Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), everyone’s favourite merc with a mouth, is back to don that skin-tight leather suit for a second round of late night fun. And this time, he’s not coming alone. After hitting a low point in his life, Wade unenthusiastically joins the X-Men, but it doesn’t last long before young boy Russell (Julian Dennison), a fiery super villain in the making, is tracked down by a time travelling mutant from the future, Cable (Josh Brolin), who arrives with intention to kill. Wade, feeling connected to the kid, decides to go his own way and put together a new super team to help take Cable down and protect the boy from the dark future Cable’s trying to prevent.
But with Deadpool 2, he doesn’t have to prove that to the audience. We know. So he’s brought on some super friends to help do the job, and they all make fantastic additions to the cast. Josh Brolin as Cable is menacing, and the dynamic he shares with Wade is unstoppable, as is Zazie Beetz as Domino, a mutant with the powers of luck who kicks way more ass than anyone will be expecting. But the problem with both these characters is that we know literally nothing about them. Cable comes in a little too late, and his overall arc feels both predictable and yet unsatisfying.
However, this brings me to the biggest problem with Deadpool 2; it’s trying to bite off far more than it can chew. Upping the ante for the sequel was always going to happen, but screenwriters Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick and Reynolds himself try to cram as much into this two-hour runtime as possible, making it feel bloated, unfocused and overstretched. Most of the X-Force characters don’t need to be in the film, same with Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), whose dynamic with both Deadpool and her girlfriend (Shiori Kutsuna) is funny, but serves absolutely no purpose to the plot. Even Dopinder (Karan Soni), the first film’s surprise star, feels forced in for the sake of being there.
Okay, so it does sound like I’m hating on this film a little bit, which was never my intention, but the Deadpool franchise is one I’m still every bit as invested in. And like I said, this is still a good film. It’s a ton to fun, director David Leitch handles the action with visceral brutality, and that end credit scene is an absolute all-timer. But with the exception of one very subtle visual gag that absolutely works, most of the humour is copied and pasted straight out of the first film, and it frails in the shadow of what came before. Deadpool 2 is fine, but in a world where we get ten superhero movies a year, the fine ones are sure to be forgotten, and that’s not where I want Deadpool to head.
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