Guess who’s back. Back again? Deadpool’s back. Tell a friend.
There, I wrote the marketing for Deadpool 3. Or 5. The movie’s going to be the highest-grossing comedy sequel by the end of the year, so I think it’s fair to say that, despite Ryan Reynolds’s statements to the contrary, this series is going to keep going until the sun burns out or the money dries up. And, honestly, maybe it won’t be bad if it does, because this series does, potentially, have the kind of set-up to subvert all the usual signs of sequel decline. This movie didn’t quite do that, but the best scenes in it were born out of trying to, and that’s promising.
So, this movie isn’t quite as good as the original, but, let’s be honest, that’s a really high bar to overcome. Deadpool was an amazing film and had some elements that really weren’t in films before in that exact method of expression. Films and Television have been breaking the fourth wall for years, but the way Deadpool does it is pretty unique. He’s not just interacting with the audience, he’s interacting with the film-making process, with Hollywood productions, and with viewer expectations. It’s basically a meta-smorgasbord, surrounded by some hilarious jokes and jam-packed with references and awesome action scenes. Also nudity.
This movie continues all of that, but, like all sequels, needed to really push it further or subvert it in this movie to feel new again. Unlike most sequels, though, this movie’s aware of that and either mocks it or calls Hollywood out for it. When it does this correctly, this movie is as funny as any film. When it doesn’t do it right, it just comes off as a typical sequel, but since it’s a sequel to Deadpool, that’s still pretty great.
The premise of the movie is that Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) ends up caring for a mutant kid named Russell (Julian Dennison) who is being hunted by the time-traveling mutant Cable (Josh “Marvel gives me a busload of money” Brolin). Since Cable is pretty much a one-man wrecking crew, Deadpool forms a crack team of Marvel properties (and one regular guy named Peter, because why the hell not?) which he names “X-Force,” because X-Men is sexist and Marvel already had the trademark. There are about 6 of them, but the only one that matters is Domino (Zazie “My name is almost as awesome as I am” Beetz), a mercenary whose power is “Being Really Really Really Lucky.” Her scenes are amazing, both because she keeps up with Deadpool’s comedy through her own disaffected delivery of sarcastic retorts and because she kicks an amount of ass which is measured in “metric f*ckton.”
What’s really ballsy about the movie is that, though he’s the one Deadpool is opposing, Cable really isn’t the “villain.” We find out his (pretty intentionally generic) motivation, and from that point, he isn’t even really an antihero. Honestly, in some movies, he’d be the hero. The movie does have characters who are irredeemably bad, but they’re relatively minor. Most of the characters that are “antagonists” are just people who have justifiable reasons for what they’re doing, even the bad things. For a superhero film, which typically has to frame the bad guy as being an overblown force of nastiness or someone who is just naturally prone to evil, this is a pretty heavy subversion.
Another surprising thing is how often the movie actually stops mocking something for a few minutes and actually does a sincere scene of real emotional value. It gives those moments even more of an impact because they’re contrasted with the other times in the movie where they ridicule those same scenes. If you’d told me I might actually have a moment of emotional connection in the sequel to Deadpool, I’d have never believed it, since the closest the first movie really had was the montage of his relationship up until he leaves. Granted, the whole cancer scene did hit me where I live, but that’s personal.
Now, there are some downsides to the movie. First, there is definitely a pacing problem in the movie. There are entire scenes where I just had to ask “why wasn’t this cut” because they were not extremely funny, emotional, or plot-related. Now, the movie had several other scenes that felt like they were supposed to be plot-building or character introduction, only for the film to hilariously destroy the relevance of the scene later. Those scenes worked fine, because they’re part of the movie’s subversive humor, but that really makes the ones that aren’t seem even slower and more pointless. Still, there aren’t that many, and the jokes within the scenes are still funny. Second, when you’re shooting jokes and references at the audience at the speed that this movie does, not all of them land. At one point, Deadpool himself calls part of the film “lazy writing,” and it’s funny, but also the obvious joke, because other shows and movies have made the same statement about time-travel movies. It doesn’t matter much, though, because for any joke that doesn’t land, another one comes in 15 seconds. At other points, you might miss one because you’re still laughing at the last 3, too.
And the ending. Oh, my god, the ending. I’m not sure exactly what the Deadpool canon is, but the way they end this film is so brilliant, they could start the next movie in an entirely different universe and it would make sense, while still being among the funniest scenes in the entire film.
Overall, if you liked the first one, see this film.
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