Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool 2

Movie Review: Deadpool 2 (2018) *Mixed Bag of Maximum Effort*

Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool 2
I think it’s fair to say that rarely has a film’s cast and crew been happier to make a sequel than Deadpool 2’sDeadpool was a giant surprise in 2016.  Surprising in that it ever happened period, and that what we got was so good.  Deadpool 2 gleefully jumps back into the Merc With a Mouth’s world, but the results this time are hit and miss.  Overall, it hits a lot more than it misses, and if you liked the first film, you’ll like the sequel.  It is, however, like a lot of sequels, a bag of diminishing returns.  Going to get a bit spoilery below so warnings all around.
Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool 2
The biggest problem with Deadpool 2 is that the film lacks the heart of the original.  Deadpool, under all the R-Rated shenanigans, is a weirdly sweet love story between Wade (Ryan Reynolds) and Vanessa (Morena Baccarin).  Deadpool 2’s decision to kill Vanessa early in the sequel leaves Wade anchorless and the meandering plot follows his lack of connection to humanity.  First he goes through an admittedly darkly hilarious series of attempts to off himself (which is the downside of having a Wolverine-level healing factor).  He tries, with disastrous results to be an X-Man.  He forms his own team of morally ambiguous mutants, X-Force, to try to stop time-traveling Cable (Josh Brolin) from killing a child before he can grow to be a monster.  It’s a lot of stuff to jam into one film and the whole conceit could have worked, but it’s just not plotted very well.  I think the biggest mistake was to make Vanessa’s killers really just random punks that Wade reduced to component parts in less than two minutes.  There’s no real villain in Deadpool 2 though some big mutant baddies like Black Tom Cassidy and Juggernaut are trotted out, none of them establish the personal vengeful wrath that Ajax did in the first film.  There’s no real righteous target to fire Wade’s death machine at, and Deadpool is a character that can get unsympathetic pretty fast if he’s not couched in the right terms.

Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool 2

Deadpool is famous for breaking the fourth wall.  In the comics, he’s a comic book character who is aware he’s a comic book character and is constantly making in-jokes about comics and talking to the reader.  The first movie established that Deadpool is a movie character who knows he’s a movie character and talks to the audience about it from time to time.  In the sequel, DP has a LOT to say to the audience, especially about comic book movies making jokes about Batman vs. Superman, the entire DCEU, Winter Soldier, Black Widow, Infinity War, Logan, etc.  He talks to the audience…a lot.  That’s fine in moderation, but if you go to that well too much the movie ceases to become a movie and is more like a series of sketches.  Some work, some don’t, some are just the lazy writing that DP complains about three times over the course of the film.

Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool 2

The best thing that Deadpool 2 has going for it is that Ryan Reynolds was born to play Wade Wilson and is loving every single second that his impish spandex-clad self is on-screen.  Ultimately, this is what makes the movie work despite my problems with the plotting.  Deadpool 2 is absurdist fun coming at you at 1,000 mph.  The Bond-style opening credits to an original Celine Dion song?  Brilliance.  The cameos?  Astounding.  80% of the jokes?  Hysterical.  The film has some great action pieces (it gets overly ambitious with the CGI and even with an extended budget, the film is pushing its capabilities).  X-Force’s first deployment is one of the most hysterical action sequences in recent memory.  The end credits scene…maybe the greatest end credits scene of all-time fixing both X-Men Origins: Wolverine AND Green Lantern.

Josh Brolin in Deadpool 2

While I’m hard on it, Deadpool 2 is a lot of anarchic fun.  All credit goes to Ryan Reynolds for his passion for the character and willingness to do literally anything for him.  Josh Brolin’s Cable and Zazie Beetz’s Domino are great additions to the ensemble for this and future films.  While it doesn’t have the overall package the original presented, the film is still tremendously entertaining and definitely worth a trip to the theater.

