Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Deadpool 2 (2018)

It's a running joke with people who know enough of my general movie opinions that I tend to be Mr 7/10. I can't really deny this, and yet I don't see anything too wrong with it either. Because, despite trying to see every movie that I can fit into my busy schedule, I will always tend to a) prioritise movies I think I am going to enjoy, and b) look for the good in any film I am watching. What the hell does this have to do with Deadpool 2, you may be wondering, apart from the obvious foreshadowing of exactly what my rating might be. Well, I rated the first Deadpool movie a 7/10 and felt the need to mention it here. It is, in a number of ways, a better film than this sequel, but it also had enough drawbacks to knock it down a few points. Not least among them was the fact that I'd seen the best sequence of the film in a rough version that was used to get the project support and traction, which it very much did.

Basically, you will know a lot of people who rate Deadpool higher than I did, but don't think that I disliked it. I laughed quite a lot. And I laughed quite a lot while watching Deadpool 2 (the biggest laughs involving some brilliant cameos and a mid-credit sequence that may well be the best superhero sting yet). It's a very good sequel . . . but it also has enough drawbacks to knock it down a few points.

Assuming you know the merc with the mouth, what's the story this time around? Well, DP (Ryan Reynolds again, of course) ends up trying to protect a young lad named Russell (Julian Dennison) from a time-travelling badass named Cable (Josh Brolin). There are still only a few X-Men allowed to join our (anti-)hero, budget allowing, but it's obvious that the success of the first film has made it possible to have even more fun this time around.

A lot of the main names return, with the notable exception of director Tim Miller, and that shows in the final product. This is a film that tells an interestingly different story from the first movie while maintaining a consistent tone and style, a "same but different" approach that is exemplified by the hilarious opening credit sequence. David Leitch is no stranger to the character, having directed the wonderful short film "No Good Deed" that showed Deadpool taking far too long to change costume while his help was needed, and he seems comfortable directing what we all know is essentially the chance for Ryan Reynolds to act like a kid in a candy store. If the kid was foul-mouthed and fast-talking and the candy store was full of dismembered limbs, drugs, and objects that could be used as improvised sex toys.

It goes without saying that Reynolds is superb again in the lead role, bagging all the best lines from the script (which he had a hand in, alongside Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick). Dennison gives another fantastic performance that has a number of nods to his previous star turn (in Hunt For The Wilderpeople) and Josh Brolin gives a "supervillain" performance that only comes second to the other main antagonist that he has portrayed recently. Karan Soni returns as taxi-driving Dopinder, Morena Baccarin is the love of Deadpool's life, Brianna Hildebrand still isn't allowed to smile much as Negasonic Teenage Warhead, and T. J. Miller manages to bag some of the better lines not being kept for Reynolds. Zazie Beetz is very enjoyable as a newcomer, Domino, with luck as her superpower, Eddie Marsan is enjoyably horrid, and there are some other people I won't mention because spoiler-free is the way to be.

You get the witty dialogue, another lively soundtrack, and some excellent action set-pieces, but it's interesting that Deadpool 2 falters when it slows things right down and attempts to show some proper emotional depth. It's interesting because it doesn't need to do that. There are some moments that work, judged perfectly between the comedic and the dark and the potentially cheesy, and some that really don't (the finale features a couple of them), but the fact is that the movie was doing a bloody good job before it started to show just how hard it was trying. Throughout most of the runtime, Deadpool 2 is an interesting look at personal responsibility and consequences, whether the actions are good or bad. It looks at cycles of violence and how the abused may damage themselves as they set out to damage their abusers, and there are times when it effortlessly does this better than any of the other superhero movies we have had over the past couple of decades (with the exception of Logan perhaps, ironically enough). But it doesn't do it in a way that interferes with the action or comedy . . . unlike some of the other emotional beats that are crammed in there.

Deadpool 2 - go along for the laughs, stay for the sheer entertainment, and leave while thinking about what they managed to slide inside you while you weren't even noticing (oo-er). Things may not feel as fresh this time around, inevitably, and there's a lack of REAL villainy, but I'm already looking forward to a third film. And everyone should try to see this one before some idiot blurts out some of the best gags.

Can you guess my rating?


Get it, when available, here.
Americans will be able to get it here.
Seriously, if you use either of those links, even to buy other stuff on Amazon, I get the pennies. Give me the pennies. All the pennies.

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