John Wick and Atomic Blonde director David Leitch takes the reigns on Wade Wilson’s latest escapade which sees the irascible “merc with the mouth” (Ryan Reynolds) unite with a whole team of new allies, including the lucky Domino (Zazie Beetz), and some other familiar faces to protect the troubled teenage firestarter mutant
Ricky Baker Russell/Firefist (Julian Dennison) from the time travelling soldier Cable (Josh Brolin), who is out for vengeance.
Starting with the story, it’s all set on a slightly bigger scale, which is one of the things I wanted from this sequel, and it’s overall more confident and the setpieces found within are bigger, bolder and worthy of the big screen treatment, getting to cut loose and have even more fun now that the origin story elements are out of the way. One of the more noticeable aspects of the film is that it’s darker and takes itself that little bit more seriously when it needs to, including a couple of heavy, emotionally charged scenes (mostly between Wade and Vanessa) as well as heavily emphasising the main theme of family but while the intentions may have been good, many of these more serious scenes feel forced and not entirely genuine, not quite fitting in amongst the crude comedy. But I guess with a film like this, you’re not really meant to take the serious stuff to heart anyway – such as with films like Ted 2, the emotional stuff is there by necessity but you just have to blindly accept it and move on.
Regarding the humour, which is obviously a huge part of it all, the first film clearly struck a chord with most audiences and the people who were in the screening that I originally went to were often howling with laughter but I was left unphased by it all and was honestly a little annoyed that they were loving the humour which I found to be fundamentally flawed and not that funny at all; like in the scene where Wade breaks bones while punching and kicking Colossus – there was deafening laughter from the audience but all I could think was “but that’s not funny!” But then I watched it again some time later on my own, free to enjoy it on my own terms, and got on far better with the comedy, even going so far as to do a second review, upgrading it by a star. And with Deadpool 2, I appear to be in the exact same boat because the audience in the screening that I went to really got a kick out of it but I only managed a few half smiles, yet again hearing rapturous laughter at things that I didn’t find funny at all, such as the VERY first shot and a scene with Wade and Vanessa watching Yentl – what’s so funny about that?!
The comedy in this film is exactly what you’d expect, namely fourth wall breaking, pop culture references and a whole load of rude, crude gags but, while there are admittedly a smattering of hidden gems in there, the film tries too hard to be outrageous and a lot of the jokes fall completely flat (IMO). With all the fourth wall breaking and pop culture references, the self aware nature of the film didn’t bother me as much as it did in the first one but still, the writers aren’t being as clever as they think they are but saying all of that, there’s a particularly brilliant and completely unexpected moment involving other mutants at the X-Mansion (one which answers the question of where it fits in the Marvel timeline) and a very neat mid-credit scene involving time travel and righting certain wrongs that’s all kinds of crazy.
Oh, and on that note it’s worth mentioning that there’s no post-credits scene but there is a gag which provoked plenty of laughter but, you guessed it, it had no effect on me. The opening credits of this film are a bit of a dud as well, starting off as a James Bond parody but winding up doing the exact same schtick as the first film only to a less humorous extent as it’s not as funny and is far too short to have any impact.
So yet again, this Deadpool film failed to make me laugh on first viewing, forcing me to put my “grumpy hat” on, but hopefully it’ll follow the same pattern as its predecessor – I’ll watch it again on my own and enjoy it a lot more. When there aren’t people around me laughing at all the wrong times!
Seeing as how this film is directed by “one of the guys who killed John Wick’s dog”, the kinetic action/fight sequences of Deadpool 2 are the highlights of the piece and all the shootouts, car chases and fist fights (as well as X-Force’s parachute descent and main mission) are snappily edited and proficiently choreographed, bringing a tangible sense of darkness and danger to the film. However, David Leitch’s more serious direction is also something of a hindrance because, as mentioned before, the darkness doesnt quite gel with the silly comedy and long stretches of the film feel too drab and bleak. The film’s music is great though as Tyler Bates’s score works well and there are some good tracks from artists such as AC/DC, Cher, Rupert Holmes and Dolly Parton – heard during an excellent scene right at the beginning.
Regarding the cast, there are some bright new additions as well as some welcome returns from old favourites; Ryan Reynolds is perfectly comfortable as the charismatic and barnstorming Wade, juggling the comedy, fighting and heartfelt emotion very well, Colossus (far less of a doofus this time around) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) fit right back in, though Negasonic should’ve been given more to do, and Karan Soni has slightly more screen time as taxi driver Dopinder, badly wanting to join Wade on his missions. T.J. Miller is something of a weak link as Weasel though because he’s not funny at all and a great amount of his lines (most of them improvised, I’m assuming) fall flat a lot of the time.
As for the new arrivals, Zazie Beetz is tough and very likeable as the super lucky Domino, Julian Dennison is fine as the troubled Russell (though he’s nowhere near as majestical as he was in Hunt for the Wilderpeople!) and Rob Delaney is a bit of a scene stealer as everyman Peter who answers the ad and joins his new friends on Wade’s team. And continuing to be in EVERY film nowadays, the ever reliable Josh Brolin is powerful and commanding as the grumpy, time travelling Cable; he works well with Ryan Reynolds, his character is well designed and he has a decent backstory – even if it’s exactly the same as that of Bruce Willis’ character in Looper. Seriously, think about it.