As an X-Men fan, I didn’t know what to expect out of the Deadpool sequel. I wasn’t really looking for much to be honest. Heck, a few years ago we weren’t really asking for a Deadpool 2. But a post-credit scene kind of teased the possibility. And here we are in 2018 with a Deadpool sequel, featuring Cable.
The plot seems simple enough. Deadpool meets a kid. The kid is in trouble because a cyborg from the future wants him dead. Deadpool forms a team of vagabond mutants to help him save the kid. Action, fighting, big metal strong guy, severed limbs, etc. Standard fair for a Deadpool movie, it seems.
The way the advertising was geared, Deadpool 2 looked like the origins of the X-Force. Add to that all the news of Ryan Reynolds being unsure about a third installment of Deadpool. Then there’s the Fox/Disney deal coming closer and closer to fruition. For us X-Men fans, we thought the death knell for the franchise was fast approaching, and the second installment would be its last.
Then just a few days ago, when pressed in interviews, Reynolds told reporters he would be very interested in doing a third installment. On top of that, Josh Brolin has signed on to do at least three more films as Cable. My guess is that the movie was enough of a hit with the entertainment press that they were wondering at the future of the franchise.
Why is it a hit? It’s because the film is still about Deadpool, but it puts him where he does best in the comics – interacting with the other X-Men.
How Wade Wilson mingles with others is the best part of Wade Wilson. Needless to say, the franchise turns that up to 11 for Deadpool 2. Our “Merc with a Mouth” isn’t just interacting with X-Men characters from the last film, but with the haphazardly newly constructed team of X-Force members.
There are some jokes that just didn’t hit like they did in the first Deadpool. Mostly because they are more of the same knocks on studios that have featured other films Reynolds has unfortunately starred in. And some of the jokes are so comic-book lore heavy that it hardly registers with a casual viewer. Even I had a bit of trouble getting some of those jokes (sorry, I’m not that deep in the Deadpool library).
It’s in the heartfelt interaction with the X-Men members that Reynold’s dialogue really delivers. Without getting into too much spoiler territory, the merc with a mouth does want to do the right thing despite the odds being against him. A lot of what was being expressed in the film made it feel like what the X-Men films should have been. Maybe with Deadpool more along for the ride as a third-wheel, fourth-wall-breaking character, he could serve as a check-in on the audience.
Some of the jokes hit better in the first Deadpool film, and that can be attributed to the writing team. It seems like the writing team for Deadpool 2 focused on other areas, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Deadpool forms a team out of necessity with the task of infiltrating a convoy. Cable is expected to show up at some point. We get that little intro scene to each character and we cut right to the chase.
I won’t spoil too much about the team, except that I wanted more from each member. Their interaction with Deadpool is light and almost non-existent.
With a roster like this in a film, it’s hard to give all the characters a proper spotlight for more than a minute. This is ultimately a Deadpool movie. It’s my hope that in a future film, we could find out a bit more about these characters. With three more movies supposedly in the X-Force franchise, we might get to know them more than the short time we have with them in Deadpool 2.
Leave it to John Wick director David Leitch to make a film filled with action in ways that boggle the mind. Leitch manages to use some of Deadpool’s more body twisting physics in some of the grittier battle scenes, while playing with the powers of other characters during their individual action sequences. Just think John Wick with a the ability to heal himself almost instantaneously. How far could a man go if he knew his body could bounce back in a moment? What could a woman in a fight do, knowing everything would work out in her favor?
The film takes that sort of imaginative approach to brutal close-quarters combat and mutant abilities to the next level. Granted, there are some scenes that needed some polishing in the CG department. There are a few characters that could’ve better benefited from a mo-cap performance but were relegated to full CG. It’s almost painfully obvious from some of the awkward movements and robotic stances that the shots needed some more time in post.
But there’s a suspension of disbelief because the fighting is so absolutely enjoyable. I give Leitch credit for diving into territory that X-Men films in the past have only slightly delved into. The choreography in Deadpool’s fight with Cable is amazing. I say it hands down beats the naked fight he had with Ajax in the first Deadpool film.
