Winking, Nodding, and Settling: Our Review of ‘Deadpool 2’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - May 18, 2018
Winking, Nodding, and Settling: Our Review of ‘Deadpool 2’

Josh Brolin for the second consecutive month will be playing a surprisingly compelling and almost sympathetic super-villain in a comic book movie; in Deadpool 2 he is Cable, whereas in Avengers: Infinity War he played the purple giant Thanos. At one point when our titular hero here faces off against Cable, he refers to him as Thanos.

It’s funny, I suppose. Or rather, people laughed at the theater, because it’s supposed to be funny. The character we are watching on screen knows he is in a movie, and also watches other movies, so it’s like that snake that eats its own in a never-ending loop.

The first Deadpool was propelled by this shock and novelty, something the least bit refreshing in the onslaught of superhero movies of the last decade. Breaking the fourth wall was bewildering to audiences. So with a sequel, there is no more newness, no more surprise, and the filmmakers need to pick up the slack elsewhere.

Instead, the flaws in its conceit are even more evident, as a film wants to simultaneously subvert and embrace the genre. It makes fun of other movies, and some of the jokes work, for instance mocking Batman v. Superman, while others don’t. Commenting on the fact that the DC superhero universe is dark is both an easy, superficial observation and also something that was done five years ago. There are Avengers references and of course plenty of X-Men talk, since Deadpool is sort of the R-Rated cousin of that ongoing film series, but the jokes teasing those films are made to the audience that embraces them, and would have seen to understand.

Deadpool relies on the genre it looks to mock, and it’s especially strained in this sequel, which sets up a revenge quest for Wade Wilson, and insists we have some emotional attachment. Both Wade and the film have arbitrary goals and morals, essentially whatever is needed to play for laughs or tension. An early montage sees him mercilessly killing slews of supposed bad guys, but later in the film he becomes more selective about murder. What is masquerading as character growth is just convenience.

Still, this sequel in what looks to offer if not another entry, at least some spinoffs, is funny and entertaining, especially anytime Brolin’s futuristic terminator villain spars, physically and verbally with Wade. Cable is a man bent on killing Russell, a young, rotund mutant with pyrotechnic abilities and anger issues subjected to tests and torture at a reformation school. Wade takes a liking to him, and forms a team of superheroes to go after Cable and save the kid.

Entertaining and absurd sequences are punctuated by procedural scenes in the film; Deadpool 2 features a band of enhanced people taking on a super villain in order to save something or other, and there is lots of explosions and big set pieces. It’s certainly funny and entertaining, but it’s repeated attempts to tell you it’s one thing and not this other thing is disingenuous and annoying.

The film is by no means bad, and in fact it’s perfectly funny and satisfying in it’s above averageness – but the foundation on which it has been built is gone. And without it, it’s just yet another superhero film, just with more blood and bad language.

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