Deadpool 2 | David Leitch | May 18, 2018
Since Deadpool in 2016, fans of the Merc with a Mouth have been anticipating a sequel. Now, that sequel is here, and it’s bigger than its predecessor (thanks to a bigger cast and budget).
Where to begin with Deadpool 2 puts me in a bit of a bind. The trailers give a little away plot-wise, but the execution of said plot is another story that leads towards spoilers. And while I personally indulge in reading/actively seeking out spoilers from time to time, I don’t want to ruin the experience for fans who’ve been eagerly awaiting the film. That being said, expect minimal to negligible spoilers from here on out.
In the aftermath of Deadpool, Wade Wilson/Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) has been making a killing (pun intended), as the initial montage takes Wade on an international work trip to Hong Kong, Sicily, Tokyo, and Biloxi – executing sex traffickers, drug cartels, and other such gang types, all set to Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5”. Afterward, he’s recruited as an X-Men trainee by Colossus (Stefan Kapicic), only to botch his first mission and get captured while trying to talk down fiery teen mutant Russell (Julian Dennison), getting both of them sent to the Icebox, a mutant prison run by the Department of Mutant Control (provided that’s what DMC stands for, as it’s never explicitly stated and there isn’t much explicit background about the organization). Meanwhile, Cable (Josh Brolin) travels back in time to kill Russell, thereby saving his family and his future, and who else gets in his way but Wade mid and post-prison break. And in an attempt to stop Cable from killing Russell, Deadpool (with help from Weasel [TJ Miller]) recruits Bedlam (Terry Crews), Domino (Atlanta‘s Zazie Beetz), Zeitgeist (It‘s Bill Skarsgard), Shatterstar (Lewis Tan), Vanisher (surprise cameo), and Peter (Catastrophe‘s Rob Delaney) to create the derivative X-Force. Fighting and chaos ensue, as you’d expect.
To say the least, if you were a fan of the original, you’ll more than likely get a kick out of Deadpool 2. John Wick co-director and Atomic Blonde director David Leitch more than capably directs the action sequences while borrowing some good slow-mo moments and not quite mimicking Tim Miller’s style. Having regular cinematographer Jonathan Sela on hand certainly helps. Humor-wise, there’s plenty of equal opportunity meta-ragging on Marvel, DC, and the Fox’s X-Men universe, as well as self-deprecating Ryan Reynolds humor. And there’s an unexpected Yentl running joke that goes over better than expected, as well as an Annie reference. Yes, that Annie. Oh, and the opening credits, while not as clever as the paused slow-mo tracking opening credits in the first film, still get a laugh, as they parody the stereotypical James Bond opening credits – with help from Celine Dion’s new single “Ashes”.
On the acting front, Beetz is a great addition as Domino, and Brolin is ripped and gruff enough to play Cable – and with a little heart, too. Again, this is quite the year for Brolin, what with Infinity War three weeks ago and the Sicario: Day of the Soldado next month. There’s also Jack Kesy and Eddie Marsan briefly appearing as Black Tom Cassidy and the Essex House for Mutant Rehabilitation headmaster, respectively. They’re mostly one-note, unfortunately. As for the returning cast, Morena Baccarin isn’t as much a damsel as she is a love interest who does little in the film; Leslie Uggams’ Blind Al is limited to two scenes and contributes to maybe a laugh or two; TJ Miller isn’t as pivotal or central to the film, and his humor doesn’t land; and Karan Soni’s Dopinder gets a few laughs on his way to fulfilling his dream of becoming a contract killer/cab driver.
One of the things that bugged me about Deadpool 2 that I CAN talk about without spoiling things is the color grading. There’s a clear yellow and blue tinting in several scenes that I felt detracted from the overall experience of watching the film, as well as the balancing between grounding in reality and a superhero/anti-hero/comic book movie. And there also the cast related stuff, but given the spoilers I don’t want to get into, I won’t get into it. But with the casting of the X-Force team, along with Kesy and Marsan, you’d expect more to be done with them. I put some of the blame on the marketing of the film. (When you see the film, you’ll get what I’m alluding to.) Then again, this IS first and foremost a Deadpool movie, so Deadpool is going to be at the center of the movie and everyone else is in the ensemble.
Think of Deadpool 2 as kitchen sink pizza. You might not like everything on it, but if you enjoyed it the first time you ate it, you’ll enjoy it a second time. There might be a little bloat or acid reflux, but that’s expected.