yielding at times hilarious results.
Just like the first film had a surprising amount of emotional depth, Deadpool 2 also contains themes of the value of friendship and family. These themes reiterate the point that beneath all the crude, rude humor and the merciless killing of his enemies lies a heart in the antihero--you just have to look deep enough.
Though its larger-scaled action sequences are occasionally tiresome and the film as a whole can't recapture the originality or all of the savviness of its predecessor, Deadpool 2 still delivers a thoroughly entertaining, funny, and even heartfelt joy ride that's sure to please fans of the original.
Written by Anthony Watkins, May 2018