I was expecting to see this a few weeks ago with a friend but, after she heartlessly decided to watch it with her boyfriend instead, we ended up seeing Solo instead. Even though I did enjoy that film I’ve been horribly bitter about not getting my way ever since. As has every other fan, I’ve been excited about Deadpool 2 ever since the teaser at the end of the first film. As soon as Cable’s name was mentioned I was in. Cable is one of those iconic characters that deserved his chance to be on film and it meant it was highly likely that Domino (another personal favourite of mine) would be popping up at some point. The excitement fluctuated depending on which actor was being connected to the role. Some of them (Ron Pearlman) underwhelmed me whilst others (Jon fucking Hamm) made my heart sing. Although, I don’t think anyone could disagree with the final choice of Josh Brolin. Look what the guy did for Thanos. How could he fuck this up? So, after a really long wait, it was finally time to watch Ryan Reynolds second turn as the Merc with a mouth. It’s safe to say that my expectations were super high.
Let me start of by saying that I loved Deadpool from the first time I watched it. I didn’t give star ratings back then but it would have been a definite 5. That said, it was painfully obvious that the narrative left a little something to be desired. The plot was super thin and didn’t really favour anyone other that the titular hero. It worked in the first film because it was meant to be a fucking crazy one-man murder fest. It’s not something I wanted to see from the second. When you have a bigger cast and the ability to develop some returning characters you should take the chance to do it. not just continue writing scenarios for bad guys to be spliced in half. Although, there should be plenty of splicing too.
So I found it really disappointing that Deadpool 2‘s whole narrative journey relies on the biggest cliché of them all. I won’t say anymore for risk of spoilers but the first third of the film almost had me rolling my eyes out of my head. There is no subtlety in the narrative structure and its so painfully obvious where we’re heading. I’d like to think that all of the painfully obvious foreshadowing was done with a wink to the audience but, aside from one moment when it is directly referenced, I don’t think it is. It could just be an insanely clever way of making a film: take such an obvious plot that requires no real thought process as a tongue-in-cheek nod to Hollywood. But it could also be a group of men who were too concerned with gags and jokes that they found the easiest way to make it happen.
So I already had my high expectations shattered to pieces and we hadn’t even seen Cable yet. I was starting to lose interest in the what was going on and was already thinking up ways of saying “nowhere near as good as the first one” in a review. Thankfully, things start to turn around when we get into the real crux of the story. Hoping to turn his life around Wade decides that his one mission is to save a teenage mutant, Russell (Julian Dennison) from his super evil headteacher. It’s a mission that takes him to a weird mutant prison, forces him to create his own supergroup, and trying to ambush an armoured transport. And it’s all as exciting as it sounds.
Because, just as with the first film, Deadpool 2 manages to hide the fact that the story is so basic and unoriginal thanks to its very nature. It is a film that refuses to take itself, the superhero genre, the studio making it, and its original source seriously. It continues to break the fourth wall to make self-aware and cutting jokes about anything and everything. And, if you were a fan of this style the first time, then you’ll love it all the more the second. I guess with a character like Deadpool, you don’t want too much of a story getting in the way. It’s about letting the character and his creator/performer Ryan Reynolds loose in front of the cameras. And, to be fair, it’s a strategy that, for the most part, distracts for the film’s weaknesses.
Which says a lot considering just how many other people were joining him this time. It’s always quite a risky strategy to bring in a large ensemble alongside such a dominant central character. It is true that most of the new and returning characters get short shrift but there is still a great deal of potential. Russell is an absolutely hilarious addition to the franchise and his scenes with Wade are fantastic. He also manages to bring a much-needed emotional resonance to the narrative. Although, it is Cable who is the greatest new friend in Deadpool’s life… even if the man himself might disagree. It’s such a shame that Josh Brolin had such success with Thanos so recently. Otherwise his Cable would have been sensational. Instead, he just feels underdeveloped and disappointing. Still, there is definite potential for the pair in future films.
The shining star, for me at least, was Zazie Beetz as Domino. The mutant whose power is “luck” was always going to be a hit with me and everything about her works. She’s a badass and her luck power is both mocked and utilised perfectly. I just want to see more of her. I love her. And, to be honest, I did love this film too. I don’t think it’s fair to say it’s as good as the first one but it’s not much worse. This is still the fun and brilliantly chaotic film that we all wanted. It pushes the jokes further than we’d have expected but just far enough to work. I had almost as much fun as the first one but the repetition did make it a bit disappointing. At the same time, there was more of an emotional burst at the end. There were moments when I was genuinely weeping and I just wish there had been more of that depth. Ah… but who am I kidding? I still fucking loved this film.