The first Deadpool movie was a cultural moment. Released during the height of superhero movie mania, Deadpool was the first during this era to hold an R rating. Not the first superhero film ever to be rated R, but the first in this period of super power mania to have it. Released during a historically slower time at the box office, it shot out of the gate, eventually becoming the highest grossing R rated film worldwide ever (the only R rated film that beat its gross domestically is the Torture Porn, I mean Passion, of the Christ). Saying that the sequel has a lot to live up to is an understatement. While Ryan Reynolds was born to play this role, I’ve got a feeling that this smart assed anti hero can wear out his welcome pretty quickly if he’s not careful.
Deadpool 2 is the story of a man trying to become better. After a traumatic event forces him to look inward and reevaluate his priorities, Mr. Pool takes it upon himself to help out an abused young mutant who is ends up being hunted by a time traveling Terminat.. er, assassin, Cable (As an aside, is it really a spoiler if the spoliery thing happens before the opening credits roll? Are we really living in an age where an event that drives the plot of a film is considered uncouth to talk about? Fucking pansies. The story occurs because <REDACTED>). Along the way he recruits a band of mutants, and Peter, to aid him in his wise cracking filled, violent journey.
As with the first film, the best moments here are when the film is subverting or outright making fun of genre tropes. Nowhere is this done better than with Domino, whose superpower is luck. “That’s not very cinematic,” quips Wade during their first meeting, but her coming out of every catastrophic event with nary a scratch is a great takedown of all the action and superhero films that don’t let their heroes get as much as a scraped knee. I also couldn’t help but think that the hiring of his hero squad (the introduction of X Force) was a takedown of how Apocalypse just took whatever mutants he came across first in X Men Apocalypse. And when they are doing something rather formulaic, the film makes an effort to point it out. Clever, or lazy writing? I guess it depends on if you’ve grown tired of his attitude or not.
As we all know by now, the main attraction to Deadpool is his wise ass attitude and the constant breaking of the fourth wall. His antics here are a very mixed bag. There are points where it works (signing his autograph as Ryan Reynolds) but just as many times when it falls flat (remarking on the first film’s box office take). It got to a point where I thought there was too much irreverence and I just wanted the story to continue without the constant interruptions. That not only speaks to the tiresome nature of the constant parade of jokes, but also to the strength of the story and how surprisingly heartfelt it was. And that’s where I worry about the longevity of this character. There was enough going on here that the story worked on its own without all of the snarky remarks. If they trimmed the fat and maybe focused a little more on some of the other characters, this could have been better than the first. As it stands it’s an enjoyable ride, with enough characters and possibility to keep this franchise going if it’s handled right. Of all the subversions Deadpool is known for, a tale that tugs a bit on the heartstrings might be the biggest of them all.