Back in 2016, after what felt like forever in development hell, Deadpool arrived and changed the comic book movie game. Turning the air blue with his language and red with his katana-wielding ways, Ryan Reynolds’ Wade Wilson was an unapologetic hit. And now, the hotly anticipated follow-up has made its way to home release.
This time out, tragedy strikes early for the titular Merc with a Mouth as he soon finds himself on a journey to find self-worth, to find a sense of being, and to maybe – just maybe – put others before himself for once. A troubled teenage mutant (Julian Dennison) is at the centre of Wade’s tale, as Deadpool ends up in the crosshairs of the time-travelling, tough-as-old-boots Cable (Josh Brolin). With the odds massively stacked against Wilson, he’s left with no choice but to compile his own team to stop the sinister powers at play. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is where X-Force comes to the fore. Sure, Pooly-D may now be well and truly out of the bag, but that doesn’t mean that this isn’t a sequel that’s a whole lot of fun.
With Deadpool 2, we have a sequel that attempts to tell a more nuanced, emotive story than its predecessor. And on that front, it largely succeeds. The Merc with a Mouth is given a dollop of heart and a more distinct mission than in his first outing, and that narrative often finds the insta-gags replaced by more drawn-out, elaborate laughs. That’s not to say there’s not quips aplenty, of course, and there really are some humdingers in there from Chiyonosake and his supporting players. And as ever, it goes without saying that this isn’t a superhero film for young ears ‘n’ eyes. In fact, some may even find it a tad surprising to see the picture given a 15 rating rather than an 18.
Where the performances are concerned, Ryan Reynolds is again on top form in the role he was born to play, but it’s Zazie Beetz as X-Force recruit Domino who steals the show. Bringing an effortless cool to the luck-driven hero, Beetz is a magnetic presence who is the perfect foil to both the crazed erraticism of Deadpool and the po-faced grumblings of Cable. And on the topic of Cable, Josh Brolin is an inspired choice to play the one-eyed, metal-armed time-travelling badass; bringing the gruff gravitas needed for this most stoic and serious of souls. Similarly, young Julian Dennison takes the momentum from his turn in Hunt for the Wilderpeople and runs with it as he delivers a foul-mouthed, angsty mutant who has some serious powers and potential at his fingertips.
If you’re here to find out whether the “Super Duper $@%!#& Cut” of Deadpool 2 has much to offer, the answer is a mixed bag. Certain action sequences have more meat to them, certain insults have extra chuckles to them, and certain characters get a little more time in the spotlight. On the other hand, however, one noticeable difference about this extended version is that it bizarrely replaces some of the musical numbers used in the film’s final third – a decision that may not sit well with some. There is more of what makes Deadpool 2 what it is, mind, just there’s a small price to pay if you choose to watch the longer edit. As for the special features included here, there are an absolute boatload to sink your teeth into. For a start, the audio commentary from Ryan Reynolds, David Leitch, Rhett Reese, and Paul Wernick is a total blast, both informative and hilarious at the same time. One little added bonus that will grab the attention of many a longtime X-fan, though, is the far-too-brief Chess with Omega Red piece in which we get to see a look at one of the X-Men’s most infamous rogues.
Deadpool 2 may not hit quite as many laugh-a-minute moments as the 2016 movie, but it’s still a riot of a comic book picture. Fun, frenetic, and full of F-bombs and decapitations, this sequel takes the all-action approach of its predecessor and splashes a little more humanity and heart on ol’ DP. While the shock ‘n’ sheen of the original cannot be matched here, Deadpool 2 is most certainly a sequel that takes what worked so well in that first film and adds more depth to proceedings.
Special Features: The Super Duper $@%!#& Cut / Audio commentary / Ten featurettes / Deleted/extended scenes / Gag reel / Stills
DEADPOOL 2 / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: DAVID LEITCH / SCREENPLAY: RHETT REESE, PAUL WERNICK, RYAN REYNOLDS / STARRING: RYAN REYNOLDS, JOSH BROLIN, ZAZIE BEETZ, JULIAN DENNISON, MORENA BACCARIN, STEFAN KAPICIC / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW