Deadpool 2 movie cast: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Julian Dennison, Morena Baccarin, Zazie Beetz, Karan Soni
Deadpool 2 movie director: David Leitch
Deadpool 2 movie rating: 3 stars
“You are so dark, are you sure you haven’t come from the DC universe?” So said Deadpool to Cable. That was coming. In a film so aware of its place in the Marvel universe, dropping the names of the others who inhabit it so casually, and abounding in pop references spanning several decades, how could DC go unscathed?
In fact, DC gets off lightly. Deadpool (Reynolds) may be a funny guy, all jokes and some wink-wink asides to the audience, and this time also a guy “trying to find his heart”, but be it his rivals or friends, they have a bloody horrific time in this film. People die gruesome deaths, one more cruel than the other, while others just fall or get injured in ways that the poor Lord perhaps never imagined for His or Her world. But no one bats an eyelid, for death isn’t death when a person in spandex never dies, while the rest are just collateral damage in million-dollar mayhem.
But we be ahead of ourselves, for in this sequel to that surprise hit of 2016, Deadpool 2 actually is triggered by two deaths that “matter”, one in present and one years into the future when LP records are in again. Fear not, more won’t be revealed, for if there is one thing Marvel guards more carefully than “the world” — whichever big studio’s stable it may find itself in — it is its plot.
One of those deaths brings Deadpool to a pre-teen called Russell (Dennison) with superpowers of his own but who finds himself trapped in an orphanage run by the kind of pasty-faced, white-overall-clad men (including Eddie Marsen) who don’t require a Deadpool to figure them out. Bonding with Russell gets Deadpool, in turn, to Cable (Brolin), a very angry, no-explanations-offered kind of man from the future. The three stage their fights at a lot of places, starting with a high-security prison with secrets of own.
Along the way, Deadpool finds a “family” — the leitmotif of this film — among a new bunch of friends he makes and some discarded X-men. And hence is born a new franchise.
Of those new friends, Domino or “black Black Widow”, as Deadpool calls her, is the most charming. Her superpower is “luck”, and Beetz shows why it is the only thing that ultimately counts. Despite all its allusions to being “inclusive” — a running gag that Deadpool 2 is obviously very proud of — the film is plain derivative when it comes to Russell’s weight and its Indian taxi driver’s (Soni’s) Indianness.
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But none of that matters, does it? The only question is whether new director Leitch (Atomic Blonde) can pull off the Deadpool touch of 2016, with its risque humour, incessant jokes and casual sex references, while taking forward a superhero franchise with a superhero who mocks everything about it. Leitch and Reynolds (who also contributes as writer) throw everything at it, and when we say everything, we mean all that comes waist down too. Let your imagination wander, and you may still come short.
It is all too confusing in the beginning, and much too smart at times — again — for its own good. But as Reynolds gets other people to match his wits against, Deadpool 2 starts hitting the spots it wants too, much more effortlessly than its prequel.
The blind old lady Al, who is Deadpool’s friend, tells him, “You can’t live if you don’t die a little.” So Deadpool does die and big, in many, many scenes, and he does live and big, in many, many others. Reynolds shows he can be as charming doing both. And Deadpool 2 that dying and living are just stepping stones on way to that franchise heaven. Stumble away.