This review contains spoilers for the mid-credits scene of Deadpool 2
Ryan Reynolds is back as the Merc with a Mouth, in a movie that proves that lowbrow humor and excessive violence can sometimes be a vehicle for a (mostly) smart and emotionally resonant story.
The greatest strength of Deadpool 2 is its cast. Reynolds, of course, is the obvious star and it feels like he really knows what he’s doing this time around. He plays Deadpool so well, it’s hard to imagine anyone else in the role. But what is really interesting here is the fact that the film allows the supporting cast to outshine its foul-mouthed antihero.
Josh Brolin steps into his second villainous Marvel role this year as Cable, a time-traveling badass with a “Winter Soldier arm” who goes back in time to kill Russell, a 14 year-old boy who murders Cable’s family sometime in the future. Julian Dennison (Bestie-winner of Hunt for the Wilderpeople fame) plays Russell (AKA Fire Fist), the angsty teen who is determined to get revenge on the cruel headmaster who abused him and take out anybody who gets in his way. That plot already sounds stuffed with conflict, but of course Deadpool has to be involved somehow. Motivated by the death of his girlfriend, Deadpool assumes the role of Dadpool, hoping to both protect Russell from Cable and prevent the young mutant from committing murder. While Julian Dennison’s simultaneously hilarious and emotional performance is the best of the entire film, Zazie Beetz also holds her own in a fun, flashy supporting role as Domino, a mutant with the ability to manipulate luck. Beetz is also the only actor who is able to consistently keep up with Reynold’s rapid-fire delivery and quick wit.
All in all, the film is very good. Deadpool 2 is overstuffed— with plot, characters, soundtrack, quips, everything— but, it cleverly weaves its superhero surplus into a two-hour satire of the genre itself. One of the best examples of this is in the mid-credits scene, where (SPOILER) Deadpool goes back in time to kill his character’s (much maligned) iteration in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The mouthless Deadpool falls to the ground and 2018 Deadpool pops out to tell 2009 Hugh Jackman that he is just “cleaning up the timeline.”
Much like its predecessor, Deadpool 2 is not quite as funny, smart or irreverent as it wants to be. However, it does offer sporadic moments of laugh-out-loud humor, thrilling action, jovial fan service and real emotional depth, which is more than I can say for a lot of other films that have come out this year. ★★★★