Deadpool 2 is a sometimes emotional, always entertaining, funny film well worth a look for anyone who liked the first film. The emotional part came as the biggest surprise, though this aspect arrives early on in the film and never really comes back (until it does, for plot reasons). No, this movie is quite aware of its humor and status (making self-referential jokes throughout like how much money the first film made) and in this awareness, it tops expectations and ends up being highly satisfying. The film has its faults and may not be the magnum opus some may come to expect, but the bottom line is it’s a good time at the movies and should satiate the immature funny bone of all that attend it.
Things that surprised me
1. That emotional opening
In the first 15 or so minutes of the film, we’re privy to Deadpool offing himself. Last we saw him he was desperately in love and had a happy ending with Vanessa (played by the always excellent Morena Baccarin). It’s in these moments that Deadpool deadpans how Logan stole his thunder and that an emotionally charged moment is required to top that film. Enter tragedy. I won’t spoil it, but I actually felt some feels in these moments that I did not expect. The tragic beats are well acted and meaningful and while they don’t give the ending and satisfying comeuppance and resolution the screenwriters wanted, it does give the film a meaningful message. A message that should resonate in the third film.
2. Dang, this s--t is gory
It appears with a slightly higher budget (okay, $110 million is a lot more than $58 million) means way more gore. Like, “look away quickly” gore moments. Even in the opening scenes with Deadpool hacking away at his enemies, I couldn’t believe how graphic this film was. That’s a good thing if you’re one who likes their adaptations accurate to the source material, but if you’re squeamish look away.
3. Cameos and comic references galore
Maybe you should expect comic book references and cameos in a film about a character who breaks the fourth wall and is the most meta character ever written, but color me surprised. Maybe it’s because the first film didn’t bring out the obscure comic book references. Or maybe it’s because this film went with some deep cuts in film history (just wait for the credit scenes) but as a comic nerd, this film delighted all the way through. It’s nice to hear Hope’s name dropped, for instance, or how Rob Liefeld’s name is used when you know 80% of the movie fans won’t get it.
1. Action, baby!
This film nails the action sequences. There’s not a heavy dose of CGI (though Colossus gets a massive one in an end sequence) which is good if you’re an action aficionado. Domino gets her own ass-kicking scene (and fights Cable in another) and Deadpool shows off the katanas in another. I was a bit surprised by how well these scenes were choreographed, with only a smidge of hard to understand moments. Cable also has his moments and while he’s not known for his hand-to-hand fighting, he shows off his strength and shooting skills like a champ.
2. The humor
I laughed out loud quite a few times watching this film. A lot of those laughs were due to breaking the fourth wall so rewatches may be less funny, but you won’t be disappointed. There are, of course, plenty of immature jokes, though it’s balanced out with Deadpool’s personality which makes that humor work even when it’s bottom-of-the-barrel teenager stuff. I will say there is a drought of jokes that really work in between the first and second act, but you won’t notice since the film is getting its plot element ducks in a row.
I don’t want to spoil X-Force because they’re involved in one of the most satisfying sequences in the film, but let’s just say the team is not only set up well, but they deliver as well. The cast of characters is eclectic and fun and they tie well into the emotional side of the story due to Deadpool’s need for a family. Domino is probably the most entertaining of the bunch and her luck-based powers are shown off with a variety of satisfying moments. I can’t stress enough how well this film sets up the idea of this team–in part because Deadpool’s run as an X-Men is so bad–and it will be great to see the team evolve if we can get a sequel. Cable is excellent in this too, but since he serves as the villain for much of the film we never get the Deadpool/Cable dynamic in full force.
What didn’t work
1. It takes a while to get going
While I liked the opening emotional tragedy of the flick, it did utilize some cheap flashbacks to get us interested. Cable’s introduction takes forever to start too. The film isn’t in any rush to get to the meat of the story which is unfortunate, but the humor keeps your interest enough.
2. T.J. Miller
The character was fantastic in the first film and had possibly the funniest bits too. This film, however, he comes off as half-baked and uninterested. He’ll get a chuckle out of you, but he almost seems to be in the film simply out of contract requirements.
3. The ending wants to mean something more than it really does
As I said above the X-Force are the big takeaway by the end of the film. The emotional ending, however, doesn’t work. It’s forced, possibly because the middle portion is overstuffed with action and jokes and no character work, so when we’re coming back around for that emotional punchline you’ll see it coming and cry foul.
This is a good time at the movies. If you have a sick sense of humor and dig action films, you can’t go wrong with this flick. It has an emotional punch at its start but never follows through–much to the chagrin of the writers who wanted this to be Logan but funny–so it ends up feeling hollow to some extent. That said, who goes to a film like this expecting to feel something? Enjoy it for its meta and fourth wall-breaking comedy and forget the fact that it’s building its own franchise even though it wants to be smart enough to give that stuff the middle finger. Deadpool 2 is that friend who wants you to join in the fun even if they’re doing all the work.