[This review contains no spoilers. You’re safe here!!]
After the smashing success of the original Deadpool, its sequel is finally here, and it’s grander, crazier, and funnier than the first. I didn’t love the first Deadpool; I thought the humor really worked, but the story itself was bland, too simplistic, and pretty cliché. It felt like it used every trope that we’ve grown accustomed to from superhero origin stories. However, Deadpool 2 is a massive improvement in so many ways.
Deadpool 2‘s story follows Wade Wilson, a.k.a. Deadpool, as he decides to protect Firefist, a young boy with superpowers, from Cable, a time-travelling cyborg bent on killing him. Along the way, there’s action, comedy, and a ton of weirdness. Let’s dive into this one.
The first Deadpool was a pretty funny movie, and I definitely chuckled quite a bit during my first watch, but Deadpool 2 blows it out of the water in terms of humor. Yes, there are some jokes in this movie that don’t land, but there’s a joke practically every two seconds, so that’s to be expected. There are some jokes and sequences in this movie that gave me gut-busting laughter, and the rest of the audience that I saw it with reacted the same way. There is a scene involving the X-Force, which is the team that Deadpool assembles, that ranks as one of the funniest things to ever happen in a superhero movie. It is utterly hysterical, and I thorougly enjoyed it. There are also a ton of pop culture references, some of which poking fun of other current superhero movies or franchises, that are perfect. However, I am a little concerned about how this movie will age; 20 years from now, will anyone really find jokes about Batman vs. Superman funny? Probably not. But this movie definitely thrives on the fact that it lives in the moment, which made it a more enjoyable experience.
Cable, played by Josh Brolin, is a complete badass, and every scene involving him was incredibly intense. Brolin delivers a great performance here, and I’m so glad the movie jokes about how Brolin also played Thanos in Infinity War. Based on the trailers, I was a bit worried that Cable’s motivations would make him a bland and generic villain, which is not the case. The movie gives him a backstory that definitely allows the audience to understand his actions throughout the movie. However, amidst all of the absurdness and humor, I don’t think Deadpool 2 fully explores Cable and his motives, which is a bit disappointing, because what we did get was very intriguing. Cable also makes a decision at the end of the movie that I felt was very out-of-character, which I won’t specifically mention since it is a spoiler. All of his action sequences are awesome, though, and his fights with Deadpool are amazing. Although the action in Deadpool was great, Deadpool 2‘s sequences are even better, including an intense, and simultaneously hilarious, car chase, which ranks among the very best action sequences of this year.
Where Deadpool 2 starts to falter is in its dramatic elements. Part of the movie’s emotional core is the relationship between Deadpool and the mutant child seen in the trailers, Firefist. I don’t think that is fleshed out enough, and I’m not sure that I fully buy into Deadpool’s motivations to protect Firefist. As a result, when the movie tries to have dramatic scenes involving those two characters, it doesn’t fully land. I recognize that the movie is a comedy, and many of Deadpool’s scenes with Firefist are definitely meant to deliver laughs rather than emotional resonance. However, when the movie does attempt to go the dramatic route, I found myself not caring much. Similarly to Cable, except to a worse extent, Firefist’s backstory is not explored enough, which made me care about the character less than the movie wanted me to. Deadpool 2‘s story is far more interesting than that of the first movie, and it definitely feels more unique, but having dramatically resonant scenes between Deadpool and Firefist could have raised it to another level. I do think, however, that Deadpool’s relationship with Vanessa continues to work brilliantly. I always bought those two characters as a couple, and I think their romance is better than 90% of comic book movie romances out there.
I definitely got a Terminator 2 vibe from certain elements of this story, which the movie cleverly jokes about. However, the movie does not feel like a rehash or a copy of Terminator 2 because of certain twists that happen throughout. There are quite a few unexpected scenes throughout the movie, and I really enjoyed having my expectations subverted, especially when it involved comedy. However, to be completely honest, the first 30 minutes are a bit slow, and I felt myself get bored during some points. Once the story kicks into gear, it’s really exciting, but it takes a bit for that to happen.
Surprisingly, I like the character of Deadpool significantly more in this movie than the last one. He’s definitely funnier, quippier, and feels more like a fully fleshed-out person. He definitely retains many of his anti-hero qualities, and isn’t always a “superhero,” but I found him more endearing in this one, and I feel like he works as an actual character rather than just a gimmick. Some of his actions in this movie may be a bit too impulsive, and sometimes he kills people without thinking or knowing the full story, which can be a little abrasive. However, those moments are few and far between. Generally, he felt more likable and even a little endearing, which I did not get from the last movie. His interactions with the other characters were also great. My favorite side characters were Domino, who has the bizarre superpower of just being lucky, and Peter, who is just some dorky middle-aged man thrown into a battle with superheroes, which is played for some amazing comedy.
All in all, Deadpool 2 is a blast of a sequel that definitely improves on elements that were lacking from the first one. It’s not perfect, though, and its more dramatic elements sometimes feel like they were lacking. Despite its problems, this is definitely one of the funniest and most energetic movies that I’ve seen in the last few years, and I highly recommend it. If you loved the first Deadpool, then you’ll probably love this one too. Even if you didn’t, like me, I think there are so many improvements that you’ll likely end up enjoying this one more.
Stay tuned for my review of Solo: A Star Wars Story, coming next Thursday.
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