Deadpool 2

 

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The meta-centric, wise-cracking superhero is back in a sequel that doesn’t let the side down.

 

Deadpool 2
  

Nobody saw Deadpool coming. It was a superhero movie that refused to play by the rules. It was irreverent, self-referential, sadistic and hugely entertaining. And it made $783 million worldwide. The inevitable sequel, on which its star Ryan Reynolds now has a credited role as co-writer, is irreverent, self-referential, sadistic and hugely entertaining. Phew. There is a fair amount of the old CGI, but at least Deadpool warns us (“Big CGI fight coming up!”). The story itself is largely irrelevant, as it’s just an excuse to hang a lot of wild and crazy dialogue on, referencing everybody from Justin Bieber to John Candy via Barbra Streisand. There’s a new villain, in the form of the time-travelling badass Cable (Josh Brolin, stepson of Barbra Streisand), but even his narrative is given short thrift (“That is just lazy writing,” DP complains). However, Cable, like the indestructible Thanos that Brolin plays in Avengers: Infinity War, is one tough antagonist (DP: “You’re so dark – you sure you’re not from the D.C. Universe?”).

 

Deadpool is of course the alter ego of Wade Wilson, a former Special Forces operative with cancer who, in the first film, underwent extreme surgery that left him hideously scarred but empowered with an accelerated healing factor. Here, in his quest to best Cable, alongside some new mutant recruits (with suspect superpowers), he undergoes horrendous injuries, which are graphically rendered. But, hey, “even I can’t kill me”, DP jokes. Then an even greater villain than Cable emerges, the giant mutant Juggernaut (“‘Let’s-Fuck-Some-Shit-Up’ is my legal middle name”). It gets brutal, but the mayhem is sweetened by a joyful soundtrack, with a fondness for gay icons and torch songstresses such as Cher, Céline Dion and Pat Benatar. A particularly grisly montage is accompanied by Dolly Parton warbling ‘9 to 5’. Of course, it’s all done in the best possible taste.

 

With a nod to a brave new world, Deadpool renames the ‘X-Men’ the ‘X-Force’ and a new mutant is introduced in the form of a plus-size fourteen-year-old New Zealand boy (Julian Dennison, from Hunt for the Wilderpeople). In addition, Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) saunters out of the closet alongside her chirpy ninja girlfriend Yukio (Shioli Kutsuna). Even so, the film is not afraid to exploit such themes as cancer, suicide and paedophilia. Nothing, it seems, is out of bounds. Not even Ryan Reynolds’ previous turn as D.C. Comics’ superhero Green Lantern (a veritable box-office dud) gets off the hook. Revenge is sweet, indeed. If Deadpool 2 fails to reach the giddy heights of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy – or even the more recent, mind-blowing Doctor Strange – it’s a decidedly shameful guilty pleasure.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, T.J. Miller, Brianna Hildebrand, Jack Kesy, Eddie Marsan, Shioli Kutsuna, Stefan Kapičić, Leslie Uggams, Karan Soni, Bill Skarsgård, Terry Crews, Rob Delaney, Brad Pitt, Alan Tudyk, and (uncredited) James McAvoy, Evan Peters, Tye Sheridan and Nicholas Hoult.

 

Dir David Leitch, Pro Simon Kinberg, Ryan Reynolds and Lauren Shuler Donner, Screenplay Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick and Ryan Reynolds, Ph Jonathan Sela, Pro Des David Scheunemann, Ed Dirk Westervelt, Craig Alpert and Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir, Music Tyler Bates, Costumes Kurt and Bart.

 

Marvel Entertainment/Kinberg Genre/The Donners' Company-20th Century Fox.

119 mins. USA. 2018. Rel: 15 May 2018. Cert. 15.