How do you review a film with a lead character so self-aware he’s capable of reading said review, then cracking wise about it with numerous inventively offensive putdowns? Deadpool (Reynolds) is a superhero with his own set of rules, in which nobody is inoculated against his peculiar brand of hyperwit, including and especially himself. So it goes with this frantic sequel which opens with a comment on the box office of the original, and ends with Wade Wilson facing his much-derided X-Men Origins: Wolverine past head-on.
Those concerned that the premise — mercenary-turned-mutant Wade Wilson shatters bad guys and the fourth wall, as relentlessly and irreverently as possible — would struggle to sustain itself into a second film needn’t have worried. It’s fair to say if you didn’t get on with the first film’s always-winking comedy and unheroic bloody violence, you probably won’t find much solace this time around, but if you’re on board for the ride, Deadpool 2 is more entertaining than ever. Plus, it remains a refreshing superheroic counterpoint to the likes of Avengers: Infinity War or Justice League — here, the only thing at stake is Wade Wilson’s sanity.
You’ll quickly forget Brolin was also Thanos (even if Deadpool cheekily reminds you).
Deadpool is depressed for much of the movie, a brave choice for a franchise founded on the twin pillars of extreme snark and dick jokes. But the script (which adds Reynolds as co-writer, alongside Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick) just about juggles its surprising emotional diversions alongside the standard-issue barminess. The ultimate loner, Wade is now desperate for a family, and Reynolds manages to sell the bleaker stuff from beneath his red spandex and burn-victim prosthetics — usually before deftly undercutting it.
Wade finds a family in a plethora of new characters, most plucked from the comics, and most an improvement on the first film’s fairly flat villains. Some enjoyed their best screentime in the trailer (does anyone really care about Shatterstar?) but the clear standouts are Zazie Beetz’s Domino, whose ‘luck’ superpower makes her enjoyably invincible; and Josh Brolin’s Cable, depicted as a souped-up Gears Of War-esque future-soldier. You’ll quickly forget Brolin was also Thanos (even if Deadpool cheekily reminds you).
But despite the swollen ensemble, it’s still Reynolds’ show. Whether slicing up scoundrels in a pair of stilettos, or embarking on the most ballsy Basic Instinct gag ever committed to screen, this cements Deadpool as his defining role; and paired with John Wick’s David Leitch in the director’s chair, the action feels more muscular and ingenious. We’d say it’s the rare sequel that surpasses the original — but as Deadpool would put it: “That’s just lazy writing.”