Despite its meta, fourth-wall breaking, slapstick, raunchy, and silly humor, Deadpool 2 insists its a family movie with a whole lot of heart. The joke, of course, is in the contradiction. Like its predecessor, this movie makes fun of everything, everyone, even itself, all in an attempt to get a laugh out of the audience. Needless to say, Deadpool is a cynical hero in a cynical age, but he doesn’t want us to be like him. He wants us to be better than him. Much of that motivation may sound corny, but it plays out fairly well in the story.
Still, its noble effort to appeal to our better angels felt like the storytellers were pandering to the audience rather than sticking to the modus operandi. And that might rub people the wrong way, depending on where you’re coming from. Otherwise, this is a fun, hilarious, and sardonic Deadpool installment that doesn’t exceed expectations but at least meets them.
At the beginning of the movie, we find Deadpool virtually right where we left him. He’s trying to start a family with his girlfriend, but when tragedy strikes, he becomes a little suicidal and lost. Eventually, he finds a troubled young boy with mutant powers and vows to help protect the boy from Cable, a mercenary from the future.
It’s slightly fascinating how much and how well Ryan Reynolds owns the character of Deadpool. Their silly, sarcastic, and witty sense of humor intertwine so well it’s like they were meant for each other. This is no exception in Deadpool 2. The comedy writing and acting are just as good if not better than the original. You’ll likely be laughing your head off until your sides hurt. In some ways, the jokes and comedy take things to a whole new level, if that’s even possible. It’s so overbearing, it’s easy to see this more as a comedy romp akin to National Lampoon rather than a superhero movie.
But, of course, the bloody fighting and action abound. It’s all over the film. The intense gore alone gives it an R rating. Yet, much to the movie’s detriment, newcomer director David Leitch didn’t sell the action like Tim Miller. Perhaps it is the overwhelming comedy distracting from the stakes or the presentation of the action but the intensity and fun isn’t there in this one. It’s kinda boring actually.
The plot also doesn’t do it any favors. In Deadpool, Wade Wilson wants revenge and the chance to go back to having his handsome Ryan Reynolds face, two noble goals any audience could get behind. In this, he’s fighting to save a kid’s life from a futuristic mercenary, a goal that, frankly, seems a little odd for Deadpool especially since he’s killed a ton of people. It’s also a semi-plot ripoff of Logan masquerading as a lampoon of Logan. Again, they focused so heavily on the comedy aspect of the story (i.e. endlessly making fun of Wolverine) that they really didn’t try too hard on the other stuff.
Surprisingly, the writers still do a decent, if not slightly hamfisted job of including a little heart and soul in the story. Much of the internalization focuses on Wade Wilson’s search for a “heart” and saving the kid mirrors that quest. If he can save the kid, maybe equally, he can save himself from being a wildly cynical and nihilistic person. It should be noted even this sappy and Lifetime original internal goal is done in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way, but somehow by the end, you still will care about Wade Wilson’s soul and his desire to have a heart.
Deadpool is a sardonic and nihilistic hero for our sardonic and nihilistic age. The subtext in this movie, however, seemed to make the case, if ever so slightly, to not mirror Deadpool’s flaws but to rather find our heart again as a society. It’s a minor touch that heightens the film a bit and takes it one step further from a dumb comedy romp.
In the end, Deadpool 2 delivers the outrageous comedy it’s known for and then some. Fans of the first will no doubt find something to love in this sequel especially if what they love is to laugh for two hours. While the action, plot, and stakes are diminished due to both the style and presentation and the heavy focus on comedy, it’s not so horribly done that you’ll want your money back. If anything, it succeeds on what it set out to do – ruthlessly jeer Hugh Jackman and Wolverine and make an audience uncontrollably laugh.
Deadpool 2 gives the audience what it wants - endless laughs. While it has a surprising amount of heart, the action, plot, and stakes barely match the first and never exceeds them.