“Fuck Wolverine. First, he rides my coattails with the R-rating, and then that hairy motherfucker ups the ante by dying! What a dick! Well, guess what, Wolvie? I’m dying in this movie.”
Well that’s a way to start a movie, and in this film’s first moments, we’re assured two things by our protagonist: 1. Things will be bigger this time around and 2. Wolverine is an asshole for leaving us.
“Deadpool 2,” the follow-up to the hit 2016 adaptation of the pottymouth Marvel character, follows Wade Wilson/Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) as he assembles a team of fellow rogue mutants he names “X-Force” to help protect 14-year-old mutant Russell (Julian Dennison) from time-travelling soldier Cable (Josh Brolin).
The first film was such a success in faithfully bringing the Merc with a Mouth to life that any sequel was going to have a high bar to reach. This film found a way to reach it.
These twists are effective in helping the film overcome an at times meandering story with some deeper character development that’s akin to other recent comic book hits, such as “Black Panther” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.”
But even if the story didn’t break new ground with its characters, the degree of self-awareness in the film reached an even higher level of insanity than its predecessor that brought Deadpool to life in a more faithful fashion than the first.
Not only does he break the fourth wall more often than in the first film, but the jokes themselves poke fun at the film and other characters from both their cinematic and comic book counterparts.
One notable example is newcomer Domino, played by Zazie Beetz in a charming and hilarious performance. In the comics, the character has the mutant ability to psychically manipulate luck in her favor by making improbable things happen by giving herself good results and her enemies unlucky results.
Given that every “X-Men” films’ mutants have had powers easily seen on screen, Domino’s are certainly tougher to display. The movie takes full advantage of this as Deadpool loves to argue with her about the existence of her powers, pointing out that luck isn’t a superpower and definitely isn’t cinematic.
Of course, in pure meta brilliance, Deadpool’s criticisms come as Domino uses her powers to effortlessly invade a prison convoy truck and hijack it — all before Deadpool can finish his thoughts, leaving the Merc with a Mouth speechless (for one brief moment in his life).
In addition to upping the humor, the film does what many good sequels have done in the past, and doubled down on the stylish and thrilling action for even more gleefully gory sequences, including killing off a few heroes that will certainly leave audiences in shock.
The performances in the film are also stellar for the majority of the ensemble cast, with Reynolds delivering the best performance of his career in his second outing — okay, technically third, but we won’t count the movie whose name shall not be spoken — as the titular hero.
Brolin delivers an empathetic initial antagonist in comic-favorite Cable with some grounded motivations and Dennison capitalizes on the charm as Russell as he delivered in “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” to further propel himself into stardom.
Overall, ‘Deadpool 2’ does what many good comic book movies have done and choses to focus on character development versus story, and with even more brilliant meta humor and ample gore, it does well to stand on equal ground with its stellar predecessor.