Josh Brolin’s Thanos snapped his fingers in Infinity War and major shit shifted in the MCU, making this a perfect time to check in on that other Marvel Universe, occupied by Deadpool, X-Men, and . . . Josh Brolin? Again? No worries though. The creators of Deadpool 2 know you may suffer from superhero/sequel fatigue at this stage so they poke fun at the genre’s usual indicators, while still having their own unfold before your eyes. They break the fourth wall, toss around Jesus comparisons, and pay a fitting homage to dubstep. Only Deadpool can do it and he’s in a league of his own now.
Having experienced an unexpected tragedy in the first act – no spoilers – the Merc with a Mouth, Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds – who else? – also pulling double time as a screenwriter) finds himself acting as a surrogate parent to a troubled mutant teenager, Russell Collins a.k.a. Firefist (Julian Dennison) who tries to burn down his orphanage and its morally perverted headmaster (Eddie Marsan, who deserves a little better than what he’s given but its fine) for the abuse Russell has suffered. But Firefist has drawn the wrath of Cable, a cybernetic time-traveler (played by a yoked up Josh Brolin, putting his stamp on the summer of 2018 with his second major comic book villain role) who has come back from the future to eliminate Firefist before he “gets a taste” for killing. Never one to miss opportunities for pop culture references, Deadpool throws shade at Brolin’s Cable with callbacks to Thanos and One-Eyed Willie from Brolin’s early Goonie days.
Deadpool needs his own crew to take on Cable to save Russell and since the X-Men won’t tolerate his shooting of bad guys in the head, he forms his own X-Force. Here he recruits Bedlam (Terry Crews), Shatterstar (Lewis Tan), Zeitgeist (Bill Skarsgard, the new Pennywise from It, which Deadpool regrettably doesn’t mention), the superpowerless Peter (the hilarious Rob Delaney, who just answered the ad) and the lucky Domino (Atlanta’s Zazie Beets in her coming out party as a star.) Along the way there is a surprise cameo that X-Men fans will geek out over and enough one-liners to remind you that Deadpool is still the ideal departure from superhero characters while also being one himself. And definitely stay through the credits to see some truly hilarious callbacks to both Deadpool’s mirky past as well as Ryan Reynolds’s as well. Well worth your time.
There are more serious aspects to Deadpool 2 that deal with Wade’s aforementioned tragedy that dutifully remind us that beneath all of the jokes, Wade is a guy who is has suffered plenty. Props the Reynolds (as well as his co-screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick) for knowing when to pull the gags back and let Wade show how his super-healing abilities could act as a curse. “Fuck Wolverine,” are his first words alluding to the famous character’s death in Logan and Wade’s envy of his being able to experience death instead of enduring more pain, physical and emotional. Deadpool 2’s director is David Leitch, whose billing jokingly refers to his co-directing of John Wick – “One of the guys who killed the dog in John Wick,” so you know you’re dealing with a team looking to kill their darlings often. Luckily for us, Wade is harder to kill.
Why you should see this movie: Simply put, if you enjoyed the first Deadpool, you’ll enjoy Deadpool 2. There is no sophomore slump here; the action is solid, the gore is great, and the jokes come at you fast with references to George Michael, Jared Kushner, The Passion of the Christ, and a hilarious bit as to why Deadpool never sees any other X-Men around (blink and you’ll miss the payoff.) The movie is obviously gag-heavy but you’re more than okay with it; its brief departures into seriousness balances it fairly well. Brolin does well as the straight man to Reynolds’s wisecracks and be ready to see Zazie Beets in more movies.
Normally I’d have more Deadpool 2 for you to chew on but technically I’m still gone fishin’ so I’ll see you on Monday – maybe.