15th May2018

‘Deadpool 2’ Review

by Matthew Turner

Stars: 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 | Written by Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, Ryan Reynolds | Directed by David Leitch


The Merc with the Mouth is back! Hot on the heels of 2016’s Deadpool becoming the second highest-grossing R-rated movie ever (“Just behind The Passion of the Christ”, as Deadpool points out), Ryan Reynolds returns with a furiously funny, foul-mouthed sequel that seems confident lightning will strike twice.

Following a heart-breaking tragedy, a devastated Wade Wilson / Deadpool (Reynolds) accepts an offer from metal friend Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) to become a trainee X-Man. His first mission involves talking down flaming fisted out-of-control teenage mutant Russell Johnson (Hunt for the Wilderpeople’s Julian Dennison), but things quickly spiral out of control and the pair wind up in mutant prison the Ice Box.

However, Deadpool’s problems are only just beginning, as gun-toting soldier from the future Cable (Josh Brolin) smashes his way into the prison, aiming to kill Russell. Feeling uncharacteristically protective of his former cellmate, Deadpool realises he’ll need help to take on his metal-armed adversary, so he puts out a recruitment ad and forms superhero team X-Force, whose members include brainwave altering Bedlam (Terry Crews), acid vomiting Zeitgeist (Bill Skarsgard), super-lucky Domino (Zazie Beetz), super-confident alien Shatterstar (Lewis Tan) and a guy named Peter (Rob Delaney), who doesn’t have any superpowers but just saw the ad and thought he’d apply.

Director David Leitch (who replaced the original’s Tim Miller) proves an astute choice, having previously demonstrated his kick-ass action credentials on Atomic Blonde and John Wick (his director credit reads “One of the guys who killed John Wick’s dog”). He also nails the film’s tone, seamlessly flowing between extreme comic-book violence (one moment in particular is sure to have Marvel executives wincing), outrageous humour and, surprisingly, moments of genuine emotion – bizarrely, it turns out Deadpool isn’t entirely kidding when he insists that this is actually a family film.

As with the first film, the gag rate is extremely high, which is just as well, because a number of them fall flat. Occasionally, the film acknowledges that it has gone too far (the opening credit sequence is a case in point), but makes the joke anyway, thereby having it both ways. It scarcely matters, as there’s pretty much something for everyone where the jokes are concerned – in addition to the constant barrage of irreverent, self-aware fourth wall breaks there are obscure comics gags (referencing not just characters but artists and writers too), digs at other superhero movies, gross-out sight gags and inspired one-liners and that’s barely scratching the surface. Pretty much the only thing that’s missing is the time-honoured Stan Lee cameo, and even then, there’s adequate compensation in a couple of other surprise appearances.

The action scenes are great fun too, particularly a stand-out set-piece that showcases Domino’s good luck ability and directly contradicts Deadpool’s dismissive assertion that her power “isn’t very cinematic”. Beetz, for her part, delivers a star-making performance and almost walks away with the film, despite having relatively few lines.

It goes without saying at this point that Reynolds and Deadpool were made for each other, the motor-mouthed superhero providing the perfect vehicle for the actor’s established comic persona. The evident joy Reynolds has in playing the character is genuinely infectious, ensuring ear-to-ear grins every time he opens his mouth. Which is a lot.

The rest of the supporting cast are equally great. Dennison is superb, with the script allowing him to channel so much of his Wilderpeople character that it’s almost like watching a crossover sequel. Similarly, Brolin is predictably great as Cable, more or less playing the straight man to Deadpool’s motor-mouthed wise-cracker (“You’re so dark – are you sure you’re not from the DC Universe?”, is just one of many gags at his expense), but doing it so perfectly that it becomes a joke in itself. There’s also strong comic support from T.J. Miller and Karan Soni (reprising their roles as Deadpool’s buddies Weasel and Dopinder from the first film), though Morena Baccarin is disappointingly wasted as Wade’s girlfriend Vanessa.

Put simply, Deadpool 2 is a blast, perfectly recapturing the gleeful stick-two-fingers-up irreverence of the first film and delivering a knockout combo of gags and action, anchored by what’s likely to be Reynold’s career-defining performance.

**** 4/5


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