This article contains mild spoilers.
It’s easy not to take Deadpool 2 seriously. The sequel to the 2016 box office smash is full of graphic slapstick, fourth-wall-breaking banter and sentimental throwback music that made the first film a groundbreaking superhero hit… although Deadpool 2 doesn’t bring anything new to the table.
Ryan Reynolds returns as the indestructible, sharp-tongued Wade Wilson, whose world falls apart after his fiancé Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) is assassinated at the beginning of the film. In hopes of restoring some purpose in his life, Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) invites him to join the X-Men, although the stint doesn’t last long because Deadpool wants to do what’s “right”, and that sometimes involves “breaking the rules.”
Enter Russell Collins (played by 15-year old New Zealander Julian Dennison), an ordinary, overweight teenager with an extraordinary ability to manipulate fire. When Russell is hell bent on killing his sadistic headmaster for all the torture he’s inflicted upon him, Deadpool finds himself trying to save the boy’s soul, especially since another mutant, Cable (Josh Brolin) has travelled through time to kill him.
The post-credit scenes from the first film had already teased Cable as co-starring in the sequel. I’m not familiar with the nature of their relationship in the comics but the film falls short with making a riveting dynamic between Deadpool and this new character.
The Cable storyline also recycles the time travel plot device from X-Men: Days of Future Past, where a character arrives from the future to intervene with a pivotal event that ripples into a disastrous future. I’m not annoyed by it, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before, especially since Days of Future Past was only four years ago.
Besides, the thrust of anything Deadpool isn’t really marvellous storytelling, but the unique ability to entertain you in the most unorthodox ways. Indeed, I found myself chuckling regularly throughout the movie, and its climax was wonderfully hysterical, but there’s nothing fresh or clever about Deadpool 2 that we haven’t already seen in the first film.
Most of the original cast return for the new movie, including elderly roommate Blind Al (Leslie Uggam), taxi driver friend Dopinder (Karan Soni) and X-Men’s Justin Bieber lookalike Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), who in this movie becomes the first openly gay superhero ever in a Marvel film.
Her girlfriend is Yukio, an electric whip-wielding mutant played by Shiori Kutsuna. She joins several others as new additions to the cast: Zazie Beetz is the literally lucky Domino, White Chicks’ beloved Terry Crews is Bedlam and Bill Skarsgard plays acid-spewing Zeitgeist, and are amongst a new superhero team Deadpool puts together and calls X Force. Half-amusingly, half-disappointedly, we don’t get to see most of these characters display their powers properly. Leave that to the main X-Men films, I suppose.
In the meantime, Deadpool 2 tries to make up for it with several tickling references to a myriad of characters from other superhero movies, even outside 20th Century Fox’s X-Men franchise. This includes Hawkeye, Winter Soldier, Black Widow, Thanos (Josh Brolin himself plays the purple villain), Batman, Superman and even Green Lantern, whom Ryan Reynold infamously starred in back in 2011.
But some of the jokes I found funniest were the title character’s occasional jabs at racial and gender equality, perfect tongue-in-cheek given today’s increasingly politically correct media climate.
Once again, music contributes greatly to the movie’s humor. Fronting the film’s marketing campaign is a soundtrack single “Ashes”, recorded by Céline Dion. I had thought that the song would play a recurring motif in the movie, but after dedicating an entire James Bond-spoofing sequence to the power ballad, Dion’s single sadly never resurfaces.
Overall, Deadpool 2 is a good laugh packed with adult jokes, and as mentioned earlier, one shouldn’t take it too seriously since i wasn’t conceived as a typical superhero film. But even as far as entertainment value is concerned, I wasn’t completely impressed. It’s a good to have instalment, not a must-watch.