Main cast: Ryan Reynolds (Wade Wilson/Deadpool), Josh Brolin (Cable), Morena Baccarin (Vanessa), Julian Dennison (Russell Collins/Firefist), Zazie Beetz (Domino), TJ Miller (Weasel), Brianna Hildebrand (Negasonic Teenage Warhead), Jack Kesy (Black Tom Cassidy), Shioli Kutsuna (Yukio), Leslie Uggams (Blind Al), Karan Soni (Dopinder), and Stefan Kapičić (Colossus)
Director: David Leitch
Deadpool 2 follows, of course, Deadpool but it is pretty much a standalone movie, as everyone’s wisecracking bag of tumors by his very nature doesn’t play well in serious, long-term story arcs. The previous movie was a runaway hit, so naturally, the sequel gets a bigger budget and, inevitably, greater scrutiny from the studio and the usual online idiots who find racism, sexism, and whatever-ism in everything. Given that the people behind this movie are pandering to the very same people from the latter group even before this movie is released, it is perhaps inevitable that this movie feels more subdued than the previous one. It tries considerably hard to be edgy, but it makes sure that it doesn’t become too edgy to point of offending people, hence the wanton violence and killing are always targeted towards killers, pedophiles, and other easy targets.
This time around, there is a far more substantial story. It remains a series of coincidences, though, so please bear with me.
It all begins when Wade’s killing spree of bad people ends up causing his enemies to storm his apartment and kill Vanessa. Oops. In despair, he tries to kill himself but his fast-healing mutant powers prevents him from being reunited with her again. Colossus tries to give Wade purpose and direction by recruiting him into the X-Men, but with Wade being Wade, he ends up killing a few pedophiles while trying to rein in Russell, a young kid with pyromaniac mutant powers. As a result, he and Russell are thrown into some mutant jail.
And then we have Cable, who is from the future. His wife and daughter were killed in the future previously, so he goes back to the present, determined to prevent their deaths by killing the murderer while the villain is still a teenager. Yes, that murderer is the adult Russell, whose past of abuse at the hands of the people in a mutant rehabilitation facility will eventually warp his perspective and turn him into a power-hungry megalomaniac. Hence, he storms the mutant jail, inadvertently helping Wade to break out in the process.
Wade believes that Russell can be redeemed before that kid gets to walk down the dark side, while Cable is still determined to kill that brat. Our hero also believes that saving Russell will give him his own redemption and allow him to find peace and be reunited with Vanessa again, hence he decides to assemble an X-Force from some superheroes he finds on Linkedin to help get Russell before Cable finds that kid again.
On paper, the story sounds good. Unfortunately, what is noticeably missing in Deadpool 2 is the tight pacing that keeps the previous movie going like an exhilarating roller-coaster ride. Here, the slower scenes tend to meander. The humor seems off as well, as if the scriptwriters are throwing things at the wall and hoping something will stick. There is a kind of predictability to the proceeding, such as when an emotional moment comes on and I’d think, “I bet this is when Wade cracks about getting an Oscar.” A few seconds later, yes, that is exactly what happens. Also, much of the humor feels juvenile, puerile, without any sign of intelligent life behind them. There are a few scenes that are clearly homages to all kinds of apparently random pop culture movies – I especially love that nod to the movie Say Anything), but on the whole it’s just jokes revolving around Wade molesting people, scat, and other things that feel disappointingly mundane.
There are also many instances where the script mistakes meta for funny. I mean, is simply calling Cable “Thanos” because the actor plays both roles really funny? They could have done more to drive home the punchline instead of merely having that throwaway one-liner come up out of the blue. Wade keeps saying that the script suffers from lazy writing, but that kind of meta reference isn’t amusing when much of the humor is, indeed, lazy.
Another problem here is that there are just too many characters here, existing solely to push Wade’s arc. Hence, newcomers like Domino and “old-timers” like Dopinder are sort of just there, never bringing anything extra. The sad thing is, Wade’s character arc isn’t anything new or predictable. In fact, given that Deadpool is supposed to be both a satire and a subversion of superhero tropes, something inside me dies a little when I realize that much about Deadpool 2 is actually conventional, clichéd tropes wrapped up in faux-edgy jokes and passed off as something far, far more interesting than what it actually is.
This is especially when the mid-credit scenes ends up erasing all that happened in the movie up to that point, making the entire thing pointless.
Still, it’s still has enough flash and explosions to be “bring popcorn, but leave brain at home” kind of movie, with the best moments being the fight scenes. Everything else feels lacking when I compare it to the previous movie, which is still genuinely more funny and edgy in comparison.