Deadpool 2 (2018)

   Director: David Leitch With: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Zazie Beetz, Morena Baccarin, Brianna Hildebrand, Julian Dennison, Stefan Kapicic, T.J. Miller, Terry Crews, Bill Skarsgard, Rob Delaney, Shioli Kutsuna, Leslie Uggams, & Karan Soni. Release: May 18, 2018 R. 1 hr. 59 min. 

Director: David Leitch
With: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Zazie Beetz, Morena Baccarin, Brianna Hildebrand, Julian Dennison, Stefan Kapicic, T.J. Miller, Terry Crews, Bill Skarsgard, Rob Delaney, Shioli Kutsuna, Leslie Uggams, & Karan Soni.
Release: May 18, 2018
R. 1 hr. 59 min. 

 

The foul-mouthed mutant mercenary has returned in a grand and psychodramatic fashion. With a sequel that is expanding upon its first outing, while attempting to remain effortlessly small and narrow by making the sociopathic star its lead, but in a way that is trying to provide more grit to Wade Wilson’s (Ryan Reynolds) wisecracks and fourth-wall breaking. It breaks that proverbial wall from the very beginning with a wind up music box of Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) plunged upon the pointed wood bark from the finale of “Logan,” but it's when Wade Wilson’s (Ryan Reynolds) attempted suicide from the ignition of surrounding oil canisters that this plot becomes more intriguing than expected. 

If you’ve ever read any “Deadpool” comic or any comic book in general, the hero doesn’t die in the first five minutes and not come back, especially when your hero can heal from anything as long as an atom of his being remains intact. So the story doesn’t end there, it becomes what Wade (Ryan Reynolds) describes as a family picture. We’re watching a Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) with an essence of depth attached to him as he and Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) are trying to make some little Deadpool’s (Ryan Reynolds), an image we get have a glimpse of at one point in the film with Deadpool’s (Ryan Reynolds) baby legs. 

He’s not the only one whose motives become driven by his desire for family, as Cable (Josh Brolin; aka the hardest working actor of the year) is a time traveling mutant badass on the hunt for the man who killed his family in the distant future. But, in Deadpool's (Ryan Reynolds) time he's merely a young boy named Firefist (Julian Dennison) who becomes this mutant's target. A prepubescent mutant who's been abused by a group of religious fanatics at the mental facility that he’s been adopted into since he, apparently, has nowhere else to go. (cough... School for Gifted Children....cough) Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) won’t sit idly by to watch Cable (Josh Brolin) kill a kid though, so he starts a team to combat against this time traveling cybernetic soldier, the X-Force. 

Minor spoiler, but for those hoping to see X-23 (Dafne Keen) lash out around the city streets with her mutant brethren, prepare to be disappointed. You won’t be disappointed with the X-Force that literally plays upon the joke of the forgettable ensembles of one charismatic superheroes’ movie. (I.e., “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” & “X-Men: Apocalypse”) One of those heroes sticks around and carves out an excellent little part of the portrait for herself with that of the lucky Domino (Zazie Beetz). A subconsciously telepathically emitting mutant who seems to be more fortunate than anyone else, but Zazie provides a charming and joyful approach to the character that allowed for her to stand shoulder to shoulder with the aging pop star's return to the stage. (Mr. Deadpool) 

This story has a vast array of characters, both new and familiar. With that of the return of the CGI rendered Colossus; voiced by (Stefan Kapicic) and the debut of some other infamous mutants in versions that are better than we’ve ever seen before. We have Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) and her girlfriend Yukio (Shioli Kutsuna) as the first two outright gay characters in a comic book movie, and a handful of cameos and debuts from famous movie stars and superhero ensembles. It’s a grander table that is set for the regenerating degenerate whose comedic timing, delivery, and constant wisecracking is hilarious once again. The humor rivals that of the first, as “Deadpool 2” stems from the minds of Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick once again. Fabricating a countless number of jokes that are self-referencing, fourth wall breaking, and story-based humor that is shared between the characters. 

The added dose of depth for our main character, Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds), is a bit unnecessary. He starts the films by poking fun at “Logan” for riding his coattails with the R-rating and being far more poignant than his burlesque of 2016, yet he rides the tracks that “Logan” sets forth in an attempt to upstage good ol’ Wolfy. This is not a character that needs depth though, don’t get me wrong, there are a multitude of comics with some heartfelt stories like Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn “Deadpool #45,” in which Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) dies by having two alternate version of earth crash into each other as he sails into his finality, surrounded by family and friends. 

That story only works because of the issues before it though, it’s weird to go from raunchy and witty humor to more of the same, but with brief interludes of emotional storytelling that centers around Wade’s (Ryan Reynolds) grief, I won’t foretell why that grief is there though. We’re examining why the merc with a mouth is unable to cross that barrier of family-hood or why he’s always chosen to go outside the rules instead of joining those who stand up to the same evil he does. It has a few moments that hit, but it never precisely blends with the parodied humor that Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) continues to sling at the genre of goody tooshoo superheroes. 

The added money seems to have overblown the character a bit, with David Leitch (“John Wick 2”) helming “Deadpool 2” this time around as Tim Miller was unable to return due to creative differences. The stunt coordinator turned filmmaker provides a look to the film that has that same kind of grey framing that revokes against the vibrancy of the typical superhero flick, but his action can be surprisingly choppy at times. It’s “Deadpool 2” though, so I’m not expecting massive wide shot with Ryan Reynolds and Josh Brolin fighting hand to hand for a twenty-minute action sequence that seeps with realism and physicality (I am not opposed to that idea by any means though). The ensembles of set-pieces have that flair to them that is endlessly watchable though, Leitch may have some unexpected shortcomings in a few areas, but he remains in control of this film from beginning to end with some gritty violence, and an enthusiastically handled chase sequence. (Whispers X-Force)

It’s not the chase sequences or the ensembles that make this film work though, Ryan Reynolds gives the film something that it can’t give back to him once again. He makes the jokes land better than expected and provides another dose of legitimacy to this sequel in which he, like Robert Downey Jr or Mark Hamill, is the only actor who can depict this character. It is the perfect casting and natural matching of caricatures with the ideal actor that brings these character to life most of the time. You need the right man or woman behind the mask, and Deadpool has that, and Brolin makes for a great dance partner this time around. 

Pushing Reynolds with both his character and his performance, their on-screen pairing delivers those few moments in which that emotional heft is actually delivered on cue. It’s two family men finding something to latch onto, to be greater than they were yesterday, another surprisingly heartfelt message from the character that masturbates with a unicorn pressed to his forehead.