Directed by: David Leitch
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Zazie Beetz, Morena Baccarin
27 months ago Deadpool was more than a surprise hit; it took the comic book movie world completely by surprise. With a sequel confirmed before opening week was even over, there were a dozen reasons that Ryan Reynolds squeezing his pert behind back into that red spandex should have been a bad idea. Most of those reasons have titles like The Hangover: Part 2, or Horrible Bosses 2. Sequels to massive hit comedies that do more than fall flat with their sequels, they make most people forget just how good the first one was. The creation of Deadpool was already the stuff of cinema legend; with more than a little faith being put in Reynolds’ ability to carry the comedy through a red mask. Could he possibly be up to the task of carrying it into being a bonafide franchise?
Two years after the events of the first Deadpool film; we join Wade Wilson (Reynolds) back working with his merry band of mercenaries jet setting around the globe cashing in his gold cards on the international criminal types. Sex traffickers, Yakuza, drug kingpins; you name it, he’s taking his sword to them and seemingly enjoying himself for the most part.
As they are prone to do, things go badly sideways for our favourite mass murderer and a series of not-so-good events puts him firmly into the life of Russell; a fourteen year-old with the delightfully stupid but self-explanatory mutant name “Firefist”. Along with returning X-Men Colossus (Stefan Kapičić) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), Wilson must work to save the angry teen not only from himself and the self-destructive path he seems intent on walking down; but from the robotic grips of time-travelling super-soldier Cable (Josh Brolin) as well.
Trying desperately to do the right thing for everyone involved, Deadpool can’t help but rack up the body count as he tries to make it through yet another action heavy adventure.
The first few seconds from the 20th Century Fox title card fading will let you know exactly what you’re in for with Deadpool 2. As returning writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick – along with Reynolds – continue with their shots at some of their favourite targets from the first film. These digs could easily be considered low hanging fruit, but getting this atmosphere setting scene in there early, without retreading old jokes instantly leave you comfortable with your decision to see this sequel. As the scene in front of you inevitably explodes and our favourite mercenary delivers his first lines, Deadpool 2 becomes the cinematic equivalent of a comfy pair of shoes. That someone may have borrowed to kill someone in.
There is a big hairy BUT here though. And that’s the sad fact that there is no way that DP2 can be an enormous surprise hit. It has a mammoth task ahead of it just living up to its fan’s expectations. So the film needs to, literally and figuratively, bring out the big guns.
Through blind luck and a twist of fate, the departure of director Tim Miller (who had made his directorial debut with the first film) left the door wide open for the sequel’s ace-in-the-hole. John Wick co-director and Atomic Blonde helmer David Leitch not only embraced Deadpool’s sensibilities, but brought his own style to the action on screen. Not least of all, the green and blue filters he likes to put in his films.
If the opening seconds showed you the level of comedy you could expect from our film, the opening few minutes gives you, in bloody and brilliant fashion, everything you need to know about the action you can expect over the next two hours. Bringing his own, very recognisable, style to the the on-screen action, Leitch’s fingerprints are all over Deadpool 2 and this sequel is far better for it.
The comic book elements allow the director to have some outlandish fun with his on-screen conflicts – at one point using a still attached appendage in a way I don’t think has been done before – but there’s a wince-inducing realness to the violence on screen that gets turned up to eleven and left there. But it’s not gratuitous, and fans of both Deadpool and the director’s previous work will not only appreciate the escalation in the insanity, but also the opportunity it gives the comedy to shine just a little brighter than maybe some would have expected.
John Wick Composer Tyler Bates takes over musical duties from Junkie XL this time around and the veteran musician works wonderfully well with David Leitch, with the pair coming together to bring us some splendid music that compliments the film perfectly. Yet another OST you won’t be able to help rushing to your phone to get for the drive home.
As with the first film, Deadpool 2 has a surprising amount of heart buried somewhere in the buckets of blood and pages of dick jokes. This time around it’s not just Wade that gets a story that gets you emotionally involved and as little as some of it may be, the fleshed out characters are something that fans will appreciate as this film sets out to head into full franchise mode.
With a list of support characters too massive and/or spoiler filled to mention here, Deadpool 2 sufficiently ups the ante for fans of the first and surpasses all those lofty expectations fuelled by years of cinematic myth and dogma. With Brolin’s Cable a surprise stand out performance, Zazie Beetz’s Domino coming from nowhere to blow the roof off the place and Hildebrand’s Negasonic yet again chewing up any scene she’s a party to, you can rest assured that while the comedy does risk ageing quickly in places, the second outing of The Merc with the Mouth is just as funny, just as entertaining and just as equal opportunities with it’s abuse as it’s predecessor.
I laughed, I cried, I laughed a whole load more. Deadpool 2 is a perfectly formed thing of beauty.
Deadpool 2 is now on general release across the UK.