Deadpool 2 Is Twice As Dark, Funny And Flawed As Before

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Deadpool 2 opened May 11, 2016

Honestly, I’m not sure why we, the movie going people, do it to ourselves. We see a movie that we really enjoy, say, Deadpool and immediately we jump on social media and say how great it was and how we want more. The studios see that and they green-light a sequel if not more likely a full three to five movie franchise, by the end of which the lead actor will have become disillusioned with the long commitment, the writers ran of things to say about the character two films back, the critics complain that the sequel doesn’t break new ground in the industry while also criticizing it for being more of the same, which is ultimately what we, the movie going people, demanded in the first place, right? So really, you have no one to blame but yourselves for Deadpool 2. It is exactly what you wanted, and the critics of course loved it. Hey, waitaminute, that can’t be right. That makes about as much sense as Deadpool artist Rob Leifeld drawing boulders in a bathroom because he can’t draw feet. Despite being under a studio-imposed embargo because I’m “just a blogger” (never mind that nobody reads newspapers or magazines anymore and many blogs are as vital a source for news as the Wall Street Journal) the anointed upper crust of the column inches crowd are already calling Deadpool 2 funnier and sharper than the original, and the audience polls are ridiculously positive. Is that sarcasm you’re detecting? Very likely, amigo.

Deadpool 2 once again stars former Green Lantern Ryan Reynolds as the Merc with the Mouth, Wade Wilson, who will never live that brief stint in the DC Universe down. Returning to the fracas is Morena Baccarin as Wade’s main squeeze Vanessa Carlysle, aka Copycat (Although I don’t think they ever once call her that in either movie or acknowledge that Copycat has superpowers, and certainly the legion of Morena Baccarin fans would love to see her wield some superpowers and be part of the bigger Deadpool team, but hey, it’s Fox, and Fox seldom gets anything right, right? Right! Moving on…) Stefan Kapičić returns as the tin man with a huge heart, Colossus. Brianna Hildebrand also returns as the mutant with the longest name ever, Negasonic Teenage Warhead. Karan Soni is back as Deadpool’s personal taxi driver Dopinder, as is Leslie Uggams as Blind Al. T.J. Miller is controversially back as Wade’s buddy Weasel. Miller is apparently quite the weasel off camera too, having been accused of sexual misconduct and then later arrested for calling in a false bomb threat on an Amtrak train.  Scary, isn’t it? Clearly the man needs some professional psychiatric help.

Joining them on their over-the-top escapades this time are Josh Brolin, aka Thanos, as Cable. We’ll come back to him later.  Zazie Beetz plays Domino, whose superpower is luck. I always thought that would be a fun concept to do in a superhero flick and I wasn’t wrong. She steals the show in many ways, and anyone who criticizes her role is a fool. No, she’s not Meryl Streep (and thank you for that) but she’s cool, self-assured, and yes, gorgeous. Is that a shallow observation on my part? Maybe, but then I have never drawn a female Marvel character ever, and therefore the fact that every woman in the Marvel Universe, including Aunt May, apparently, is superhumanly pretty is not even remotely my fault, so save your Bechdel test rage for someone else. I'm sure the movie trolls will start calling Domino another "Mary Sue" like they did with Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, to which I give the middle finger of my replica Infinity Gauntlet. The nominal bad guy here is Russell Collins, aka Firefist, played by fifteen year old actor Julian Dennison. His character didn’t excite me much but I suppose it was a step ahead of Francis from the first film. Russell’s back story and motivation as a villain is more interesting than Francis being a mutant arms dealer, but being an angry teenager isn't exactly evil, it's...typical. Everyone was an angry, awkward teenager, and we were lucky enough to not have to deal with rampaging superpowers to go along with our raging hormones. Deadpool organizes his own superteam called “X-Force,” played by Terry “Bedlam Crews,” Lewis “Shatterstar” Tan, Bill “Zeitgeist” Skarsgard, and Rob “Peter (Wisdom?) Delaney. I’ll come back to this momentarily, as this subplot really brought the whole experience down for me. Finally, we have Shioli Kutsuna as Surge, and Jack Kesy and always awesome Eddie Marsan as…you know, I’m just going to keep that to myself. Suffice it to say Cable and Deadpool aren't the only buddy duo in this flick.

