Deadpool is not an easy character to portray in any medium, and the task of bringing him into the mainstream is a gargantuan ask. Yet, over the course of three (kinda) films, on the back of Ryan Reynolds, Fox managed to do it. Deadpool's road to successful R-rated films wasn't an easy one.
He had to be dragged through the mud first in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a rendition that's so terrible that even the studio is poking fun at its misfire. Then, the seeds for a true-to-form Deadpool were sewn with a breakout standalone film that nearly didn't see the light of day before it broke all sorts of records for an R-rated film. But if you ask me, it wasn't until the sequel that everything really started to come together and the formula really fit into place.
If you aren't familiar with Deadpool yet, nothing is really off the table. His gimmick is to constantly break the fourth wall and reference all sorts of meta-narrative bits and pieces of pop culture history; no property, whether it's owned by Fox or not, is safe. This arena is where the sequel steps up to the plate the most. In the first film a lot of the script was geared toward general shock humour, to the point of feeling like a generic parody at times. But here, with the concept already proven, Fox is willing to go big, taking on the Marvel Cinematic and DC universes, as well as legitimate payoffs for their own X-Men continuity.
There's skits and twists in Deadpool 2 that legitimately surprised me, eliciting not only a belly laugh but a brief moment of awe in several cases. It sounds hyperbolic but there's a few characters in the film that have never been shown in an R-rated fashion before, making it a rather monumental moment in the history of X-Men in film -- even though they're not the focus by a long shot, these efforts manage to outshine even recent X-Men entries.
Ryan Reynolds does some heavy lifting here but the success of the film doesn't rest entirely on his shoulders, as he has a little more help this time. His relationship with Colossus is much more fleshed out thanks to a charismatic vocal performance by Stefan Kapičić, and Zazie Beetz is absolutely fantastic as Domino, who may even be the breakout star of Deadpool 2. Julian Dennison, most notable for his turn as Ricky Baker in the indie classic Hunt for the Wilderpeople, is also charming as the young mutant Firefist. As strong as the cast is, the only holdup is Cable. While his action scenes are inspired and it's great to see the character front and center for once, Josh Brolin isn't given a whole lot to do until the very end when he finally gets the chance to put a spin on the character.
Capped by one of the best post-credits scenes in recent memory, Deadpool 2 is pretty much non-stop, high-octane insanity. Some of its serious bits drag but those are few and far between, and never really hit any of the same lows as its counterparts in the first film. It's an improvement in just about every way, plain and simple, and as long as Domino is along for the ride I wouldn't mind seeing some more follow-ups.
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