Hi everyone! Sorry for the long wait since my last post, but I’ve been quite busy recently and I wanted to take some time to make sure I actually saw some new movies to talk to you about. So here goes.
I’m sure it goes without saying that most people feel a sequel that surpasses its original movie is a rarity, if not an impossibility. But I truly think I’ve found one that does in the follow-up to 2016’s smash hit Deadpool–surprise, it’s Deadpool 2!
After establishing himself as an international assassin for hire (busting only bad guys of course), Wade Wilson has finally found happiness again as he and his girlfriend Vanessa agree to start a family together. But it’s all cruelly ripped away in a flash as a bungled job results in Vanessa’s death, and a distraught Wade contemplates–and unsuccessfully attempts–suicide, ignoring his friends on the X-Men and their desire to help him become a better person. But Wade finds a new purpose in protecting Russell, a young mutant with explosive powers and a painful past, from the time-traveling cyborg soldier Cable, who’s out to kill Russell before he can murder Cable’s family in the future. The ensuing adventure leads Deadpool on an epic and epically funny crusade to save Russell’s soul before it’s too late–and in the process possibly saving his own.
Look, I really, really liked the first Deadpool, but even I’ll admit that there wasn’t that much to the movie. The main joy of watching it was seeing it violate the generally family-friendly tropes of superhero films and listen to the main character’s fourth wall-breaking, constantly inappropriate but hilarious quips as he engaged in gruesome hand-to-hand combat. Sure, the Wade/Vanessa romance was there (incidentally one of the best on-screen love stories I think I’ve ever witnessed, truly), but mostly Deadpool was a revenge story like Kill Bill, Django Unchained, or something like that–it was about Wade on a quest to avenge himself on the person who wronged him. It was also about fan service, and giving audiences a real Deadpool to enjoy as compared to the toned-down, highly altered, and frankly crappy versions of the character done in the past.
Deadpool 2, however, is a different story. I won’t lie, I was frequently moved to tears by the emotional depth of the film, which strange as it may sound is quite overpowering. The Wade/Vanessa romance gets so much more powerful after Vanessa dies–weird, but true because you see how devastated he is without her and it’s heartbreaking. It shows that while he may be the famous “Merc with a Mouth” and incorrigible rogue that we all know and love, Deadpool is in the end still just a human being like us, even if he’s an incredibly flawed and strange one. That’s something his comic books never really got at, but that’s needed for a feature film to feel real, and Ryan Reynolds once again delivered to prove that Deadpool is the role he was born to play. He was still funny, but the scenes where his inner pain showed were incredibly powerful and real, and that made the funny parts even funnier, if that makes sense.
The rest of the cast is, of course, in stellar form. I mean, I was a bit put off that basically all the members of the X-Force team, especially characters like Shatterstar who were so cool in the comics, bit the dust about ten minutes after they were introduced, but they weren’t the point of the movie so I was willing to overlook it. The good ones made it, anyway, and by good ones I mostly mean Zazie Beetz as Domino–who I think was the real breakout star of the film. She stole pretty much every scene she was in with her just completely amoral yet charmingly carefree attitude and casual badassery–even if the whole “luck” superpower is actually incredibly overpowered and ill-defined. I look forward to seeing her in future X-Men movies. Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead were back in style too, with the latter being involved in a same sex relationship (yay for great representations of diversity!) and the former showing meaningful character development since the first film in not so much having a stick up his backside. Very welcome.
Finally, Josh Brolin once again proves he can do it all in his turn as the “villain” of the movie, Cable–who isn’t really that bad of a guy once you get to know him. The beauty of his performance was in the subtle things. Sure, it was awesome watching him and Deadpool go toe to toe physically and verbally abuse each other, but it was clear especially later in the film that despite their differences, they have a lot in common. If Deadpool 3 becomes a thing, I truly hope that it will be a buddy-cop movie featuring both Deadpool and Cable together–their team-ups in the comics were awesome, and I feel a film with these two actors bouncing off each other would be nothing short of amazing.
Sure, there was still a lot of shameless fan service in this movie–from the appearance of iconic characters like Cable and the Juggernaut (!!!) to the brief glimpse of the actual X-Men team and even the references to Wolverine–but the things that made Deadpool 2 such a powerful sequel was that it did a lot to build on the world established by its predecessor, something a lot of movies fail to do. It showed Deadpool himself as a human being who was relatable to the other characters for reasons outside simply having powers like them–his death scene at the end really choked me up, even though I was laughing through my tears, and I can’t have been the only one. The way Cable then chose to change his ways and save Deadpool’s life based on that was also incredibly touching, and it was clear that though he denied it, Cable feels he’s found a kindred spirit in Deadpool and wants to keep him around.
The core issue I had with Deadpool 2 is that this movie is incredibly ambitious–there’s a ton going on at once, if we’re being honest, and it’s a lot to jam into a two-hour film–and as a consequence, more than once the story threatened to buckle under the tremendous weight of all its elements. It lead to some rather annoying continuity errors, like what the nature of Cable’s time travel is. I mean, if Cable went back to stop Wade from getting shot, how come there weren’t two Cables in the past? Is this movie following the Back to the Future theory of time travel, where you have to be careful not to run into your alternate self, or the Seven Days model where objects from the future replace their counterparts in the past. If it’s the latter, I don’t buy it–I’ve always found that theory doesn’t hold a lot of water. I get that explaining theories of time-travel isn’t the point of this movie, but still. Also, why did Russell get sent to the Icebox with Wade? From what I could tell, before Deadpool shot anyone the authorities were perfectly content to let Russell stay at the boarding school–one cop even proposed sending him to the prison but was shouted down by multiple people. So how did Deadpool’s actions change what it meant for Russell, who didn’t do anything new? It really bothered me. Oh, and what was with NTW and Yukio fixing the time-travel thingy so it works infinitely now? Huh?
I know it sounds petty, but these are the kind of issues that drive me crazy–inconsistencies that could be resolved with a few simple lines of dialogue that wouldn’t take up any time, but that are let go and the movie suffers as a result. It’s an easy fix, really. You’d think people would be more careful about these things.
In addition, while I thought the mid-credits epilogue with Deadpool jumping all around the timeline was hilarious, I was somewhat troubled by the idea that he was able to save Vanessa after all. Again, as this was intended mainly for humor, I’m not sure how canon any of that was, or whether it will have any impact at all on the story going forward. But assuming it did, that means the entirety of Deadpool 2 basically didn’t happen, Vanessa lives, and none of the characters involved get the development that they had in the film. That really bugs me. If and when Deadpool 3 comes out, I’ll be interested to see how this is addressed–as a joke or a real thing that happened. If it’s real, I worry that not only will this movie be invalidated and its truly heart-warming conclusion scrubbed clean, but the writers will have painted themselves into a corner as to what to do next. I think this might be one of those cases like Harry Potter where things were just better left alone.
My Rating: 9/10
Aside from my very minor issues with some storytelling devices, Deadpool 2 proved to be a vast improvement from its first installment, which is already a huge achievement seeing as the first was pretty good. While origin stories like Deadpool usually suffer from underdeveloped characters and lackluster follow-ups, Deadpool 2 will go down in movie history as one of the best sequels ever made. It’s pretty hard to top the combination of gut-busting laughs, explosive action, and genuine emotional moments that this movie lays out for you, even if some elements come off as a bit contrived or unnecessary. Deadpool 2 establishes its own identity even while keeping everything that made the first movie great and building upon it, which is really all you can ask from a good story. In summary: this film is fantastic. Go see it, like, right now.