Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Josh Brolin, Zazie Beetz, Julian Dennison, Brianna Hildebrand, Stefan Kapicic
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…a joyous, violent, profane and occasionally quite sweet cinema experience worthy of the original.
Sequels to surprise comedic hits are always a risky undertaking. Repeating what worked in the scrappy underdog original can seem like unimaginative pandering in the sequel. Similarly, if the second chapter forges a path that’s completely different, it can be accused of forgetting what made the first film so good. This volatile paradox has clearly been on the minds of the folks behind Deadpool 2, a sequel that switched up directors (David Leitch for Tim Miller) and changed directions at least a couple of times during its tumultuous development. Happily these behind-the-scenes shenanigans have had little effect on the end product, as Deadpool 2 swaggers confidently onto screens, with a smirk on its face and a dick joke spewing out of its sassy, pretty mouth.
Deadpool 2 sees Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) at something of a loose end in life. Due to events that occur before the opening credits (which we won’t spoil, so calm your tits) he’s unsure of what to do next. Happily a visit from Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) sets Wade on a path to become… a trainee X-Man! It does not go well. One scene of fairly hilarious ultra-violence later, Wade finds himself in the pokey with the unfortunately named teen mutant, Firefist (Julian Dennison), and that’s when cybernetic future soldier, Cable (Josh Brolin) arrives and shit kicks off in earnest.
If the above sounds a little overstuffed, you’re not wrong. Deadpool 2 seems to have taken the criticism of the original being a little plot-light and piled on the narrative strands. Happily, Wade and crew manage to juggle these balls for the most part, although some characters like Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) are sidelined to introduce the new cast. Of the newbies Brolin excels in yet another Marvel property as the grizzled, no-nonsense soldier with a metal arm and a dark past (in our future), but it’s Zazie Beetz as Domino who is best in show, bringing a physicality and wry wit to a role that could have been a goofy misstep.
However, this is Deadpool’s show and Reynolds has lost none of his smarmy, smirking charm as the merc with a mouth. Expect endless rapid fire gags, puns, in-jokes, fourth wall breaks, pop culture references and winking nods to camera at about the same success rate as the original. Sure, a lot of the gags fall flat, but there’ll be another half dozen that work just around the corner, so just relax and enjoy the ride.
Ultimately, Deadpool 2 is a fast-moving gag machine, with an overstuffed plot and a surprising amount of pathos. The humour and heart can both be a little hit or miss, but Reynolds’ performance as Wade Wilson holds the whole caper together, delivering a joyous, violent, profane and occasionally quite sweet cinema experience worthy of the original.