8.0/10

Deadpool 2 Teaser Poster

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14 thoughts on “Movie Review: Deadpool 2 (2018) *Mixed Bag of Maximum Effort*”

  1. First one was a lightning-in-a-bottle scenario. Freshness, balanced on a wire. Like the first Ghostbusters.

    I liked this movie a bit less than you. Solo is a better film. The more I think about Solo, the more I realize that Solo is a reinvention of the SW franchise, the first SW reinvention in history that ever worked. Lucas tried with the prequels, and Johnson maelevolently schemed with TLJ. Now, for the first time, a SW reinvention has kept the heart of the OT while blazing a new path.

    Dammit.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I hope they don’t make a DP3. So much of the public goodwill towards the first one came from the element of surprise. It was like the first Jack Sparrow outing, only DP felt even more original than that.

        Of course there will be a DP3. I’m just hoping, dreaming.

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      2. I think an X-Force movie is planned next but the whole future of the X-verse is in doubt because of the possible merger with Disney. The other two X-films this year: Dark Phoenix and New Mutants were delayed until 2019. If Disney does acquire FOX it’ll be interesting to see how they handle integrating the X-Men and whether Deadpool will join the MCU or be kept separate.

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      3. I like the idea of the X-Men staying separate in the cinematic realm, though that won’t happen. But there is a small chance that DP will stay apart, I think. As DP should. I say it’s a “small” chance because if they keep DP apart, they lose a chance to cross-promote some of their properties.

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  2. The best thing about Deadpool movies that most people didn’t expect or talk about that much is how much character drama there is in these movies. The first movie had this Wade & Vanessa vs. cancer vs. Ajax-thing just below all the jokes, R-rated violence and meta-references. In DP2, Vanessa was kept in the background and it’s mostly about Deadpool-Russell-Cable, plus Wade and Vanessa and Cable and his family. I know it’s supposed to be cheesy and they’re aware of it, but they also did it kind of sincere. I know it’s kind of cliche but it gives “feels” I don’t get in other superhero movies.

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    1. Exactly, I think you hit on the real appeal of Deadpool. It’s not a hit because of the R-Rated stuff. It’s a hit because the R-Rated stuff grounded in the emotional relatability of having cancer, being in love or losing a loved one somehow weirdly works when Ryan Reynolds channels it. DP2 ties to distance itself from that sincerity by too much wink wink, nudge nudge to the audience and I think that’s why I liked it less. I really thought killing Vanessa, especially since it was reversed at the film’s end, was a mistake. Wade didn’t need her death as motivation. I mean, anyone taking a shot at her would have been enough to send him on a crusade. They couldn’t really do without her and kept using her in the afterlife to ground him and it would have just flowed better to not have her be just a random casualty.

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      1. I agree and I could see why you prefer the first over this one. Me, I liked this as much as the first. (I even like this better than Infinity War). I think it’s easier to ground the first movie dramatically because we still have a pre-Deadpool Ryan Reynolds dying of cancer. The second movie was supposed to be heavier but you can’t really be sad looking at burnt-toast face of Mr. Pool even if he’s crying. (Upon second viewing, I found it actually sad when he thought Bowie is still alive. And then he pisses himself.) The first movie was more frontloaded. Once he became Deadpool, there’s nothing much to it. DP 2 is more loaded at the end. My only gripe with DP 2 is the quick cutting during the fight scenes. While the stunts and choreography are OK, it could have been better. And I only liked them because of the one-liners (Karate, Dubstep, Batman, etc).

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      2. Well one of the problems with DP2 is that it is clearly straining its F/X budget, even though it had a bigger one than the first film. Some stuff is so CGI’d that you have to depend on the humor because the coolness of the action scene gets sabotaged. I liked DP2; I just like the first one much more. And, after he became DP, he still had the Ajax revenge angle which took you to the film’s close. If they were going to kill Vanessa (temporarily…and still use her in cameos throughout the film) they needed to put a face on it that Wade could quest after. Yes, the films then would have gotten crap for doing essentially the same thing as the first film, but it’s still better than faceless baddies. Whatever my quibbles, the end credit scene made everything worthwhile lol.

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