Deadpool 2 (2018 movie) review…

Does double the budget translate to double the fun? After the break…

Deadpool 2 (2018 movie) review…

Sword-wielding and self-healing superhero Deadpool must face loss, redemption & his own mortality in “Deadpool 2,” the sequel to the 2016 surprise hit movie “Deadpool.”

Reviewing this film is nearly impossible without spoiling huge portions of it. If you want a non-spoiler summary of this review, it would be this: Deadpool fans will probably enjoy it and everyone else should save their money for a movie that’s more appropriate to their liking. Yes, that’s damning with faint praise and it’s as much praise as the movie ought to receive.

“Deadpool 2” stars Ryan Reynolds, reprising his 2016 role as the wise-cracking, fourth-wall breaking sword-swinging self-healing superhero based upon the comic book superhero of the same name. In this film, the perpetually silly superhero is once again forced into a serious situation when his girlfriend Vanessa (Morena Baccarin, also reprising her role from the first film) is killed by gangsters. The sudden and terrible loss causes Deadpool to enter into a deep state of grief and depression. In a bid to move forward in his life, Deadpool agrees to help the superhero organization, The X-Men, with a situation involving a young teenage mutant called “Firefist.” Inadvertently, Deadpool causes the situation to spiral out of control where he eventually meets a time-traveling warrior named “Cable” who’s sole purpose is to kill Firefist before Firefist turns into a supervillain that will ravage the Earth in the future.

Can Deadpool redeem a young and angry Firefist before the teenager turns into a supervillain? Can Deadpool convince Cable to give this young teenager a second chance?

Deadpool & Vanessa aren’t the only two characters to reprise their roles in this sequel; Practically everyone is back from the first movie although the film hardly uses any of them to any significant effect.

The characters of Weasel, Blind Al, Dopinder, Negasonic Teenage Warhead, Colossus & even Buck all make an appearance in this movie but hardly any of them make a difference in a storyline that’s so convoluted and contrived that it makes you wonder just how much of the budget was spent on story and how much of it was spent on recording snarky one-liners whose humor is based solely upon the viewer’s knowledge of pop culture from the 1980s & the 1990s.

Not to be outdone, new characters in the series fare little better in making an overall impact on the film. The new characters with the most screen time have, by obvious advantage, the most impact. These include the time-travelling Cable and a superhero named Domino whose superpower is that she’s just a very lucky person who is always at the right place at the right time to perform the right karate chop at the right villain.

To even begin to critique this movie is a fool’s errand; The movie never knows what it wants to be or how to even get there. Part of the blame must be attributed to the very nature of the main character, Deadpool, who can’t keep a straight face or his mouth shut unless it is the most dire of situations. It’s hard for a movie to generate drama or seriousness when your main character is virtually incapable of generating such situations on their own. Yet part of the blame also falls on the choice of director; David Leitch replaces Tim Miller as the director and, for better of for worse, the film suffers under his leadership. This isn’t to say that the first film was a masterpiece; It wasn’t but the first film accomplished far more with far less. This movie has nearly twice the budget of the first and yet it fails to deliver on much of that potential.

With the exception of Deadpool & Cable, no one has any significant character arc.

Firefist, the troubled young teenage mutant, doesn’t really grow or change throughout the film and it’s hard to see how this young child becomes such a menace in his later years. He shoots fire which, on it’s own, could be bad but we’ve had other superheroes shoot fire before (The Human Torch?). His only act of real menace (besides his initial outburst of roasting a few cars and other objects) is to unleash a monstrously huge villain named Juggarnaut who is every bit the match of the X-Man superhero Colossus but with none of the upright morality.

Domino, played by Zazie Beetz, seems to only be in this movie to attract African-Americans and women and little else. There’s a throwaway line of her being raised in an abusive orphanage and… That’s about it. There’s no growth to the character at all; We don’t see her emerge more confident as a superhero or her even questioning if she really is a superhero which is odd because she joins Deadpool as a means of proving that she belongs amongst other superheroes.

