Director: David Leitch
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Julian Dennison, Morena Baccarin, Brianna Hildebrand, Zazie Beetz, Stefan Kapicic, Leslie Uggams, Karan Soni, Bill Skarsgard, Shioli Kutsuna
Words – Rhiannon Topham
Don’t bother watching Deadpool 2 if you dislike Ryan Reynolds.
That may sound obvious, but this time his credit as a writer is such a thoroughly vapid attempt to ingratiate himself with the superhero coterie that the osmosis of he and his character seems complete. In his return to the anti-hero many have lauded as his “perfect” role, Reynolds somehow manages to balance his trademark zingy ripostes with forgettable puerility and tedious action.
The film opens with a figurine of Wolverine impaled on a tree branch, an image befitting of the calamitous narrative about to unfold. Deadpool, or Wade Wilson as people know him in real life, is about to blow himself to smithereens in his apartment and get a one-up on Wolvy by “dying in this one too”.
Rewind a bit to Deadpool’s catalogue of international slayings, and, via a veritable hodgepodge of cultural stereotypes, it transpires that its the tragic demise of his beloved Vanessa at the hands of some vengeful criminals which sends Wade into a drunken downward spiral of despair.
When he’s rescued from self-destruction by X-Men alum Colossus, Deadpool crosses paths with Russell (Julian Dennison), a young mutant with pyrotechnic powers. Josh Brolin’s time traveling Cable interjects all prospects of a flourishing friendship, however, when he arrives intending to kill Russell and put an end to his future villainy before it can even begin.
Several twists and turns lead us to a climactic final scene worthy of all the tear-jerking, heart-wrenching cliches you’d expect to find in a film sequel trying to win over everyone who might’ve been offended by the last one.
This second outing parades many of the standout features of the first film, but exasperatingly so.
Self-aware opening credits: check.
Reynolds/Wade Wilson/Deadpool delivers puerile narration and quick witted jabs at modern culture, especially the superhero movie genre: check.
Gratuitous violence eroticised by slow motion: check.
Disregard for the fourth wall: check.
All of these things help the first Deadpool triumph as a genre-bending dissection of popular culture, but this time they’re almost… soporific.
To its credit, the story actually gets better as it unfolds – a rarity for Hollywood blockbusters, particularly superhero movies.
It’s not an unamusing effort in comparison to the first Deadpool, but much of the humour falls flat or is so overstuffed with comic relief that the scenes intended as serious come across as caustic. Even Josh Brolin couldn’t save this vanity project from its own overblown absurdity.