Deadpool 2 Review
"Why does an old man with Winter Soldier's arm want to kill me?"
Doubling down on laughs and effects, Deadpool 2 is a superb sequel, enjoying all the irreverent self-aware humour that made the first one so greatThe Ryan Reynolds-driven sleeper hit Deadpool was a gloriously witty and distinctly adult superhero flick which was so good that it left fans itching for more. It also did stomping Box Office, reinvigorating Reynolds' career and paving the way for the likes of Logan to be made - R-rated superhero movies with an edge.
Whilst a sequel was inevitable, it's never an easy thing to accomplish a good sequel, and given how against-type the first movie was, there was arguably even more expectation placed upon this franchise to deliver where others have failed. Thankfully John Wick co-director and Atomic Blonde director David Leitch is more than up to the task, taking the mantle after Deadpool's Tim Miller made a much-publicised exit (amidst rumours that Reynolds had more of an input in the production than Miller), and allowing co-writer Reynolds to further embrace the character that now arguably defines him and his style of comedy.
So many references you'd need to watch it at half speed to get a quarter of them.
Although the plot absorbs a hell of a lot of action movie cliches, it also juggles them surprisingly well, retaining a witty light edge to the proceedings which helps them just about escape the fatal flaw of being completely and utterly predictable (which they are, if you weren't too busy laughing your ass off to realise).
After a tragic loss, Deadpool takes a suicidal course before finding something - or someone - to live for, and forming a team and getting a lot of people dead whilst cracking so many jokes and making so many references that you'd need to watch it at half speed to even get a quarter of them.
Inject a bunch of other superheroes into the mix (a few of which will make you raise an eye, a few of which are blink and you'll miss, and a few of which may actually make it to the next movie - the rumour X-Force) and you get an action-packed, but more importantly joke-laden blockbuster that's just devilishly great fun.
After his superior supervillain-defining turn as Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, Josh Brolin is a fabulous addition to the movie. He brings a Clint Eastwood squint-and-growl-through-gritted-teeth that is so at odds with the unstoppably sarcastic Deadpool (the character and the movie) that the mix actually works brilliantly. Apparently the model behind the interaction between the two characters was Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy in 48 Hours and they absolutely nail that.
Zazie Beetz is also a fun addition as the impossibly lucky Domino, and it's nice to see Hunt for the Wilderpeople's Julian Dennison get a solid high profile role to follow up such a great breakthrough. Cameos aplenty (again, blink and you'll miss them) but this is still ultimately Reynolds' baby through and through and, as you can tell just from the closing stingers (there's a whole bevy but nothing right at the end, thankfully, so don't bother waiting) some of the funniest bits are just Reynolds poking fun at Wolverine, Green Lantern, Canada and himself.
Devilishly great fun.
Of course any sequel was going to struggle to keep up the fresh feeling of the original and, no matter how hard it tries, Deadpool 2 fails to be an exception to that curse, with that dread predictability creeping in, and even - say it's not so - a few moments where it feels a little flabby. It's so ingenious in the way that it makes seemingly conventional grand action setpieces feel new and different, so clever in wit and self-awareness, and so packed to the gills with pop culture references that you can forgive it any faults, but that doesn't mean that it's the leanest shark on the block because it isn't.
Ultimately it'll bowl you over with a stomping final act, and a laugh out loud coda, covering up anything even approaching a flaw and helping it graduate into the mantle of rare sequels that at least maintain the quality of the original, even if they can't quite beat it.
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