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24 May 2018

Chaos and Cameos: 'Deadpool 2' Can't Match the Original, but It's Still a Lot of Fun

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A scene from Deadpool 2. A scene from Deadpool 2.

The happily profane superhero party continues with Deadpool 2, a sequel that brings the anarchistic spirit of the original—although it doesn’t blaze any new trails.

Ryan Reynolds, who has experienced a career explosion thanks to this franchise (and, of course, his undeniable talents), continues to break the fourth wall, Ferris Bueller-style. While the gimmick definitely leads to some good laughs, it does get to a point where it feels a little too cute and repetitive. He winks at the audience so much that he must have some severe eyelid-muscle strains. He’s gonna have an eyeball pop out.

The film starts with Deadpool dejectedly blowing himself up, complete with a severed arm giving the finger; the film then goes into flashback mode as Wade Wilson cleverly and smarmily tells us why he did such a thing. We also get a repeat of the “Wiseass Opening Credits” gag that got the original off to such a good start. This time, instead of Juice Newton’s “Angel of the Morning,” the credits roll to a brand-new ballad from Celine Dion, so the stakes have definitely risen.

Directed by David Leitch (one of the guys who directed John Wick), the film definitely ups the ante on the action front, with gunfights and swordfights that have some major zip to them. There’s no question: Leitch can more than handle a fight scene. He and his writers also provide a worthy Deadpool adversary in the time-traveling Cable (Josh Brolin, having a helluva summer), a half-cyborg mound of angst with a human side. Brolin has cornered the market on “deep” villains this summer, with this and his emotive Thanos.

Much of the movie involves Deadpool forming X-Force and becoming an X-Men trainee. Deadpool’s first mission with his X-Force is a screamer, especially due to the participation of Peter (Rob Delaney), a normal, khakis-wearing guy with a killer mustache who joins the force because he saw an ad and thought it might be cool. Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) and Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) return, while Julian Dennison climbs aboard as Russell/Firefist, an angry young mutant Deadpool takes under his wing.

Juggernaut is the film’s other major villain, and Leitch pulls off some fun casting for the nasty-giant-mutant role. Watch the movie without knowing who is playing him, and see if you can guess. I bet you can’t!

Deadpool 2 does have some of the funniest cameos I’ve ever seen in a movie, and I will not give them away. Some of them are blink-and-you’ll-miss; others involve heavy makeup; and one involves a group of players that garnered the movie’s biggest laugh out of yours truly. If they continue with Deadpool movies—and they most certainly will, be they Deadpool or X-Force flicks—they must stick with this particular gimmick. It kills.

As for Deadpool constantly breaking character and the fourth wall, it works about half the time in this installment. Some of the jokes fall flat—sometimes because they’ve already played out in the marketing. The credits scene might be the best part of the movie, with some killer gags that, again, will go unspoiled here. There are also a lot of Wolverine jokes, and one half-funny Basic Instinct nod (one of the film’s least inspired moments).

Deadpool 2 is a hard R thanks to a steady stream of intermittently hilarious profanity and constant gore. Deadpool’s healing capabilities come in very handy this time out, with him riddled with bullets, being torn in half, blown up, etc.

Whatever you do, don’t look at the IMDB cast list before you see this movie, because it gives away the cameos, and the surprise of those cameos offers much of the fun in this worthy, but slightly inferior sequel.

I’m not sure what the future for Deadpool holds, but the film’s ending provides a lot of opportunities. Let’s hope it includes lots more Brolin, and fewer Basic Instinct jokes.

Deadpool 2 is now playing at theaters across the valley.

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