FMLer Review: Deadpool 2

Alec Blome

Before I give "Deadpool 2" my maximum review, I'd like to establish one thing first: the "Deadpool" franchise does not fit into, nor belong in the superhero genre. And that's okay! So let's stop labeling it anything other than a comedy and move on. Irreverent action-comedy? Sure. But a comedy, pure and simple. And with most comedies, their sequels rarely offer anything in the way of originality or adequate reasons for existing. But this? This is f** "Deadpool 2", not "Son of the Mask".

The alliterative Wade Wilson is back as the hilarious fourth-wall-breaking "merc with a mouth." This time out, Deadpool has a to-do list:

1) Revenge, again
2) Recruit a team of misfit mutants, and Peter
3) Protect a young powerful mutant teen from the time-traveling anti-villain(?), Cable (Josh Brolin)
4) Smash the record for most Marvel, DC, X-Men gags/references in a single movie
5) Take pants off

Much of the same vulgar aesthetic and meta humor remains from 2016's "Deadpool" as it mostly stays on brand throughout. So don't worry about them (Ryan Reynolds or new director David Leitch) straying far from the tried-and-true formula of the original.

Not missing a beat is the aforementioned Reynolds in his born-to-play reprisal of Deadpool, again successfully delivering that high-octane personality that, admittedly, flirts dangerously with annoying its audience while never quite crossing the line. He's just the right amount of obnoxious center-of-attention class clown that's endearing enough to make the entire premise of this absurd anti-superhero character work.

If you enjoyed the first movie, odds are you'll appreciate this one as well. But understand, it's just not quite as polished, charming, nor satisfying as its predecessor. While often very funny (and disgusting, but in a good way), more jokes than you'd probably care to admit are rather cheap while others are just plain unfunny. As briefly mentioned above, the abundance of Marvel, DC, and X-Men jokes are a bit much to take after a while. I'm not saying it's "lazy writing" to toss in a handful of topical comic book gags. Hell, some are damn funny and that troll-ish behavior is kind of the point of the movie. It is lazy and dull, however, to litter your movie with 20 or so easy, cheap one-liners that will most likely not be relevant a year from now. And it is in these (and a few other) lackluster moments "Deadpool 2" proves inferior (to "Deadpool") and not immune to sequelitis: the common practice of repeatedly rehashing gags, or going bigger and bolder for the sequel-sake of going bigger and bolder.

The "plot?" Well, it's rather bare bones and not all that compelling, to be honest. And for a movie that takes such glee in trashing the plethora of recycled superhero tropes; "Deadpool 2" unapologetically utilizes one of the more played-out comic book tropes as it's catalyst and emotional core. I won't spoil what it is specifically, but just know you've seen it often enough that you'd think (hope) Reynolds and crew would've avoided going down such a cliched road. As I've stated, this is not a superhero flick. So that's why it's frustrating when "DP2" strays from it's comedic strengths to dive into the trope-iest of superhero plotlines. That emotional, character-developing element may be well-intentioned but does not mesh very well with the rest of an otherwise solid popcorn flick. But if we're being completely honest with ourselves, plot doesn't matter for this type of movie anyway, right? As long as it delivers on a majority of the laughs (unlike last week's uneven "Life of the Party"), that's all that matters in the end.

Yes, there are some heavy misses in "Deadpool 2" but take comfort in knowing the heavy hits far outweigh them. One of the "hits" worth mentioning is that of the supporting cast as a whole. Now, they don't get as much individual shine or onscreen presence as the trailer would indicate, but they serve the movie well by maxing out their full potential with limited material to work with. Brolin's Cable is solid as the anti-villain, as is newcomer Zazie Beetz with her turn as Lucky Domino. Back of course are the delightfully entertaining Dopinder (Karan Soni) and Blind Al (Leslie Uggams) in addition to a herd of interesting newbies that round out a very strong cast.

Action-wise, it's so-so. Nothing spectacular, but good enough a playground for Red and friends to parade around as the bullets and zingers fly in rapid succession.

All that said, for a comedy sequel "Deadpool 2" holds up just fine. I'd say it's definitely more in the "Naked Gun: 2 1/2" arena than "Airplane! 2", if that comparison means anything to you. Thankfully, "DP2" accomplishes what it set out to do: make me laugh… a lot… and at things I probably should feel ashamed about laughing. Though, can't say I'll be rushing out to see it again anytime soon. One viewing was good enough for now. But I'm quite happy to have seen it, nonetheless.

Finally, not sure what this says about the movie itself, but the mid-credits scenes are far and away the funniest, most rewarding moments of the entire movie. Do not miss them!

In Conclusion: If "Deadpool (1)" was maximum effort, "Deadpool 2" is 110% maximum effort. Only problem is, you can't actually achieve 110%. That's just something people say when they want you to know they are trying really, really super hard. And like most action-comedy sequels, "DP2" at times tries a little too hard, giving us somewhere around 80% effort/quality of the original - which is far more than most Hollywood sequels can say, for what it's worth. Though not as fresh or morbidly adorable, "Deadpool 2" ultimately succeeds as an acceptable, laugh out loud, entertaining followup to one of the more surprisingly popular movie franchises.

Title Deadpool 2 - Rating R - Run time 1h 59min
What to expect: graphic violence, crude & juvenile humor, language, sex and drugs

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