#REVIEW: “DEADPOOL 2”
Review by David Baldwin for Mr. Will Wong
The marketing for Deadpool 2 has been nothing short of amazing. The Trailers. The Social Media clips. That bonkers Music Video featuring Céline Dion(!) and a dancing Deadpool. Every single element has been on-point and has only fueled anticipation for the R-rated Sequel. Suffice it to say, Deadpool 2 arrives in theatres this week with large stiletto heels to fill.
After a lengthy prologue, Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) lands himself in a high-tech prison with Russell (Julian Dennison), a teenage mutant who cannot control his angst or his super powers. Deadpool initially wants nothing to do with him, but when time-traveling mutant Cable (Josh Brolin) appears with the intention of murdering the boy, Deadpool changes his tune and springs into action. But he might need some help.
From the very beginning, Deadpool 2 sets its sights on being bigger and better than its predecessor. It piles on a plethora of Fourth Wall-breaking jokes, shockingly vulgar language, obscenely violent action scenes and some clever meta references to other Comic Book Films (including some direct shots at reigning box office champ Avengers: Infinity War). It even finds a way to spoil the ending of last year’s Oscar-nominated Logan – multiple times. Most of these moments are just as outrageous and wildly entertaining as you are expecting, but others drag-on far too long. Screenwriters/Executive Producers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, alongside Reynolds himself, have crafted a Screenplay that seems to rarely know when to draw the line. It works for the most part, but comes off as self-indulgent far too often. Worse, it has a nasty habit of letting the jokes ruin the Film’s chaotic momentum.
That momentum is driven squarely by Director David Leitch (of John Wick and Atomic Blonde fame), who gives each moment in Deadpool 2 a sense of immediacy and visual panache totally missing from the original Film. He also amps-up the scope of the Picture considerably – each action scene is increasingly more complicated and elaborate than the next. And adding more hand-to-hand combat only intensifies how crazy some of these sequences quickly become. Leitch has not become a veteran Director quite yet, but his work here is confident and striking.
And while the Visual and Makeup Effects have also improved (save for the horrid and unfinished introduction to Zazie Beetz’s character Domino’s super powers), the Film stutters in its overall tonal structure. What made the original Deadpool so enjoyable was how lax and ridiculously tongue-in-cheek it was. In Deadpool 2, the Film wants to be just as blisteringly-funny, but then turns on a dime into something that’s dead-serious. As a result, the Plot takes a few odd, surprising and downright shocking turns, with very few moments sticking their intended landing. Reynolds’ hilarious narration and observations, a highlight from the first Film, keep starting and stopping with large swaths of the Film featuring no voiceover whatsoever. Even Deadpool as a character seems more emotionally stunted here, as do Cable and Russell. The Film has its reasons for doing this, but never seems able to crack the right tone needed to balance the Comedy with the Drama. It just seems content to feel as abrupt and off-putting as possible.
Deadpool 2 only further proves that Reynolds was born to play Deadpool. He slips back into the character with ease, and his wry delivery will make you instantly remember why you love or hate Wade Wilson. Reynolds remains committed, even at the most inane of moments, and does his best to stay consistent through the Film’s hasty tonal shifts. Brolin does equally well as Cable, looking and acting every bit the part of this legendary Comic Book Bad-ass. He has a fire in his eyes from the start (both literally and figuratively), and does a terrific job playing the straight foil to Reynold’s Deadpool. Beetz is excellent as Domino, shining through the dick-swinging contest that threatens to overshadow her. She gets some of the Film’s best lines, and has a blast kicking-ass and taking names. She has a strong presence from her first scene right through to her last, and the Film could have only benefitted from using her more.
Deadpool 2 is an ambitious Sequel that admirably tries to not be a carbon copy of its Predecessor. It plays into what made that Film so successful, but also shifts into very different territory. It works in some instances and falls completely flat in others. But this Sequel is a noble effort, and one that still manages to be outrageously entertaining through its flaws. Reynolds, Brolin and Beetz are all great in their roles and will leave you longing to see what adventures this X-Force will get into next.
And yes, the rumours are true. The mid-credits Sequences may be among the best and most satisfying scenes of their type. So make sure you wait until the lights come up before running out for the post-Film Chimichangas.
20th Century Fox Canada release DEADPOOL 2 on Friday, May 18, 2018.