Well, fuck. This movie frustrated the fuck outta me. Deadpool has pierced the social zeitgeist like no one else. The 2016 film was a cultural phenomenon, boasting a plethora of meta-references to the superhero genre, at a time when superhero films had reach peak saturation. Deadpool was a refreshing splash in the face with brilliant marketing and the phenomenal Ryan Reynolds. Now I’m not going to say Deadpool 2 is bad, because it’s not. But it’s certainly not as adept at capturing the hearts and minds of superhero fans around the globe as the first was, let alone the general movie going audience. It’s frustrating. I am frustrated. Because where Deadpool 2 let me down was predominantly with its humour, and that’s the one thing I thought I could trust Ryan Reynolds with. Humour, and looking handsome as fuck. Thus, behold my rant on why Deadpool 2 irritated me, whilst still managing to be a perfectly competent film.
Off the bat, Deadpool 2 is referencing the first film. Mimicking its beats, jokes, and structure – a whole fucking lot. A bit too much. Where Deadpool opened with a scene halfway through plot and then takes you back, Deadpool 2 sort of does the same thing, for no real reason other than the first one did it. The opening credits are a satire of another well-known franchise that I won’t mention(they are actually amazing), but the title cards for the opening credits aren’t nearly as witty and well thought out as the first film. It begins to feel very much like “remember Deadpool? From a few years ago? Yeah, you liked that, didn’t you! Yeah, we’re doing the same shit! Fucking, eat it up, bitches!”
On occasion, Deadpool 2 earns its call-back jokesfrom the first film. There’s a point in the mid-section of the film (and in the mid-section of Deadpool, you’ll understand when you see it) where there’s a very distinct joke calling back to the first Deadpool. This joke is earned, it pushes the envelope further, it’s well worth the reference and inclusion. I laughed a whole lot in this scene. I just wish the same amount of thought and energy that went into that joke, went into the rest of the references and call-backs throughout, so it didn’t feel so lazy.
And this is where I get really angry. Just because you call yourself out on something, doesn’t make it okay. Just because Deadpool can turn to the camera and say “well that’s just lazy writing” doesn’t mean you weren’t just lazy with your writing. You’re still being fucking lazy! You’re just calling yourself on it!
Deadpool made an interesting narrative choice, where the titular character narrates the action for the audience from the vantage point of halfway through the movie. Thus, when Deadpool made references to the film he’s in, he has knowledge of about half of the film you’re watching, leaving the final act still shrouded in some semblance of mystery, allowing for stakes. What Deadpool 2 did, was let Deadpool make meta-references at the expensive of thefinal act of the film that he’s in. That takes away all the fucking stakes. Why should I care about the ending when your main character is winking and nodding at it all throughout? This is, essentially, where I think they went wrong with Deadpool 2. It’s knowing how successful the humour in the first was, and allowing that to supersede the story you’re trying to tell. It’s undercutting the emotional core of your film for the sake of making jokes. Sure, make me laugh. But don’t forget to make me fucking care.
I’m also not a fan of what they did with X-Force. Whilst it may have worked for some people, the elongated joke (that I won’t ruin here) didn’t pay off enough for the time invested in it, and I’d rather have seen more Cable and Domino instead. Although, The Vanisher? He was totally worth it. (You’ll get that when you see the movie).
Speaking of Domino and Cable, now we’re getting to things that worked. Both of these two were great, I’ve been a big fan of ZazieBeetz from Atlanta and Easy(both shows that are available online, you can stream Atlanta for free on SBS On Demand and Easy is a Netflix original, both totally binge-able and very much worth your time). Josh Brolin is great as Cable, he was great as Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, I’m expecting awesome things from him in Sicario: Day of the Soldado (if you haven’t seen Sicario from back in 2015, get the fuck on it). Brolin is even great in recent smaller films (if you haven’t caught Only The Brave, you can read our review here). Cable and Domino are stellar editions to this franchise, my only gripe is I’d like to see more. I’m willing to bet that’s one thing they’re planning on, though, so no complaints there.
Another big plus is Julian Dennison’s ‘Fire Fist’ (insert obligatory fisting joke here) and how that story arc related to Deadpool and Vanessa. That worked, Dennison and Reynold’s chemistry was outstanding, and if you haven’t familiarised yourself with Taika Waititi’s Hunt for the Wilderpeople where Julian Dennison’s Ricky Baker exploded onto the scene, you’ve been missing out. Other than that, the opening credits are great, the closing credits are even better, and there’s a few touching scenes between Wade and Vanessa that slightly twang at the heartstrings until the films balls it the fuck up.
The action in this film is great though, and that’s to be expected when the director’s previous work includes John Wick and Atomic Blonde, but the change in director from Tim Miller’s Deadpool to David Leitch’s Deadpool 2 does not go unnoticed. If Reynold’s is Deadpool, maybe Miller was the Cable keeping him in line, and now that that’s gone, it’s balls to the wall jokes without a proper handle on where the project’s heading.
Overall, I’d say go watch it. It’s a decent sequel, it’s worth seeing, but I don’t think I need to see it again. Not for a while. Now since this review is coming out about a week after the film’s release, below is a spoiler section for those of you who already took the plunge. You’ve been warned.
Firstly, not a fan of the Juggernaut. I mean, I’m a fan of the character, but Deadpool 2 did not utilize him well. You might as well have cast the giant fucking hammerhead shark from Justice League, which CGI monstrosity was that? I don’t know. I don’t fucking care. Same with Juggernaut. Ironically, Vinnie Jones’ Juggernaut in X-Men: The Last Stand (geeze, that was a cunt-muffin of a movie), yelling “I’m the Juggernaut, bitch!” followed by the plethora of dickhead jokes that Reynolds could have come up with seems like it would have worked a whole lot better in this film, and you can fuck this CGI waste of space off to The Last Stand.
Finally, fuck everyone who thought killing off Vanessa was the way to go. Fuck you. Fuck you sideways with a sandpaper dildo. Really? You’re going to put all this emotional weight into their relationship in the first Deadpool, and then make a movie about killing her off in the second, so Deadpool can go and be all franchisey without having the old ball and chain? Nah, fuck that. You’re undoing all the amazing work you did with the two of them in the first film. Or, if we’re taking the mid-credits scene as canon where Deadpool goes back in time and saves her, then you’re undoing everything you’ve done in this film, and wasted our time anyway! What the hell?!
The worst part is there’s plenty that could have been done with Vanessa Carlysle, who is the mutant Copycat in the comics. For those unfamiliar, her powerset is somewhat of a cross between Mystique and Rogue, where she can shapeshift and change her appearance, as well as copy other mutant’s powers. There are so many ways that could have been worked in. I mean, apart from the opportunity to have her essentially one up everyone on the field of battle by copying their powers, can you imagine all the jokes we could have with Vanessa shape-shifting? Um, what better way to top the sex montage of the first film, than to have a bunch of celebrity cameos in the second!? We could have a Blake Lively cameo – no wait – we could have a Ryan Reynolds on Ryan Reynolds sex scene!
Look, overall, Deadpool 2 isn’t atrocious. It’s okay. Parts of it are good, others are even great, it’s just that this film could have been outstanding – and it just felt good.
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