With the explosion of super heroes raining down on both the big screen and the small screen, it is getting difficult for a title to stand out from the rest. Every season, many films are welcomed with cheers as the heroes win the day. Just three weeks ago, the box office was broken wide open by the reigning king of ensemble super hero movies with Avengers: Infinity War to the stunned silence of fans and one could be forgiven for thinking that was enough daring do for now. One would be wrong. This weekend, another super hero film (don’t call me a hero) debuted with Deadpool 2 to howls of laughter.
Ryan Reynolds lobbied Fox for years to bring the character to the big screen, especially after Fox messed up the character in X-Men part 2 (which Ryan played). Fox was not only not interested, they were so not interested that Ryan had to finance the film himself on a shoestring budget. His efforts paid off in a big way as the first R-rated super hero (stop calling me a hero) movie actually beat box office records and was heralded as a universal fan favorite. It was, in fact, so successful that it garnered studio support for a sequel.
In Deadpool 2 Reynolds resumes the titular role as the “Merc with a Mouth” who routinely breaks the fourth wall and addresses the audience directly. He is continuing his career as an assassin for hire and is effectively eliminating all of his targets, save one. His last target manages to get away and comes after our hero (I said stop calling me that) in a tragic way. Deadpool realizes he must make some changes in his life and decides to build a team after he runs afoul of the time travelling mutant known as Cable. Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead return to help build the team. For this film, many more known mutants actually make appearances, a subject of angst for fans of the first film.
Reynolds’ performance is consistent with his acting style of irreverent, irresponsible, immaturity first made famous in Van Wilder and present in almost every film his has headlined. Of course, he seems tailor made for the character and it works in spades. Most of the other characters are CGI or on screen so little their performances are little worth mentioning. Josh Brolin, most recently seen as Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, must love green screen acting as, like Thanos, Cable is partially CGI rendered. He brings a humanity to the war weary time traveler who is trying to undo a personal tragedy in the future.
The film runs 2 hours and at no time is the viewer left yawning. Nonstop action keeps attention focused on screen as well as the occasional Easter Egg that fan boys love looking for. The problem is that there are so many occasions of side-splitting laughter it is easy to miss things. It builds on a few sight gags introduced in the first film as well as creating brand new situations.
Deadpool 2 is a fine follow up to the original. It is every bit as funny as its predecessor if not funnier. One thing of note is that Deadpool 2 is the first mutant film to be released since Disney acquired 20th Century Fox, thus bringing all the mutant characters (X-men, Wolverine, Fantastic Four) back into the Marvel fold. That meant they could have included some MCU characters in this film had they so chosen. Evidently since the bulk of filming was completed before the sale, they didn’t feel it necessary to go back and add any MCU Easter Eggs, which is disappointing. The best scene by far is the mid credits sequence wherein Deadpool “fixes” mistakes.
The Super Hero genre is far from tapped out as next month brings Ant Man and the Wasp and next year wraps up the Infinity War story and introduces Captain Marvel (Not to be confused with Shazam coming also). It seems that super heroes will be on screen for the foreseeable future. Get some popcorn and candy and settle in. This is going to be a heroic ride.