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Deadpool 2 (2018)

Director:  David Leitch

Writers:  Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, Ryan Reynolds

Starring: 

Deadpool/Wade Wilson: Ryan Reynolds

Vanessa: Morena Baccarin

Cable: Josh Brolin

Domino: Zazie Beetz

Weasel: TJ Miller

Blind Al: Leslie Uggams

Firefist: Julian Dennison

Negasonic Teenage Warhead: Brianna Hildebrand

Yukio: Shioli Kutsana

Colossus (voice): Stefan Kapicic

Age catches up to us all.  When the original Deadpool was released, I had no real idea who the character was, or any of the other X-Men universe details relating to him.  You see gentle readers, I gave up comic books–oops!  I mean graphic novels–long, long ago.  And while I‘m hip, I’m not groovy, or is it the other way around?  In any case, I had to do a bit of research (apart from seeing Wade Wilson in an earlier X-Men universe movie).  From my review of the original:  

Morena Baccarin, just because

Deadpool has honestly earned its “R” rating with semi-nudity, nudity, somewhat explicit sex scenes, blood-slinging violence of the kind normally reserved for Quentin Tarantino movies, voluminous swearing, uncountable sexual references, a masturbation scene, and all manner of uncouth, juvenile bantering and behavior. And it all works. Tragically, very little of the nudity exposes the exquisitely lovely Morena Baccarin, opting instead for quite a few clear shots of Ryan Reynolds’ backside.

In other words, the movie is an easy sell for young men, and Reynolds’ backside and ripped musculature won’t exactly offend their girlfriends and spouses, or at the very least, will help them more or less ignore a bit of the gratuitous bloodshed and generally juvenile grossness. Have I mentioned it works?

There is apparently a great deal of insider information floating around in Deadpool 2, or at least in the heads of those who think themselves insiders about such things.  A summary of that is available here.   

The opening scene is actually a bit confusing, but I’m not certain if that was intentional, chaotic editing, or merely a blizzard of “in” stuff I missed, but the movie quickly settles down into trademark Deadpool chaos: bloody action.  Compared to the original movie, Deadpool has a full measure of graphic violence and bloodshed, gratuitously voluminous swearing, plenty of juvenile bantering and behavior, and I haven’t laughed so hard and long at any movie in recent memory.

The ill-fated X-Force
credit: gq

The plot is…oh, who cares?  There are mutants, time travel, a bad guy–Cable–that is actually a good guy, bad guys that are bad guys, good guys that might be bad guys but are really good guys, a bad guy run down by a taxi, and my favorite scene: Deadpool’s newly formed “X-Force” skydiving into action, and every one of them–OK, one exception–meeting an unfortunate–but hilarious–demise before they ever get to fight a bad guy.  In this movie, the unexpected is constantly coming out of left field to great comic effect.  It appears Ryan Reynolds had the opportunity to get just about every Deadpool joke he could imagine onto the screen, and they’re all at least worthy of a few chuckles, and several, unabashedly uncontrollable laughter.

Brassdance

Again, from the original review:

Perhaps most impressive is Reynolds’ acting. His head and face are entirely covered by the Deadpool mask much of the movie, so the audience can’t see any facial expression, not so much as a raised eyebrow, yet, through physical mugging, tone of voice, and body language, he manages to express more than adequate emotion and intent. Without Reynolds’ dead-on comic timing, the character would not work. Deadpool’s frequent asides to the audience are wry and effective.

There are more asides in this sequel, not only vocal, but relational.  This is definitely a movie that does not take itself too seriously.  The movie makes fun of a great many other movies, actors, and commonly known social references, including Reynolds himself (be sure to stick around for the closing credits).

The single factor that will keep viewers coming back for sequels is the Deadpool character, and particularly his relationship with Vanessa, played by the lovely Morena Beccarin.  As unrestrained and violent as Deadpool is, the transformation of his character when around Vanessa is remarkable.  In a very real sense, the movies are about Wade Wilson, who earnestly seeks to do good.  As he noted in the original, he’s not a good guy, he’s a bad guy who does bad things to people that are worse.  Vanessa is his rock, his grounding in reality and goodness, and when he loses her–sort of–he loses…oh.  I wasn’t going into that, was I?

Domino, Deadpool and Cable
credit: endofgeek

John Brolin’s Cable is appropriately gritty and cyborgish, but played with sufficient humanity to make him sympathetic.  Zazie Beetz’s Domino is another welcome–and beautiful and buxom; don’t forget that–character who will certainly appear in the next sequel. She handles her action scenes with grace and style, and holds her own against the frenetic Deadpool.  Colossus is his usual taciturn self, the foil for Deadpool’s jokes, always struggling to make him behave like a proper X-man.  The scene where Deadpool has to wear an X-Man “trainee” jersey is also hilarious.

Negasonic Teenage Warhead, played by Brianna Hildebrand is, as in the first movie, unsmiling—there’s no character development there–though this time, she has a friend: Yukio, played by Shioli Kutsana. Yukio is also apparently a mutant, and its implied she’s Warhead’s love interest, though that relationship isn’t explored in any depth. She’s almost an anime character, and obviously likes Deadpool.

Yukio and Warhead
credit: the numbers

Production values are outstanding.  As in the original movie, computer generated characters are seamlessly integrated with live actors.  No continuity errors are apparent on first viewing, but of course, one doesn’t normally see those at first unless they’re really obvious.  Fortunately, director Lietch almost entirely avoids the blurry, claustrophobic close ups so unfortunately common in action scenes these days.

As in the original, Reynolds’ acting, considering one can’t see his face much of the time, is impressive.  Despite the frenetic pace, there is a bit of character development. Deadpool becomes determined to save the soul of Firefist, played by Julian Dennison.  He’s an adolescent mutant who might go over to the dark side, but for Deadpool.  In succeeding in that quest, Deadpool is killed–sort of and hilariously–but his sacrifice is the salvation of Firefist, and his own salvation, and that of Vanessa, and Reynolds kills himself, and…there I go again.

Deadpool 2 moves fast, and the plot twists and unexpected surprises are delightful.  The Deadpool character is a near-perfect parody of competing superheroes and superhero universes. The jokes are almost Pythonesque; they make fun of everyone and everything.  It’s a very entertaining movie, certainly worth seeing in a theater, and absolutely worth having on DVD.