By Chic DiCiccio
During the pre-opening credits sequence of “Deadpool 2,” Deadpool/Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) travels the world and kills dozens of people in highly graphic, yet interesting ways. This is set to an extremely popular 1980s hit song that now seems as if it was written specifically for this moment. It’s also the moment when anyone who loved the first “Deadpool” will realize that there will be no sequelitis.
“Deadpool” earned more than $783 million worldwide and did so despite being about an obscure, cult-ish super hero who acknowledges to the audience that he’s in a movie. That makes it tough to blame “Deadpool 2” for sticking with what works. Reynolds (sharing a screenplay credit this time around) delivers exactly what fans want and expect, even if the story meanders around a bit too much.
There are a few detours, but “Deadpool 2” mostly follows the infamous Merc With A Mouth as he creates a superhero team in order to protect 15-year old mutant Russell (Julian Dennison). Russell is being hunted by Cable (Josh Brolin), a soldier from the future who travels back in time to prevent the kid from committing future atrocities.
Yes, this sounds like the tired “go back in time and kill Hitler” idea … but that’s fine because Deadpool brings that up. In fact, nearly every single aspect of the movie is relentlessly mocked. There is virtually nothing off limits, up to and including both the Marvel and DC movies.
It would all become rather tiresome if Reynolds wasn’t the most perfect choice to portray a superhero since Christopher Reeves reversed time to save Lois Lane (more bad time travel). He’s always been a charming actor who slaved away in mediocre comedies, but this is truly his calling. It may not be Shakespearean, but nobody else could deliver such crass dialogue and come off as precious like Reynolds.
Reynolds also benefits from a great supporting cast, particularly the addition of Zazie Beetz as Domino and Brolin as Cable. Domino’s super power is luck, which makes for some hilariously clever action sequences in which she casually survives every life-threatening situation she finds herself in. Brolin gets to do most of the literal heavy lifting, which is fitting because the guy looks like he could bench press a truck. Each of them do get the majority of the banter with Reynolds and their timing couldn’t be better.
However, the real star of this show may be director David Leitch. After directing “John Wick” and “Atomic Blond,” “Deadpool 2” completes his natural hat trick. He manages to make nearly every single action scene thrilling and funny at the same time. Leitch, who started as a stunt coordinator, is able to create action movies with relatively smaller budgets seem much larger in scale and scope, which guarantees he’ll be around for quite some time.
The truly great moments of “Deadpool 2” need to remain unspoiled. There is a sequence so brilliantly funny and inspired that it’s downright shocking that Fox allowed it to happen. It would ruin it to go further into it, but let’s just say that no super hero movie has ever had such an elaborate set up for a series of brilliant jokes.
It can’t be said any simpler than this: “Deadpool 2” is better than the first one. There’s no origin story to tell and it just dives right into Deadpool’s world. It even takes him to the X-Men mansion and manages to find hilarity in that tired spot. It also has an edgier, darker side to it, which helps even out the zaniness.
And then, just when you think it’s over and there’s nothing else that could possibly happen … the end credits scenes. My goodness, there may not be anything funnier seen in theaters this year.