'Deadpool 2': A Review
I know it is hard to believe now but can you remember the time when the thought of a proper Deadpool movie was inconceivable? It took an expensive and very entertaining test footage faux trailer to convince the world that it was ready for a Deadpool movie and whatever you think of the resulting product, it is clear that the Merc with a Mouth deserves a spot with the biggest super hero movies.
Deadpool 2 will not have any of the surprise factor that helped carry the first movie to the second biggest opening for an R rated movie ever. There is also the double edged sword of expectation to worry about, the second movie has expanded the cast and added a major villain by way of Josh Brolin's Cable.
The two main writers (Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, not to mention Ryan Reynolds gets a writing credit) of the first movie return for another go around and while the director Tim Miller did not return, he has placed the franchise in the capable hands of David Leitch who we will discuss later.
Bringing back the main writers and hiring a director known for his action chops is a great way to ensure that the sequel builds on the first movie and hopefully makes a better movie.
I liked the first Deadpool movie but was a bit disappointed when the facade of it being a true departure from the normal comic book movie formula fell apart in the third act. Interested readers can probably find my review of the first movie over on IMdB, and I believe I closed that review out with something about how I hoped the inevitable sequel would attempt to use it's newfound goodwill to really break the structure and give us a movie that was truly different.
Deadpool 2 does not necessarily make good on my wish, but I found it less glaring this time around. The movie still follows the tried and true three act format but this time the writing at the top and the characters at the bottom, with a few twists and turns along the way help to break up the monotony.
One of the hardest things for a comedy sequel is trying to be as funny as the first movie. People will inevitably make comparisons joke for joke even though that is a terrible way to judge comedy. Keeping the original writers helps to keep the same style and tone of the comedy presented but does little to change what may have been lacking.
There are certainly enough laughs here to keep you laughing for the somewhat stretched 2 hour run time but I could have done with a few less recycled and sequel jokes. Really the writers are helped out tremendously by the cast, especially Ryan Reynolds in the lead role.
Like Hugh Jackman is the only Logan or Robert Downey Jr. is the quintessential Tony Stark, Ryan Reynolds embodies Deadpool. Of course we knew this after the first movie but Reynolds is solidifying his place next to guys like Jackman and Downey Jr. in the sequel.
This time around Reynolds is not all alone either, the first movie introduced some solid supporting character without much staying power, but the sequel changes that. The two contractually obligated X-Men Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead from the first movie return but the cast is drastically expanded.
Of course there is Josh Brolin playing the villain Cable, you may have seen him just a few weeks ago as Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War and he may be just as enjoyable in this. He is one of the best in the business at being a brooding tough guy and he nails that here as well as stealing a few laughs as the straight man in a very silly movie.
My favorite addition is by way of Zazie Beetz as Domino. I have loved Zazie on Atlanta and was excited to see her get a big time role and was blown away by her command of the screen. Her character is amazing with her super power centering around her good luck which leads to some amazing scenes and stunts.
Since we are on the topic of stunts, what better time to discuss the director, David Leitch. Some of you know him as an uncredited director of John Wick but his work has been around for much longer than that. He is probably best known for his work as a stunt double for the likes of Keanu Reeves in The Matrix movies and Brad Pitt in Fight Club/Oceans 11. He moved up to stunt coordinator on some huge movies like The Score, V for Vendetta and Tron: Legacy.
Leitch has recently taken to directing, notably the aforementioned John Wick but also including work as a second unit director on Jurassic World and Captain America: Civil War. As you can see Leitch has some pretty impressive experience in the world of action films both in front and behind the camera.
Last year Leitch left me a little disappointed last year with his solo directorial debut, Atomic Blonde. Billed as the female John Wick, Atomic Blonde had some fantastic action sequences, but the rest of the movie, notably the plot and characters, were lacking and the director was not able to reel all of it in.
Leitch almost does a complete 180 with Deadpool 2 in regards to his non action scenes. The calmer moments in Deadpool 2 are really well shot/edited and help to move the narrative along without feeling like an information dump. Characters are highlighted instead of being bland cardboard cutouts and the movie moves along much better than Atomic Blonde.
While the action scenes are a little less impressive from a practical effect than something like John Wick or Atomic Blonde the set pieces are almost if not more impressive. There are some huge, fun, fast moments of action in Deadpool 2 and the additions of characters like Domino and Firefist only help to make these moments that much grander.
Deadpool has always fallen into a similar camp as the Guardians of the Galaxy movie in my mind. They both feature some obscure characters that are not a part of the normal lexicon of superheros and became hits beyond what anyone thought possible in spite of that. Guardians 2 while a good movie fell short of the lofty expectations set by the first movie and Deadpool 2 feels very similar.
I liked Deadpool 2, maybe even more than I did the first movie, but there continues to be this big hole in my mind of what these Deadpool movies can and should do. They have more potential than any superhero franchise to eschew the normal format and really push the genre to it's breaking point. I am totally fine with getting solid Deadpool movies, but I am still hoping that one day they give me the movie I have been waiting for.