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Categories: Movie Reviews

Matthew Wilson’s spoilerific review of the hotly anticipated Deadpool 2 finds much of what made the first film so popular, which may be its biggest problem.

I wasn’t completely sold by the first Deadpool, finding it a good comedy but lacking as an overall film. By comparison Deadpool 2 has a stronger narrative, but ironically the jokes come up short. Maybe after watching Logan and Infinity War  change the comic-book movie landscape Deadpool’s immaturity doesn’t sit right anymore.

After two years of working as a mercenary, Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) has built himself a reputation. On his anniversary with Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), Wade fails to kill a notorious drug dealer who attacks Wade’s apartment, killing Vanessa in the process.

Found by Colossus (Stefan Kapičić) after a failed suicide attempt, Wade is given a second chance to join the X-Men. While still ambivalent, Wade joins them on a mission to restrain Russell Collins (Jullian Dennison), a young orphan mutant currently in the middle of a stand-off with the police.

Things go sideways when Wade realises the orphanage staff are abusing Russell, resulting in the two of them getting arrested. At the same time, mutant Cable (Josh Brolin) arrives from the future looking for Russell, still seeking redemption; Wade decides to save Russell, but to do so he needs a team to take on Cable.

There’s a stronger story here with Wade’s despondence over Vanessa’s death putting him into a darker place and that driving him to save Russell. The first film failed because it was a too-simple tale of Wade seeking revenge on Francis. Here, there’s a much stronger forward momentum with a second-act Convoy Attack making up for the lull that hurt the first film. It’s not perfect, and the ending slows down a little too much, but the end credit scenes make up for that.

Obviously, this being a comedy, you’re not expecting defined character arcs but more could’ve been done with some characters. Baccarin has little to do after her death (though she still factors into the film) but her and Reynolds have solid chemistry in the time they share. Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrande) feels like an extended cameo and really doesn’t do anything until the last act. Similarly Colossus feels underutilised until the final act, thankfully he gets a pretty decent fight scene but it’s strange that two established characters aren’t factored into the story better.

If I had to guess, I’d say they were sidelined to make room for the newer characters. One who stood out most is Domino (Zazie Beetz), a mutant with the ability to change luck. With such an undefined concept as ‘luck’ being her superpower, Wade is constantly calling her out but Domino runs with it because she knows how good she is. It’s fun to see someone so calm about their abilities, she’s a definite standout and hopefully has a place in the series going forward.

Dennison has a great comic timing as Russell and fits in perfectly with Deadpool’s humour but with an antagonistic streak that hint why Cable is after him. It’s a fun role but played with enough charm that even when he starts towards a darker path you still want Russell to come out clean.

Coming off his incredible turn as Thanos, Brolin takes on Cable, and it’s hard not to compare Cable to Thanos with Cable coming off short by comparison. But he’s still a good villain. His uber-serious approach clashes well with Wade’s irreverent nature and hopefully going forward Brolin can take a straight-man approach to reel in some of Wade’s craziness.

Speaking of Wade, Reynolds is still a natural in the red suit. Even so, I wasn’t a huge fan of Wade here. He lacked the right amount of charm to pull off being an ass. This could be because the loss of Vanessa has hurt him significantly, but the fact he’s still cracking wise suggests he’s not as hurt as the film wants him to be. Part of what made Reynolds work in the first film was the dual role of Wade and Pool, as Wade he carried the film’s heart with Vanessa while as Deadpool he carried it’s guts. Without Vanessa to separate them, both Wade and Deadpool become harder to distinguish between. Reynolds still nails the character, more so with this darker version. It’s just the darker version isn’t one I wanted to spend time with.

Directing duties fall to David Leitch and straight away you can tell that action wise he’s a great choice. From the opening montage of Deadpool’s world-wide adventures, set to Dolly Parton, you can see how well Leitch understands the character and, from there, the set-pieces just improve; including an all-out prison-brawl and a final act that carries more emotional weight than expected. The aforementioned Convoy Attack is easily the highlight, it’s funny, it’s insanely action-packed, it puts everyone at their best (with Domino’s skills being particularly strong) and ends with a surprise cameo making a big impact.

Unfortunately, the jokes here don’t match up to the first film. There’s going to be hit-and-miss with comedies, and there are still good hits here (including another solid opening credit gag):  ‘Shirtcocking’ and the parachuting scene (though, personally, it was just five different punchlines to the same joke). Honestly, too many jokes were just references to the Marvel and DC universes and I fully expected that but it just felt constant. They’d just point out what other studios have done and expected that to be funny. The genuinely funny moments were there but the scarcity of them made them stand out as few and far between.

Maybe I’m living in a different world than Deadpool now. Seeing films like Logan, Infinity War and even the Dark Knight Trilogy and watching how mature comic-book movies can be, Deadpool 2 doesn’t hit the same way. I still liked the film, and it proves itself better than the first. I want to believe there’s room in this world for something as mad-cap as Deadpool, and Reynolds has given his all to the character, I’m just not seeing the funny side anymore.

Deadpool 2 is out now in cinemas.

Matthew Wilson

Operating out of Livingston, Scotland, Matthew Wilson has been self-publishing reviews since 2012 - amassing over 1000 and climbing on his personal account at MovieFanCentral- and has produced a number of short films for his Graded Unit at Edinburgh College. Matthew hopes to start writing and directing his own productions one day, having written several unpublished scripts for film and television.

Posted on Jul 1, 2018

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