Does this still work the second time around? The first Deadpool sailed by on shock value and pop culture references, but it’s hard to produce the same feelings of surprise and disgust if the audience knows it’s coming. As for pop culture references, it became much easier/cheaper to get permissions to name drop after Disney started swallowing the industry like a bored Mr. Monopoly. Deadpool 2 wouldn’t be the same without a reference to Frozen, and we expect a shocking decapitation or two, so what makes the sequel different from the original? More sidekicks.
Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) is the same bad-mouthing, fast-healing, sex-addicted mercenary we’ve grown to love in a very complicated way. He’s graduated from neighbourhood assassin to international mercenary. But never mind that; his missions in Hong Kong and appearances in Tokyo – albeit shadowed in mystery and promising tales of revenge – are only included so that Deadpool 2 can appeal to an overseas market. Our antihero returns home and, after a particularly messy incident that mixes gasoline, a lit stove, and a cigarette, Deadpool finds himself at the X-Men mansion. Depressed and a little soar, Deadpool is looking for a purpose. With limited options available, he follows Colossus (Stefan Kapicic), Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), and her adorable girlfriend Yukio (Shioli Kutsuna) on a mission to stop a raging mutant from blowing up his orphanage. Deadpool misunderstands the mission and sides with the mutant kid, Russell (Julian Dennison), which gets them both thrown into a max-security prison. After a few miserable days in lockup, their term is interrupted by a time traveller from the future, Cable (Josh Brolin), who’s determined to kill Russell. The injustice of it all is just too great, and Deadpool takes it upon himself to save Russell no matter what.
His first step is to put together a team. Boy do we love a good team-up. This team consists of an awkward alien, an invisible mutant who may or may not be there, some other guy I’ve already forgotten about, average Peter, and a beautiful, lucky smartass. Only one of them matters. Domino (Zazie Beetz) checks the badass female box effortlessly. Everything works out because luck is on her side. Firing randomly over one shoulder will not only hit her mark it’ll also, somehow, take out the truck that’s pursuing her. She’s a laid back, super icon and I hope she sticks around.
Otherwise, most of our focus is on Deadpool and Cable. Deadpool really hasn’t changed since the first installment. He’s a little mopeyer and a little less vengeful, but he’s always ready for anything with a stack of knives and a stuffed unicorn, even when it may not be the appropriate time. I didn’t find Deadpool 2 quite as funny as the first because I knew what to expect. We’ve moved past, “Can they do that on screen?” and are secretly hoping for new, creative ways to maim our favourite antihero. Characters are still sliced every which way and there’s always a limb or two flying into the foreground, but the wow factor isn’t as strong in the sequel. I feel like I’ve seen it before
At least Cable is new. Josh Brolin is having a great summer. Deadpool isn’t his traditionally vengeful self, so Cable enters to fill that gap. Here is a very solid man ploughing forth with next-level Tony Stark tech, a Winter Soldier arm, and a hardcore fanny pack. Cable is like your friend’s cool dad with a vague career and a cryptic Saturday to-do list. He’s the kind of man you automatically address as “Sir”.
Cable is a little dark, which gives some contrast to Deadpool’s light humour. And by “light” I mean getting ripped in half and then quarrelling with the guy who did the ripping. We’re pretty desensitised these days. Deadpool 2 is an action movie with lots of bullets and very weak safety glass at every turn. I’ve never tried to jump through a window but I imagine there’s a bit more resistance than what I’ve seen on TV. Deadpool 2 is an entertaining action that goes too far, echoes every pop culture joke you were just about to make, and takes great care to make characters disposable. It’s edgy and crude, just the way we like it. Deadpool 2 is more of the same and a solid 6/10.