When “Deadpool” came out in 2016, it was a breath of fresh air among the comic book genre. It was a Meta, comedic take on what had become a more serious genre. Oh, and it also involved lots of blood, violence, and nudity. It was the first viable example of an R-rated comic book film – and above all of this, it made tons of money at the box office. So, the sequel (which was hinted in the first movie) was inevitable. As groundbreaking as its predecessor was, “Deadpool 2” can’t escape the normal sequel trappings.
Hollywood likes to take what works and then make it bigger and louder. Part of what made the original film work is that it wasn’t a big budget, action fest. The character was an outsider and his film had a different feel to it. That feeling is gone with the sequel, and it’s obvious that Deadpool is one of the most popular kids in school – there’s even a fun cameo throwing back to the character complaining about not enough money in the budget to get the real X-men to appear.
In addition to being larger in scale, “Deadpool 2” suffers from a lack of succinctness. It meanders through its first hour, trying to service the characters from the first film, when in all honesty; it’d be a leaner and better version if it ignored most of them. This is most obvious with controversial actor T.J. Miller’s character, Weasel, who could have been cut and the audience wouldn’t have been any wiser.
After two movies, Deadpool’s antics haven’t necessarily gotten tiresome, but the sequel does highlight the Merc with a mouth’s Achilles heel – his supporting cast. Ryan Reynolds’ mouthy antihero needs to have a strong cast of characters surrounding him. His objective this time around involves saving Russell, a fire happy teenage mutant from being killed by time traveler Cable (Josh Brolin, who also plays Thanos in the Marvel Cinematic Universe). The world – and the audience – would be better off if Deadpool would just hand Russell over to Cable and be on his merry way. Lightning hasn’t struck twice with this franchise’s teenaged mutants that you can rally behind.
Cable is a strong counterpart to Deadpool, but it takes almost an hour for him to join the party. Once he does join, the film finally finds its footing. The other welcome addition is Domino (Zazie Beetz, of TV’s “Atlanta”), one of the new recruits for the X-Force squad. Like Cable, she comes in too late in the film for its own good.
The script, which Reynolds helped write this time around, doesn’t have the same stakes or emotional pull that the original’s revenge plot offered. The actor is still quick with a quip, which helps to keep you entertained while you’re waiting for the action to get started, but his batting average on landing the jokes isn’t quite as good.
In the last two years since “Deadpool” was released, the comic book genre has continued to evolve. This year alone, we have seen “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War” released. “Deadpool” hasn’t evolved, just become a bigger, more joke-filled version of itself. There are still plenty of laughs, but it is already showing its age under the excess dead weight it is carrying.