Deadpool 2 (aka Love Machine / Daisy / DP 2) review by Mark McPherson - Cinema Paradiso
There’s a lot of pressure on such a game-changer as Deadpool coming back stronger for a sequel. The first film was such a surprise as both a savagely R-rated satire on the superhero cinema and a financial success for being R-rated. What does the sequel serve up? Unfortunately, it’s leftover night at the Deadpool compound, reheating the same old antics we’ve seen before. That’s the bad news. The good news is that it’s still a tasty treat of a retreat from the usual superhero affairs, minus the originality.
The film begins with Deadpool realizing he needs to raise the steaks after Wolverine stole the R-rated thunder with the Oscar-nominated Logan. Two can play at that came, he figures, as the story goes about stirring the pathos pot. With a dead girlfriend, he now seeks a means of revenge and finding a purpose. It’s an unlikely path for Wade “Deadpool” Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) to pursue, but he needs a bit of a kick in the pants to get himself going on another action bonanza.
It’s amazing how Reynolds plays up Deadpool with the same level of self-awareness for the silliness of superheroes and overlooks one of the most blatant criticisms of these sequels; the overstuffing of characters. Deadpool is teamed up with the time-traveling mercenary of Cable (Josh Brolin) to prevent the futuristic destruction of the world. That’s enough of a plot right there to give Deadpool someone to stick by as the straight man but there are too many other characters thrown into the mix. He additionally teams up with Domino (Zazie Beetz), a superhero with the power of luck and plot armor. Then there’s the fire-based anti-hero Firefist (Julian Dennison), a kid who may or may bring about Armageddon. Then there are other mutants he teams up. Also, Colossus and Nega return in smaller roles. Also, the prequel X-Men are there.
This script doesn’t exactly offer new jokes as much as expanded ones. Remember how Wade commented on how the Xavier school of gifted mutants seems to have so few mutants? He makes the same joke as a few familiar faces hide behind closed doors from the anti-hero. Not a bad bit but one would think there’d be a better punchline. Something more biting, more scathing. Deadpool seems to be losing that touch as he mostly backs off from the swarm of characters crowding around him, though he still has his moments when hiring on a powerless fat guy for his superhero squad.
Deadpool 2 doesn’t reinvent itself, but it still finds the last few drops of humor worth milking from the previous film. One of the strongest bits finds Ryan Reynolds giving a big middle finger to the film’s timeline, Fox’s X-Men movies, and his very career. But in all the meta humor madness I think the film forgets itself, save for one brief moment where Reynolds looks into the camera during an explanation of time travel and remarks that’s just sloppy writing. Perhaps Deadpool 3 will be mindful enough not to repeat itself; you can only make fun of yourself so many times before the bit isn’t funny and that day could come with a trilogy capper.