Directed by David Leitch
Living in a world of superhero film sequels as we do, it’s easy to cut them more slack than we should, since, let’s face it, at this point they’re almost ALL sequels in one form or another. However, “Deadpool”, like “Guardians of the Galaxy”, is a different kind of superhero film. They both ascribe to an overt irreverence that other films of the genre can only hint at. In fact, a major part of the joy watching both franchise debuts was the unexpected glee in seeing this new anti-DC version of heroism borne of some great writing and fantastic tongue-in-cheek performances. But while “Guardians” lampoons the relationship the superhero has to its story and to other members of its own world. “Deadpool” spends every last second making fun of ALL aspects of the genre…a “Kentucky Fried Movie” of superhero films, if you will. Therefore it came as no shock that “Guardians 2” failed pretty miserably. It just seemed like more of the same, and, well, that’s not enough to keep us invested for two and a half hours. But, happily (ecstatically, even), “Deadpool 2” utterly avoids the same fate and might be the best comedic sequel you’ll ever see. Hell, it’s one of the most consistently funny films I’ve ever seen. Period.
So how does DP2 manage to so convincingly succeed? By upping the ante in several areas – story, stakes for the lead characters (not the universe in which he or she exists), and in the brilliance of the writing, film-craft and acting, all while keeping the CGI down to a minimum. In other words, in pretty much every way possible. There isn’t much I can tell you in detail about any of the above without giving away more than I would want to know before I saw it. But I can say that the story WOULD work in a more serious superhero film. And the stakes ARE somehow life and death (even if the entire setup revolves around the main character’s inability to die). As for the writing, for every blue or cheap joke there are several well thought out, highly specific cultural references that land brilliantly – some that will fly way over the head of a mere superhero fanboy, and others that are so specific to the genre that they will zip past the mere film-goer. And thanks to SUPERB editing from the trio of Craig Alpert, Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir and Dirk Westervelt, the film simply never lags and features fight scenes that tick all the right buttons. Visually, the film LOOKS fantastic, not only matching the level of cinematic splendor that all Marvel predecessors employ, but quite possibly surpassing them. Maybe a better way to describe the visuals is that they feel more tactile and of this world in the same way that “Jessica Jones” does than in an “Avengers” film, for instance, while still maintaining a sense of wonder.
But, let’s face it, without Ryan Reynold’s performance, this is all moot. At film’s first blush you might think, “uh oh…is this another Chris Pratt sleepwalking job”? But, within about seven to ten minutes that is quickly put aside. His timing, actual acting chops and physicality are even better here than in the first. And it helps that he’s been surrounded with terrific actors. T.J Miller and Karan Soni successfully return as his close confidantes. Morena Baccarin has less screen time, but no less important a place in the film. Added to the mix this time around are Josh Brolin, who plays his archetype to perfection. Zazie Beetz is a star waiting to happen and makes the most of her place in the film. And a bunch of other fine performers who make this world feel full.
So, yes you should see it. Yes, you should see the first one before you see it. And, while it will most certainly HELP if you’ve seen or understand the Marvel universe (especially the X-Men series), it’s not going to limit your enjoyment of just how…er…wrong most of the humor and situations are. I had a blast…every bit as much of a blast as I did when I screened the initial “Deadpool”. Enjoy!
Oh…stay for the initial credits, obviously, as the postscript features one of the greatest self-deprecating sight-gags ever. And don’t worry TOO much about seeing the trailer. While there are one or two jokes that are revealed, they actually shot scenes exclusively for the trailer to throw people off the scent.
Written on 5/17/2018