‘I’ ON CULTURE
The really good news is that Deadpool 2 takes itself just as seriously as it did in the first one. That is, not at all. The mercenary with a mouth riffs on a lot of subjects, particularly other superhero films, and refuses (most of the time) to take itself all that seriously. Director David Leitch knows his audience — people who have seen so many superhero films that they enjoy making fun of the genre — and he gives them what they want.
The movie begins with a riff on the Logan/Wolverine story (with a late post-credits cameo that is a hoot) and then proceeds to use a lot of the same story. Wade Wilson/Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) is finally getting some happiness with his gorgeous girlfriend Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) when a group of thugs ruins everything. After a few suicide attempts, he is rescued by his own pals from the X-Men, Colossus (voice of Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) as well as Negasonic’s girlfriend Yukio (Shioli Kutsuna). There are some riffs about lesbianism, but Deadpool actually has some sort of adorable bits with Yukio, who turns out to also be an X-Man.
To continue the Logan riff, Wolverine is asked to help a troubled teenager, Russell (Julian Dennison), who can throw fire with his hands and attacks the home where he has been sent for help. Deadpool learns that the boy has been abused, attacks the pedophiles and is sent, along with the boy, to a special prison where both wear special collars that stop superpowers (including Wilson’s ability to fight cancer). However, time traveler mercenary Cable (Josh Brolin) attacks, and in the fight, Deadpool loses the collar. A lot more happens, with a few surprising twists to get the movie to a satisfying conclusion.
The filmmakers use over the top violence, although most of it is cartoonish. Domino (Zazie Beets) whose superpower is luck, is great as she causes incredible destruction that she always can walk away from. If an explosion sends her flying, she’ll land on a soft surface. For most of the others, the supposed damage they can take is awesome, and yet the heroes usually just walk away.
The cast is excellent. Reynolds handles the humor and the action really well, and even mocks himself and his work. Baccarin is gorgeous and holds her own in the comedy.
Brolin, the most important character after our lead, plays the part really well. He is not really quite a villain, despite his battles with our hero. He is dour and tough. It is hard to play being anything but a nasty guy when your target is a young teen, but he manages it. And he manages to play two superhero villains in a month; he used computer generated imaging, but was also the person behind Thanos in the Avengers film. I liked Dennison a lot in that tricky teen part; hard to like someone who only wants to kill. Beets is a worthy addition to the superhero universe, and Karan Soni as the more or less reliable cabbie sidekick Dopinder earned some good laughs.
There is plenty of bad language, lots of talk about sex, an outright glee in going after pedophiles — and an actual focus on whether or not having a basic morality is worthwhile. The discussion of abuse with Russell is really serious and difficult, but a strong element in what Wilson describes in his narration as a “family movie.” Another big point is that the very name X-Men is sexist, which Deadpool tries to overcome with his X-Force. Domino does note that it is derivative.
The movie was great fun. In an era where we get one superhero film or another every couple of months, this is a welcome balm. I wish Deadpool would have been in Avengers so we could see whether Iron Man or Dr. Strange got after him before Thanos did.
There are some very cute bits during and after the credits and a few cameos that proved very amusing. See the film. You will laugh — hard.