The first Deadpool film felt like a breath of fresh air, it’s R rating and surface disregard for the conventions of modern superhero movie narratives made it a cultural touchstone, a film you just had to see because it wasn’t like anything you’d ever seen before.
And then they made a sequel.
It’s tough to take a film as successful as Deadpool and simply churn out a sequel. It was a lightning in a bottle moment, the culmination of the right place and time, the right script, the right creative team and the right casting. If the first film was a success because it shocked us, what do you do with a sequel now that the Merc with a mouth is a known quantity? When we have expectations as to what Deadpool is, as both a character and a franchise?
The answer seems to be something that feels a lot like the original Deadpool but doesn’t quite feel like a satisfying sequel. The jokes are there, Reynolds is on top form in the role he was born to play, and the superhero story is refreshingly simple. Sure, the world does get saved in a roundabout kind of way, but it’s still a very basic story in order to keep the jokes flowing fine.
But the emotional core of the film simply isn’t as strong. Wade Wilson’s next step as a human being drags the story down, we needed it in the first one to introduce a concept this weird, but the heart in this film feels forced and unsatisfying.
That said, this feels a lot more like an X-Men film than any other that came before it. For one, they actually use the name multiple times without it being some kind of joke and we’re inching ever closer to more comic accurate characters. The successful translation of Colossus has paved the way for more characters to get the right treatment and some of those moments are a joy. In fact, that’s where the movie shines for me, and makes me more certain than ever that the future of the X-Men films is to move away from the Prof. X/Magneto conflict and tell smaller stories from all over the mutant community.
The film’s other
great strength is how it’s run with the original’s love of sending up the
Superhero genre. As has already been revealed in the trailers, references to
Brolin as Thanos and the DC universe are just the start and Deadpool’s
awareness of his place as a movie character remains the draw for me. It
sometimes falls into the realm of reference humour but Reynolds absolutely
sells it as something so central to the character of Wade.
The rest of the cast is solid but the addition of newer characters makes some of the old characters redundant. Morena Baccharin gets absolutely nothing to do and what she does do is such a bastardisation of her character that she might as well have not been there. Speaking of not being there, TJ Miller looks utterly bored and uninterested, I’m kinda glad his fame is imploding. Karan Soni’s Dopinder has been given an expanded role and has a decent arc that pays of in a satisfying way.
The mid credit sequence is delightfully indulgent, going for meta joke after meta joke making it maybe not my favourite, but definitely the funniest.
As usual, I welcome spoiler talk in the comments.