Deadpool is an interesting and often hilarious character from Marvel Comics. Whilst not always handled well, his character has the potential to be a great satire of superheroes in general, and a vital contrast, should the comics ever become too po-faced. Ever since I saw X-Men Origins: Wolverine, I have been hoping to see a better film adaptation of Deadpool. In that film he was wasted, expertly cast as Ryan Reynolds, who is a master of the quickfire quip, but given little connection to his comic counterpart. They even removed his mouth, one of the most important aspects of the character. In 2016 I finally got my wish. Deadpool was a smashing film, with some great crass and stupid humour, mixed in with a dollop of good-natured piss-taking at the expense of the entire superhero genre.
I did however, have some criticism. The film suffered from a lack of budget, although that did lead to a rather amusing joke in which Deadpool leaves most of his guns in the car and cannot use them. While it poked fun at other superhero and marvel films, Deadpool offered nothing as an alternative. There was little substance, and I could have used a few cleverer jokes, perhaps some proper character development. The new film seems to address much of my issues, perhaps owing to the increased budget or the change of director, and as a consequence I love it even more. There are more characters, a much more interesting plot, some fantastic cameos and a genuine emotional core, albeit one that is constantly interrupted for more jokes. I’m going to get into some specifics about the movie now so consider this your spoiler warning.
Deadpool 2 is a deeper movie than the first one. I know that sounds ridiculous, and I don’t mean that this is anywhere near the emotional wringer Logan was, but this sequel has matured slightly. Deadpool goes through loss and growth and comes out at the end, still a clown, but a clown with more weight as a character. His partner, Vanessa is murdered because of his actions as a contract killer, although one who only kills bad people. His arch throughout the film is to come to terms with her death and try to redeem himself for his inadvertent role in her death. This creates an interesting parallel between him and the film’s major villain, Cable. While Deadpool sinks into rock bottom in the most fantastically comedic way, Cable is dealing with the death of his family at the hands of another mutant. Travelling back to the past, he tries to kill the teenage boy who will one day destroy his family. This boy, played with just the right level of anger and vulnerability by Julian Dennison has grown up in an orphanage alone and abused. As such he desperately needs care and affection, but unfortunately comes across Deadpool right at the wrong moment, leading him down a dark path the kill the ones who tortured him. So, for the majority of the film, Wade Wilson tries to prevent Cable from taking out the boy, and recruits domino, played by Zazie Beetz to help.
The performances are very entertaining. It was a wise choice to cast Julian Dennison, who has proven to be an excellent comedic and serious actor in Hunt for the Wilder-people, directed by Taika Waititi. He manages to balance the feeling of years of torment and abuse with some excellent line delivery and great comedic timing. He matches Ryan Reynolds in every scene they are in, which is amazing as Reynolds himself is on fire. These films capitalise on Reynolds skills as a comedy actor perfectly, and I really admire the actor’s willingness to go there. Zazie Beetz, although with less funny lines, is still a great portrayal as Domino, very confident and cool with a calm outlook that contrasts well with Deadpool’s extreme energy. Josh Brolin plays a gruff, over the top Cable with a degree of empathy and is a fantastic straight man to Deadpool’s comedy. He could do with more depth as a character, but that is no fault of Brolin’s who looks like he was born to play Cable. The CGI for his robotic disease and Winter Soldier arm is very slick. There is also a ton of cameo performances that lend the film a much bigger scope than the first one, which felt a bit too self-contained. My personal favourite was the Vanisher, who we didn’t even know was real until he was killed, revealing the character to be played by Brad Pitt.
This film’s humour is on point. There is a good mix of fourth wall breaking, immature gags, violence and crudity, and very accurate jokes at the expense of the superhero genre. I laughed much more in this than in the first film, and I found that film really funny to begin with. I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone however. If you don’t like the more crude and gory style of humour then this isn’t a film for you. This film is quite brutal in places, although it goes right along with the tone. It is an excessive film, but excessive in the right way. The cinematography isn’t particularly memorable. There are a few shots that I remember thinking were well done, but I rarely noticed them. The costume design toes the line between cool and ridiculous. Cable is obviously over the top macho fantasy, but it is balanced by the X-force team, all of whom have silly impractical get-ups, designed to worn with the tongue firmly planted in the cheek. While Deadpool’s costume is well done, it degrades as the film goes on, by the end it is half made of duct tape, which is a nice subtle gag.
Overall, this film is a great time. It balances a varied and almost eclectic sense of humour with some genuine moments of emotion and character growth and presents a character who copes with the world through humour, coming to terms with great loss, and trying to save a young boy. This film may not be Schindler’s List but it does much more than I expected. It has grown and learned from the film that came before and doesn’t just repeat what worked in that film. I recommend this to anyone who watched the first one, and to anyone who enjoys a good R rated superhero comedy.