Colossus returns but does little but swing fists and give the CGI department sleepless nights animating him as he fights the Juggarnaut. Colossus resorts to some brutish fighting and… That’s all of the character arc that we see from him.

Finally, there’s Negasonic Teenage Warhead who… Is a lesbian? That’s her whole reason for being in this film? She’s hardly in the film and whether that’s because of other film commitments or if the creatives behind this film just wanted her in a few scenes… I don’t know. At least she has a new hairstyle. I guess that’s her character arc.

Dopinder, Weasel & Blind Al all have ancillary contributions to this film to the point where they are little more than glorified cameo appearances. I hope that they at least stayed around long enough to have enjoyed the craft services table.

Structurally, the film is a mess. At one point, you learn about an orphanage that abuses children and… That plot point just sort of hovers around without any great affect. Wouldn’t anyone else have noticed all of this abuse beforehand? Why do all of the workers at the orphanage attack Deadpool & Cable in the finale if their orphanage is already being attacked by Juggarnaut and Firefist? That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

We learn of special electronic collars that negate the superpowers of those who wear the collars and… That’s it. How do these collars even begin to work on all of the vast array of superpowers that people have? Why don’t they have something like that for Juggarnaut? If Cable has as much technological capability as he demonstrates (he is earlier seen assembling a sort of fancy hi-tech rifle out of assorted spare parts), why can’t he replicate this technology for his own purposes? He’s from the future and he’s hunting a mutant. Wouldn’t he have some knowledge about this mutant-defeating technology from the past?

So much of this film is unnecessary that one must wonder if it is part of an elaborate tax write-off scheme. At one point, Deadpool recruits an entire team of “superheroes” (more “Mystery Men” than “Justice League”-caliber) only to see them haplessly killed when they parachute out of a helicopter and into high winds. The joke here is that, during months before the premiere of this movie, fake scenes were shot of these superheroes, implying that they would be in the movie far more than they are. The viewer would see the fake scenes in previews only to discover, much to their delightful dismay, that these superheroes are killed on screen almost as suddenly as when they arrived. I suppose that false advertising gets a pass when it comes to the movies.

This isn’t to say that the film isn’t entirely without merit. Josh Brolin brings a steely gravitas to the character of “Cable,” a cyborg that is seemingly incapable of even smirking. Zazie Beetz plays the character of Domino with a carefree spirit, complete with a hairstyle straight from an old episode of “Solid Gold.” And Ryan Reynolds simply is the only rational choice for the character of “Deadpool,” much in the same league with Mel Gibson as Mad Max or Bruce Willis as John McClane.

The machine-gun delivery of the humor is predictably hit-or-miss and depends mostly upon how much the viewer was a child of 1980s and 1990s pop culture. The trailer for this film, in this manner, is also a bit of fraud in that jokes have been re-arranged to make the trailer far funnier and eventful than the film actually was. In this way, the trailer almost reminds me of the trailer from “Rocky & Bullwinkle” in which jokes were purposefully inserted into that trailer because the trailer was deemed by executives as so horrible that they needed some way for audiences to be attracted to it.

The movie does spend it’s money somewhat competently on the film’s special effects and there’s never a moment where, based upon the cinematography, sound or sets alone that this film doesn’t belong in a movie theater. In that one narrow category, Deadpool 2 really does outshine Deadpool. Where Deadpool always felt as though it were a TV-movie that was holding back it’s one-or-two really, really, REALLY good special effects moments because that’s all that the movie could afford, Deadpool 2 is awash in the typical gee-whiz computer graphics normally accustomed to typical summer blockbusters.

What is most baffling about the movie is that the entire premise is completely eliminated by a mid-credits scene during the end credits. The entire movie’s premise is that people sometimes need to rebuild their friend and social network in the midst of a disaster. This message is then entirely undercut by one of the most laziest scenes where the hero goes back in time and simply undoes the unfortunate event from ever occurring. I guess that, if you have a time machine, use the time machine first?

Barring unforeseen events, the world will see more Deadpool and more Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool. What we should hope to see in addition to that character is a story that is an actual story and not just a collection of pop culture puns masquerading as a movie.

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