From this point on there are potentially some minor plot point spoliers, so bookmark this page and come back once you've seen the film. Bring chimichangas wit you to share, if you would be so kind. Merci gracias, mein comrade.

Deadpool 2 is sharp and funny (most of the time), yes, I’ll admit to that. The end credits scene is incredibly funny and potentially a gamechanger. However, director David Leitch (John Wick, Atomic Blonde), who replaced Deadpool helmsman Tim Miller after he left the production over creative differences with Ryan Reynolds, whose contract was reworked to give him more say over the project, lets the pace meander at times, and either didn’t or couldn’t reign in Reynolds on some gags that were crude just to be crude. The biggest disappointments though are Cable and X-Force. In the comics, Cable s the level-headed Roger Murtaugh to Wade’s crazy Martin Riggs. Here, he’s a time traveler come to the past to prevent his family’s murder at the hands of a future evil Firefist.  Putting aside my difficulty in buying ol’ Rusty Collins as a future mass murderer, Cable is only here to murder a high school kid before he commits a crime in the future? Why not go back and arrange for Adolph Hitler to get accepted into art school or kill him and prevent World War II? Worse still, he later gives up his means to return to his timeline. Why in Stan Lee’s name would he do that? What’s the point of altering time to save your family if you aren’t going to go back to them? Hollywood pulls this crap all the time. I recall James Spader in Stargate as Dr. Jackson, who spent the entire film freaking out and desperate to get back to Earth until he meets a hot alien woman and suddenly is like, “No, I’m gonna stay now, sorry about the last 90 minutes of histrionics,. No, really, I'll be fine, I'll help her repopulate the plent or something. We'll send you a Christmas card. Later, dudes!" Josh Brolin’s other Marvel character, Thanos, at least has understandable if sinisterly misguided motivation for his murderous tendencies.

The X-Force stuff was a complete waste of time, which is a shame because Terry Crews deserves a better and more permanent roll in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He’s arguably the most naturally super-heroically proportioned actor in the world—sorry Dwayne Johnson. There’s a separate “X-Force” film in development already, and I’d hate to have to be the one to explain how that team differs from Deadpool 2’s mess. I suspect they’ll just ignore it, citing Marvel Comics’ editorial mandate to ignore continuity if it gets in the way of a story. I’m no fan of monopolies in any industry, but Disney can’t buy out all of the studios who snatched up Marvel character rights during the bankruptcy years fast enough. The Marvel Studios films aren’t completely perfect, but I can’t see Kevin Feige accepting this goofy ode to Mystery Men or Cable’s supremely short-sighted character arc. In many ways, this film feels a bit like World Championshiip Wrestling when Eric Bishoff stopped scripting shows in favor of improvisational spontaneity and Hulk Hogan had full control of his character. Ask anyone at WCW how that worked for them. I applaud Ryan Reynolds for his masterful understanding of the character, but wonder if it's not too much of a good thing that he has so much power on the set. The entire X-force sequence felt tacked on, like he discovered he could use those characters halfway into the shoot, spent way too much time and money on far too little return, and then abandonded them to get back to thecore plot. If it doesn't serve your story, it doesn't belong in your story. Both Reynolds and Leitch should know that.  It would have worked much better as a bonus short film on the DVD/BlurRay combo pack. 

Of course, I’m a Marvel man going back nearly half a century, and the modern moviegoer won’t likely care about the kinds of details I notice. They’ll see babes, bullets, special effects and sight gags and enjoy themselves immensely. I’ll laugh at scenes that are legitimately funny, and lament what could have been done better. 

3.5 / 5.0