It feels like only yesterday that longtime comic book fans were heading to their local cinema, heart in mouth, hoping that Deadpool was allowed to be, well, Deadpool and be done justice. That was back in 2016 and we ultimately had nothing to worry about. And now, the Merc with a Mouth is back for another round of action – only this time, he’s joined by some friends.
As the film opens, we find a downbeat Wade Wilson lost and simply wanting to be put out of his misery. Desperate to end it all, a chance encounter with Julian Dennison’s Russell alters Pooly-D’s mindset and gives him something to fight for. You see, Russell is a troubled soul who has had a tough ride to date; Wade seeing a lot of himself in the youngster. And like Wade, Russell, too, has certain abilities. The only problem is, Josh Brolin’s time-travelling, metal-armed, red-eyed badass Cable has turned up from a desolate future intent on killing Russell. With his back against the wall and having had his ass handing to him by Cable, Deadpool is forced to assemble a team: X-Force.
To veer any further into plot details would be heading towards spoiler territory, and we’re going to do our best to stay away from any sorts of spoilers in this review. Let’s just say that when we caught up with Stefan Kapicic – Colossus – before the film’s release, he warned us that there were plenty of surprises ahead, and he was certainly not wrong. Be it Easter eggs, breaking the fourth wall, shots at other superhero movies (both Marvel and DC), or simply outright shocks and surprises, Deadpool 2 is brimming with more than enough fan-pleasing spots to keep even the most ardent of fans on their toes. But away from those ‘easy please’ moments, Deadpool 2 really is so much more.
Again without lingering particularly on the plot, this is a film that takes the balls-out adventurous nature of its predecessor and amps every possible angle up to 11 (hey, Negasonic Teenage Warhead). While many will be overjoyed to see the violence even more brutal, the language even less suitable for your dear old granny, and the nods and winks even more grin-inducing, most importantly Deadpool 2 has even more heart and a stronger narrative than the fantastic first feature. This time out, the stakes feel even higher, and Deadpool 2 really is a roller coast of emotions, from all-out elaborate carnage, to genuine laugh-out-load moments, to fist-pumping moments of sheer awesomeness (the assembling and deploying of X-Force is a beauty to behold), to legitimately emotional beats (no, you’re tearing up!). Simply put, Deadpool 2 has somehow managed to take what worked so well with Tim Miller’s Deadpool and equal that, if not top it.
In terms of performances, Ryan Reynolds is obviously the headline act here, and he slices, shoots and quips his way through a multitude of moments. But the tale at play this time out allows Reynolds to explore a more serious Wade who is questioning his motive and mission in life. Don’t get us wrong, this is no deadpan drama, just we get to see the slightest glimpse at Wade Wilson when the smiles, wisecracks and bullets are put to one side. Similarly, the returning players of Morena Baccarin as Vanessa, TJ Miller as Weasel, Karan Soni as Dopinder, and Leslie Uggams as Bland Al all pick up right where they left off the first time around, managing to be pitch-perfect for the job at hand. For Stefan Kapicic’s Colossus, we get to see a little more from this most beloved of X-Men members here, and Colossus has a pivotal part to play in helping Wade out of his rut. Sadly, Brianna Hildebrand’s Negasonic Teenage Warhead does ultimately feel a little short-changed when it comes to screen time, although with such an array of new characters introduced that was always going to be a likely outcome. Still, when we do see Negasonic, she's just as awesome as the first time around, and now she's joined by Shioli Kutsuna's adorable "Yukio".
Now onto those other, key newcomers. Man, Zazie Beetz absolutely kills it as probability-driven mutant Domino. Beetz wears the bold and brash swagger of Domino like a second skin, stealing the movie whenever she’s on screen – regardless of how Wade may poke fun at her abilities. Then there’s Josh Brolin as Cable, the time-traveller who soon finds himself butting heads with Deadpool and later X-Force. Brolin brings the gravitas and military-esque discipline needed for the role, and he is the perfect straight man to the overall humour of the action so often playing out around him. And lastly, Julian Dennison deserves a whole bunch of praise for his performance as the tormented, ridiculously powerful young mutant at the centre of this tale. While he came on to the radar of many for his turn in Taika Waititi’s stunning Hunt for the Wilderpeople, the young New Zealander has taken that momentum and ran with it, putting in another stellar performance that helps to show off a little more of his range this time out. Similarly, John Wick's David Leitch increases his stock, seamlessly taking over the director's chair from Tim Miller while also managing to put his own stamp on the picture. Leitch and the returning writing team of Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, and Ryan Reynolds took what worked so well in Deadpool and evolved that in a way that just makes this feel bigger and better in terms of the comedy, action, and the consequences at stake.
All in all, as alluded to, Deadpool 2 matches if not betters its predecessor – which is quite the impressive feat. With plenty of genuine laughs, balls-out action sequences, and a whole lot of emotion and heart, this is the sequel that you’d hoped for. Oh, and be sure to stick around throughout the credits, for Deadpool 2 has one of the greatest mid-credits sequences we’ve seen to date.
DEADPOOL 2 / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: DAVID LEITCH / SCREENPLAY: RHETT REESE, RYAN REYNOLDS, PAUL WERNICK / STARRING: RYAN REYNOLDS, ZAZIE BEETS, JOSH BROLIN, JULIAN DENNISON, STEFAN KAPICIC, MORENA BACCARIN / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Expected Rating: 8 out of 10