Deadpool arrived in theaters in 2016 during a time when comic book movie fatigue was beginning to settle in. It arrived at the perfect place; the raunchy comedy, the explicit language, and the bloody bits and pieces were unlike the superhero films viewers were getting comfortable with in the cineplex. At the core of the film was a court jester with dual ninja swords and an itchy trigger finger. Ryan Reynolds, with his comedic swagger and verbal lambasting, shook up the structure of what a comic book movie could be. In the world of movie roles perfectly suited for a particular actor, Deadpool was made for actor Ryan Reynolds.
Deadpool 2, amidst the amped-up gore and explicit language, is very much a comic book comedy that is funny enough that you’re bound to miss numerous jokes because of the laughter in the auditorium. The breakneck style of comedy here is also reflected in the action scenes. It’s kinetic to the point of chaos throughout the entirety of the film. But that’s what makes this franchise so much fun: it doesn’t play by the rules.
Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), aka Deadpool, has expanded his vigilante ways into global markets. But Deadpool is trying to change his deadly ways, and with the help of some superhero friends, he is given an opportunity to try a new, less violent, form of justice. This introduces Deadpool to a young boy named Russell (Julian Dennison) who is trying to escape a reform school for young mutants. Unfortunately, someone else takes an interest in Russell, a time-traveling mercenary named Cable (Josh Brolin), who wants to destroy Russell before he grows into an unstoppable supervillain.
Deadpool 2 has a charming and mischievous quality that keeps the film entertaining from the start until the final frame. It’s also quite funny. Everything from sight gags to foul-mouthed banter populate every inch of the film. The film understands exactly what it is trying to achieve, which is a playfulness amidst some of the more serious comic book movie franchises out there. Through its self-deprecating style, fourth wall-breaking moments, and knowing nods to every comic book universe present and past, these qualities have been turned up to eleven. Deadpool 2 is bound to please anyone who loved the first film.
But through all the fun and laughter it’s hard not to question why the journey feels so unsatisfying. Deadpool’s superpower is regeneration. The character functions as somewhat indestructible throughout the film. While we are given a moment to see Deadpool without powers, the fact that the character can lose limbs and get riddled with bullets without much consequence never makes any of the foes in the film feel threatening. Even Cable, who shows up with a big weapon and a mechanical arm, is a non-consequential bad guy who shows up mostly for amusing banter and to introduce time travel into the narrative of the film.
Because Deadpool 2 never functions within any set boundaries, it’s easy to forgive the obvious lapses in storytelling. Convenience becomes a narrative weapon to get from one scene to the next, and when the audience begins to question the details, the film takes the red-suited character and turns him to the audience to express, “That’s just lazy writing.” Yes, it’s acceptable, but it’s still flimsy storytelling.
Ryan Reynolds is fantastic throughout the film. Josh Brolin should be in more of these types of movies because he adds such gravity to these characters, and young Julian Dennison sells the aspect of his character.
Deadpool 2 will please those who enjoyed the simplistic entertainment and adult humor of the first film. Unfortunately, while the titular character can be amusing in all his rage, violence, and humor, there is far less of a complex composition to the character and more of a one-dimensional aspect. While this may be what the character, and writers, are ultimately aiming for, it may also be what keeps the franchise from building this character into something more substantial. That doesn’t mean it won’t be fun to see the foul-mouthed superhero every few years.
Movie Score: 3.5/5