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Deadpool 2 - Review

Deadpool 2

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

IF SUPERHERO fatigue is a thing, then the sequel to Deadpool should have had its work cut out not only in avoiding it, but also ensuring that the freshness of its fourth wall shattering, foul-mouthed, ultra violent original didn’t become stale as well.

Fortunately, Deadpool 2 emerges as one of those rare examples of a sequel that actually betters the original. It’s just as brash, funny, inventive, subversive and, yes, offensive as its predecessor; but it arguably has a little more heart, a lot more cash and plays out on a bigger, more confident scale.

And while those that didn’t rate the first Deadpool won’t be swayed here, the core fans – those people that enabled it to become the second highest grossing R-rated film in US history behind The Passion of the Christ – will lap up every extended minute.

Perhaps most remarkably, Deadpool 2 still has the ability to surprise – and that’s in spite of a marketing campaign that has dropped countless trailers, promos, pop videos with Celine Dion and David Beckham apologies.

The plot is quite heavy. What you may well have gleaned from the aforementioned marketing is that part of it involves a teenage mutant named Russell (played by Julian Dennison, of Hunt For The Wilderpeople fame), who needs Deadpool’s help to survive after being targeted by a fellow mutant named Cable (Josh Brolin), who has travelled from the past to kill the young firestarter.

In order to do so, Deadpool (once again played by Ryan Reynolds) creates his own superhero outfit, named X-Force (which includes the likes of Zazie Beetz’s Domino). And then there’s his ongoing relationship with both his true love Vanessa (Morena Baccarin, now ready to start a family), and his extended X-Men family to nurture and/or understand.

Needless to say, not everything plays out in the way you’d expect… not even from watching those countless trailers! Reynolds, who co-scripted with Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, clearly enjoys toying with expectation and then shattering it – much in the same way that he revels in tearing down superhero conventions and poking fun at himself and anyone on his pop culture radar.

But another surprise is the way in which he does so without losing sight of some core values. There is an emotional undertow, which allows Reynolds to present a more melancholy version of Deadpool at times – someone at odds with himself and those around him (we won’t say why).

Everyone operates from a place of hurt. And while there are times when the film’s readiness to shoot for laughs sometimes upsets the dramatic momentum, enough of it is retained for Deadpool 2 to land some unexpectedly hefty emotional blows.

Fear not, though. This isn’t the Empire Strikes Back of the Deadpool saga. The laughs still fly thick and fast… some of it crude, some of it lewd, some of it inspired and most of it always outrageous in some way.

There’s a nod to Basic Instinct in one utterly bizarre exchange between Deadpool and his team-mates, an homage to Say Anything, DC put-downs, a running joke about Yentl and Frozen as well as countless non-PC jokes at the expense of everyone and everything (from Hitler to racism via Reynolds’ own acting CV… Green Lantern, anyone?).

Deadpool 2

With John Wick’s David Leitch in the director’s chair, meanwhile, the action becomes increasingly operatic in nature. The choreography is often as stunning as it is wince-inducing, meaning that Deadpool earns every bit of its R-rated/15 certification.

And yet, there’s still room for character growth, with Reynolds managing to take Wade Wilson on a worthwhile emotional journey even from behind the mask, and Brolin’s Cable emerging as a fully rounded character to boot. Beetz and Dennison also make a strong impression.

If not everything lands successfully, it’s perhaps to be expected, and even forgivable, given the extremes to which the film so frequently goes. But that’s part of the appeal. Deadpool 2 is a romp to be indulged in on its own f**ked up terms.

As Deadpool himself might say, it’s a superhero film that exists to be bad for all the right reasons. So why not just go with the flow?

Certificate: 15
Running time: 1hr 59mins
UK Release Date: May 15, 2018