Deadpool 2 movie review: cleaning up the timeline

deadpool 2 screen

If you thought 2016’s Deadpool was a tad too short and lacked a stocky cast list, you’ll smile wryly at its sequel. Deadpool 2 has seen some of the more annoying marketing antics in the lead up to a movie for quite some time, but thankfully the film lives up to its predecessor’s hilarious hype.

Ryan Reynolds reprises the role he was made for, bringing to life a character usually maligned for crass, sexual humour with deft moments of sweeping emotion. He remains a smart cracking wise ass loaded with pop culture quips and a love for Barbra Striesand, sure, But Reynolds also explores the character’s insecurities and paradoxes. For one, the depth of his romantic love for Vanessa Carslyle (Morena Baccarin), and balancing his life as a mercenary with his desires to become a father.

Opening scenes capture Deadpool’s global rampage, killing mobsters, mafia and face-tattooed crooks with blades and bullets through orifices. But the mood changes. Quickly.

It’s difficult describing the movie’s primary tension without spoiling it, but the first act is filled with equal parts blood and grief.

Director David Leitch, known for his action sequences (and, ahem, killing the dog) in John Wick, balances moments of mayhem and blunt force trauma with introspective soul searching for many of the characters.

For one, Cable. Josh Brolin continues his starring roles in Marvel movies, portraying the time-travelling cybernectic soldier from the future as elegantly as the heavy-handed and headed Thanos (prepare for that reference, too). Both characters are fueled by hatred, anger and deep-seeded pain, and it’s as palpable in Brolin’s Cable as Reynold’s Wade Wilson.

Both characters’ lives messily entangle when Firefist enters the fray. Played by New Zealand teenager Julian Dennison, the troubled teenage mutant harbours an acidic tongue (not literally) and a pair of superheated hands (literally).

The X-Force — a team as cunningly brilliant as the Police Academy squad (at least in the film) — also gets a nod in Leitch’s flick. Although used primarily as a fleeting comedic device, some in the crack team do show some competence. Domino, played by Zazie Beetz, brings some much needed sass (and favourable probability) to the series. While Terry still loves his yoghurt.

Nevertheless this entanglement fuels a gripping plot, that’s succinct, understandable and satisfyingly tied together at the end of its runtime. Sure, the narrative’s a dash predictable at times, and some limp quips fall flat, but you could argue that it’s Deadpool’s nature to beat dead horses.

But these beatings grow heavy handed and tiring in the third act. From countless fourth wall breaks that are sometimes too on the nose, DC disses that are funny but not as stinging as they were in the first film, and illogical character decisions and miscommunication that only serve to propel the plot, Deadpool 2‘s pacing suffers in the latter half.

But this likely won’t be the last Deadpool movie, at least as far as the films’ excessive hints suggest. There are also talks of Marvel investing in an X-Force feature film, coming sometime this decade. Or whenever the Avengers or X-Men franchises can no longer pull their budgetary weight.

And this deserves a mention too. Beyond the film itself, there’s a lot the Marvel cinematic universe owes to the Deadpool series as a whole. Shedding the campy seriousness of its first few films, Marvel movies — more specifically, the Avengers flicks — have grown more self-aware, and less serious over time. Infinity War especially balances lighthearted moments of comedy with serious cinematic universe-shaking quandaries excellently.

That’s arguably thanks to movies like Deadpool.

All in all, if you loved the first flick, Deadpool 2 is more of the same as it adds a host of characters, builds on Deadpool’s complexity and provides a balance of touching moments and seriously fun action.

Just don’t take your kids to this one either.

Note: there are mid-credit scenes for which you should absolutely stay. Deadpool 2 hits South African cinemas on Friday 18 May 2018.

Feature image: 20th Century Fox/Marvel

Andy Walker
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