We’ve had a year of movies with all-star casting in superhero films, beginning with Black Panther, then Avengers: Infinity War, and now in Deadpool 2. There are performances in these movies that left me feeling short-changed. Deadpool 2 is no exception to this, and I’ve already expressed my desire to have more screen time with some more X-Force members. So I’ll just give a few stand out performances who played well to contrast Ryan Reynolds.
Cable: Josh Brolin plays a convincing gritty soldier from the future. How he manages to deliver the moral complexity that is of Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, and switch gears to be the hardened cyborg Cable is noteworthy in the realm of performances. His backstory is a bit of a deviation from the comics, but I don’t think comic fans will be angry at that. Still, there’s a lot the audience doesn’t know. My hope is that we can dive into his history as the son of the Goblin Queen and Cyclops, the techno-organic virus, how Essex fits in with Stryfe and Apocalypse and the Legacy Virus and… Maybe we should just wait on all that for now.
Domino: Zazie Beats plays sass with confidence in this role. Given that her luck is her greatest weapon, it’s a character trait that I can dig and doesn’t fall too far off into the realm of disbelief. If everything was going to go my way despite all obstacles, I’d charge forward with an an almost arrogant confidence as well.
The kid: Julian Dennison plays the lost teenager role well. The X-Men are made up of mutants who fall out of the social graces of humanity. Being different because they posed a threat to society through their powers, humanity sought their containment and/or eradication. This doesn’t fall far from the teenage experience, except for the threatening. Imagine as a teen going through radical changes in your body already, to have even more happen through adolescence where you’re now a freak of nature. Dennison portrays the emotional roller coaster of that teenage experience coupled with the label of being a danger to society.
There’s many more I could list. But I think it’s more important that I talk about something that makes this film unique in its genre.
Feels like a true X-Men film
And here we have to tip our fedora to Reynolds’ (or Leitch’s, or Fox Studios’) attempt to bring us back into the X-Men fold. The franchise has been on a downward spiral lately, with X-Men: Apocalypse not performing as well as the previous entry X-Men: Days of Future Past. Plus, there’s lackluster interest in the latest film X-Men: Dark Phoenix. So, we have to wonder how Fox will manage to get our attention to the mutants again.
And so we have Deadpool. He actually has sympathy toward Julian Dennison’s character. This changes the dynamic of the Deadpool franchise quite a bit. In this film, Deadpool manages to take on a mentor role for the kid as well as protector. In this new position, he does his best to steer the kid in a better direction.
This is the heart of what an X-Men film should be. I kind of got that with the first X-Men film with Rogue. She leaves her home after almost draining the life from her boyfriend at the time. She ends up in a family she could relate to in the X-Men.
My biggest complaint about that film was its focus on Jackman’s portrayal of Wolverine more than that teenage/lost experience. But where the X-Men films have only touched on it in some ways, Deadpool delivered in every way.
Deadpool 2 delivers in heart what other X-Men films have mostly failed at doing in their runs. The movie is a cacophony of action and plot that defies reason. David Leitch choreographs mutant abilities to their gory and ridiculous limits. Add to that a dialogue that manages to grab the feels of an X-Men film. And a narrative that moves along with a progressing story line in real time. Having praised those aspects of the film, there’s some CG work left to be done. Yet we don’t catch a lot of it because the action is so fast-paced. There are characters I would have liked to see more of on screen. However, the top-billed characters get plenty of screen time and development. Here’s to hoping they continue well into the future of the franchise. And maybe we’ll get a little more from those other characters as well.
- Action Scenes are well choreographed and play well to mutant abilities
- Dialogue and Storyline make it feel like the X-Men movie we've been waiting to see
- Some memorable characters that could carry the franchise in future films
- Other interesting characters not featured as much
- Some jokes overused/meta humor didn't land well
- CG in areas looks unfinished