July 29, 2020

“Deadpool 2” (2018) Review: Maximum Effort

Note: This review was originally published in The Cape Cod Chronicle in June 2018.

Typically, when people think of superhero movies, they think of an action-packed thrill ride packed with shocking moments and witty one-liners. In 2016, Deadpool stunned audiences as a superhero flick that somehow contained all the foul language, sexual references, fourth-wall breaking and gory violence that it could fit under two hours, while also managing to be a heartfelt tale of true love.

Now, in 2018, a rather unimaginatively-titled sequel has been released (you guessed it, Deadpool 2) and it’s just as graphic and awesome as the original.

Comedian Ryan Reynolds returns as Wade Wilson (also known as Deadpool), a mutant who is unable to be killed; he can re-grow his entire body from any remaining part. This time, instead of hunting the man who kidnapped his girlfriend, he’s facing off against Cable (Josh Brolin), a super-soldier from the future who’s trying to save his family by exterminating Russell (Julian Dennison), a young pyro-mutant who grows up to do terrible things. Along the way, Wade learns about love, loss and failure while accompanied by his girlfriend Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), his bartender pal Weasel (T.J. Miller) and his hero friends Colossus (Stefan Kapičić) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), among others.

Deadpool 2 manages to carry the heart of the original into the sequel, with a new director and a new set of compelling characters. The action is fun to watch, and the humor narrowly tops the first film.

Reynolds is superb in the role he campaigned to play for over five years and finally got to play in 2009, and later 2016. Brolin is perfectly dark and gritty in his second superhero film of the season (he portrayed the villainous Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War), and plenty of fourth-wall breaking jokes are made to that end. Julian Dennison, only fifteen years old, creates a brutal, tortured character in that of Russell. We find ourselves caring what happens, and what has happened, to this kid.

Further supporting roles are played by Zazie Beetz as Domino, a super heroine purely relying on luck; Leslie Uggams as Al, Wade’s comedically blind roommate; and Karan Soni as Wade’s always under fire taxi driver Dopinder, who has a larger role than in the first film. They’re also accompanied by many entertaining A-list cameos, including Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Alan Tudyk, and, of course, superhero creator Stan Lee (who, incidentally, did not create Deadpool).

I’m glad I saw Deadpool 2; I ended up seeing it in a double feature with the first film so I could see them back to back as an easier comparison. While it tries to outdo the first film in nearly every way, the original is still superior. Sequels often try to be “bigger and better” than the original, but I can say, in this case, Deadpool 2 comes very close to the quality and charm of the original. [Grade: A]

Director: David Leitch
Writer: Ryan Reynolds, Paul Wernick, Rhett Reese
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Zazie Beetz, Morena Baccarin, Julian Dennison
Rated: R for strong violence and language throughout, sexual references and brief drug material
Available: Hulu
Fun Fact: The footage of the X-Men closing the door was shot on the set of X-Men: Dark Phoenix and sent over to the Deadpool 2 crew.

No comments:

Post a Comment