Wade Wilson is living a peaceful life with Vanessa following the first film. A tragic series of events introduces Deadpool to Russell Collins. Russell is a troubled young mutant fleeing a time-traveler named Cable who will stop at nothing to kill the child. Deadpool joins forces with old friends and new, including some X-Men, to save Russell and, in the process, learn a bit about teamwork and family.
X-FORCE ORIGINS: DEADPOOL
David Leitch, co-director of the first John Wick and sole director of last year’s Atomic Blonde, has stepped into the director’s chair. Leitch embraces the franchise, dialing up the visual effects a bit more, but otherwise keeping things in line with the first movie. A bigger budget was available this time, and it shows, but the spirit of the franchise remains intact. The irreverence and violence start right away and never let up.
The script, however, is a bit of a mess. Credited to Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick along with Ryan Reynolds there’s a constant tug-of-war going on between Deadpool and the X-Brand. Without spoiling things, this film is an X-Force origin with Deadpool as frontman. Thankfully, the looser tone and structure of this movie allows it to own its messiness and call itself out for it. But that doesn’t entirely absolve it of those issues. The film comes dangerously close to veering off-course but never does.
The benefit here is Deadpool’s arc, which is about him learning how to let others in and become part of a family rather than be on his own. Deadpool’s personal journey meshes well with the establishment of X-Force. It forces the character out of his narrow worldview and towards being a hero. This dulls Deadpool’s edge to some extent, but he’s still very much the Merc with a Mouth.
The movie gets off to a messy start as it introduces new characters and storylines. And it suffers from the lack of a clearly defined villain. Not to mention that the story relies on time-travel tropes, so it’s easy to see where the plot will go before we actually get there. A couple of plot points could qualify as “lazy writing” according to the title character.
Ryan Reynolds owns the role of Deadpool, but this you already know. In his second major comic-book appearance of the year, Josh Brolin doesn’t have as much dramatic meat to chew on as he did playing Thanos, but as an ass-kicking cyborg with no sense of humor, he’s more than up to the task. The chemistry between him and Reynolds is excellent, too.
Zazie Beetz is excellent as Domino. Baccarin makes the most of her screentime as Vanessa. The other returning characters are all fine, some getting beefier roles than others. Generally, the members of the X-Force are ready for their franchise to kick off.
Deadpool 2’s effects best its predecessor, making the most of its more substantial budget. Action scenes are all good, although nothing tops the car chase from the first movie. The laughs are also there, though not as funny as they were in the first movie. Below-the-line tech credits all do an excellent job of supporting the project without calling attention themselves. Editing could’ve been a little tighter towards the beginning, but it’s not a big deal.
All in all, Deadpool 2 is burdened by new characters and franchise-building. It is a decent superhero adventure but falls short of its predecessor.
Deadpool 2 is in theaters now.