Amidst the array of superhero movies this year, Deadpool 2 offers a unique perspective in the genre with its humour, style, and the characterisation of its protagonist. Like the first, Deadpool 2 brings calamity, witty lines, R-rated sequences and dialogue, and the breaking of the fourth wall which made the first film so popular. So how does this film compare to the rest?
Ryan Reynolds. Like the first encounter, Ryan Reynolds plays Deadpool with such ease. Many would find it hard to find another who could play this fun, cheeky anti-hero as well as he does, and it it would seem that the role was made just for him (ignoring his first attempt in Wolverine Origins). After learning that Reynolds half-scripted some of the lines, it is clear he is whole-heartedly devoted to the role and will inevitably keep playing Deadpool if a strong public need still requires him to do so.
Domino. Unlike many of the other new characters who were brushed aside, Domino (played by Zazie Beetz) became the latest of likeable badass heroes. What seemed to be an endorsement and extension of female empowerment seen in Black Panther, introducing Domino into Deadpool 2 was a clever move. Her power, being ‘luck’, meant that CGI was not needed (i.e. no power lasers, steel body, etc), but what it did mean was that we got to see cool, fun action and fighting sequences that looked extremely impressive. Although we didn’t learn much about Domino, her presence and involvement was vital in bringing something new and refreshing into the franchise.
Action. Loads and loads of action. Action scenes made this film so much fun to watch, and although CGI realism were a hit and miss in some places, overall the fighting scenes were thrilling. Some of the best action scenes involved Josh Brolin as Cable who was superb for a man who just entered his fifties. Also playing Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, Brolin has had a great year and has made himself more known to a new, younger generation.
The Storytelling. Like the first, the weakness in Deadpool 2 lies within the storyline and the telling of. In the first instalment we get to see the necessary origin story, but in the final chapter it becomes a mundane adventure of “kill the baddie and save the girl”. In Deadpool 2 the story was slightly more complex, but it never really felt as epic as the storyline may suggest. Deadpool has to save a boy with relentless fire power, A.K.A Firefist, from killing the guy who has been torturing him from a young age. If the boy succeeds in his vengeance then his taste for blood will lead to an apocalyptic future. We know this because the boy is the reason why Cable, a soldier-type ‘villain’, has traveled through time. In the future, Firefist has killed Cable’s family, so to stop this from happening Cable travels to the past with the intent to kill the boy. The problem with the movie is that we don’t really get the sense of what the future looks like with only the movie giving the audience a few second glimpses. If we take X-men: Days of Future Past as another example with a similar storyline, we see and get to explore a dystopian future caused by the actions of one mutant - Mystique. We therefore understand the urgency of what is at stake. But in Deadpool 2, this understanding is non-existent. We don’t even get the chance to know Cable’s family which would have made the audience more sympathetic to him and his cause, and this leads us to the fact that the film suffers from a.....
Lack of Emotion/Too Much Humour. Some of the most poignant and memorable scenes were those that were stripped down to its heart. Throughout, Deadpool is in emotional pain due to the loss of his girlfriend. Seeing him meet his girlfriend in the ‘afterlife’ were truly outstanding moments and gave a massive contrast to the ‘over-the-topness’ abundance throughout the film’s entirety. But these scenes were too few for me to really care about him or any other characters. When things did get ‘real’, we really never got the chance to feel what we should be feeling, because Deadpool always had to throw in a quip or jibe. Some of the seriousness of what was actually happening were brushed aside by a joke or some other form of humour: Colossus trying to comfort Deadpool, Firefist’s anger, Cable’s ferocity and intensity, Deadpool’s sacrificial finale, all were extinguished by Deadpool’s whimsy wisecracks. Of course, this is typical of the character, but it prevented the movie from being elevated to more than just your average superhero action film.
Introduction to New Characters (Major spoiler here). As fore-mentioned, the introduction to Domino gave the film a breath of fresh air. But there were other characters who were introduced that could have done the same. When Deadpool decides to get a team together to help him on his quest to save the boy, a hilarious sequence of interviews of willing and potential members takes place. Unfortunately for them, apart from Domino, they are all abruptly killed off, so some hardcore comic-book fans may be left disappointed that the film didn’t get to explore other characters such as Shatterstar. For me though, the biggest disappointment was killing Terry Crews. I had no idea he was in this film, and when the film sets up the notion that Terry Crews is a superhero, I got so excited. But he dies within 10 minutes and so my excitement was short-lived. Furthermore, the sequel again invites along the same two X-men characters, but by the end of the film we still really didn’t get an in-depth look at their backstory. Only Colossus seemed to have done something useful (fighting Juggernaut), but what the film doesn’t seem to understand is that Colossus isn’t always made of steel and that he can transform back to his human body, so it would have been interesting to see what his human physical qualities are. The other X-man, Negasonic Teenage Warhead (whose name I had to Google), didn’t really do anything, and I was left still confused about what her powers are. We find out that Negasonic has a girlfriend who also has super powers, but we only get to see a glimpse of what she can do for only a few seconds towards the finale. Then there’s the Juggernaut. Yes, he is definitely an improved version from the Juggernaut in X-men 3, but his CGI look was still too CGI and I would have liked to know more about his story and his background. Instead he was a side character only used to get Colossus, Negasonic and her girlfriend more involved in the movie, as opposed to using a character to progress the story in a meaningful way.
So, should you go see Deadpool 2? Sure. It’s definitely an enjoyable movie. Is it great? Not really, especially when you compare it to Avengers: Infinity War, released only a couple of weeks before Deadpool 2. Some might find this comparison to be unfair, but Marvel has set the bar for storytelling, character sympathy, and pure ‘epicness’. If Deadpool is going to continue to involve other super-powered heroes, it needs to develop them and build a rapport between them and the audience. The film also needs to let emotional moments be emotional, and not let humour get in the way of allowing the audience to be more responsive to sentiment.