"DEADPOOL 2" (2018)
Back in early 2016, Twentieth Century Fox and Marvel Films released "DEADPOOL", the eighth installment in the X-MEN film franchise. The movie told the story a former special forces operative named Wade Wilson, who hunted down the man who had disfigured him, while giving him special abilities. The movie proved to be a surprising hit, which spawned a sequel called . . . what else? "DEADPOOL 2".
Unlike the 2016 movie, "DEADPOOL 2" featured a different director named David Leitch. The same screenwriters from the first film - Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick - also wrote this film. However, they were joined by the film's star, Ryan Reynolds. Considering my dislike of "DEADPOOL", I did not want to see this sequel. Unfortunately, a relative of mine did. And she wanted to see it on her birthday. And so . . . I find myself writing this review.
Wade Wilson had become very successful as the costumed vigilante known as Deadpool for the past two years. However, on the very night he and his girlfriend are celebrating their anniversary together, Wade fails to kill one of his targets, a vicious and vengeful gangster. The gangster interrupts the couple's celebration and tries to kill Wade . . . and ends up killing Vanessa, instead. Wade spends the next six months wallowing in grief over Vanessa's death before he attempts . . . and fails to commit suicide. In response, his old friend, Colossus, talks Wade into joining the X-Men as a mean to recover from his grief. Deadpool, Colossus, and Negasonic Teenage Warhead respond to a standoff between the police and an unstable young mutant Russell Collins (aka Firefist) at an orphanage labeled a "Mutant Reeducation Center". When Wade realizes that Russell has been abused by the orphanage staff, he kills one of the staff members. Both Deadpool and Russell are arrested, restrained with collars that suppress their powers, and taken to the Ice Box - an isolated prison for mutant criminals. Meanwhile, a cybernetic soldier named Cable arrives from the future. The latter's family was murdered by an older Russell. And Cable has time traveled to the past to kill a younger Russell and prevent the deaths of his family.
There were aspects of "DEADPOOL 2" that I did not like or found difficult to swallow. I must admit that I found it difficult that Vanessa was killed off so early in the film and literally "fridged" for the sake of Wade's character. I must admit that some of the gratuitous violence shown in the film for the sake of comedy is still a bit hard to swallow. However, chances are I will get used to it. Also, a part of me wishes that the movie had featured a bit more of the X-Force team that Wade and his friend Weasel had recruited before most of them were wiped out. But I have two major complaints about this movie. One, the major story arc for "DEADPOOL 2" - Deadpool's attempt to prevent Russell Collins' death at the hands of time traveler Cable - seemed like a re-hash (read: ripoff) of Rian Johnson's 2012 movie, "LOOPER". My second major complaint about the movie focused on Cable's fate at the end of the film. Deadpool managed to prevent Russell from becoming a murderer . . . and killing Cable's family in the future. This meant that Cable's trip to the past should have been averted. So, why was he still around in the early 21st century? Hel-lo?? No one else noticed this major faux pas? Another faux pas featured appearances by James McAvoy as Charles Xavier and members of the X-Men who were featured in "X-MEN: APOCALYPSE". All I can say is . . . WHAT?? "DEADPOOL 2" is set in the early 21st century, not the early 1980s? What were Reynolds and the other filmmakers thinking?
Looking back, perhaps it is a good thing that "DEADPOOL 2" seemed like a rip-off of "LOOPER". At least this allowed the film to actually possess a solid narrative . . . unlike the first film. Unlike Rian Johnson's 2012 movie, Wade was no younger version of the murderous Cable. In fact, Wade's initial concern for Russell's fate seemed to be a case of paying lip-service for the sake of using their situation to keep his mind off his grief. I must say that although I was initially put off by Vanessa's death; I liked how Reynolds, Reese and Wernick used Vanessa's "ghost" to finally Wade to be serious about preventing Cable from killing Russell. And due to this new determination of Wade's, led to his formation of the X-Force team. It was at this point that the film rose to a higher level and when I truly began to enjoy it. Watching Wade and Weasel recruit members for the new X-Force team was so much fun to watch. I could say that the pièce de résistance of this sequence was the team's efforts to free Russell from a prison-transfer convoy and defend him from Cable. It was violent, somewhat gory and yet . . . rather funny. Dark humor at its best. My other favorite action sequence proved to be the last one in which Deadpool and a few others that include Cable, try to prevent Russell from committing his first murder - against the orphanage's headmaster.
I must admit that I found the cast phenomenal. Ryan Reynolds' portrayal of Wade Wilson struck me as even more impressive than it was in the first film. Reynolds managed to walk a fine line between humor and pathos, as he combined his usual Deadpool schtick with the character's continuing grief over Vanessa's death. Another first-rate performance came from Josh Brolin, who did a great job in combining Cable's murderous intent to kill Russell in order to prevent his family's deaths and his constant annoyance at Deadpool's needling humor. Zazie Beetz was sensational as the good-luck prone mutant, Domino, whose sharp wit and constant good luck managed to get under Deadpool's skin. Another excellent performance came from the young New Zealand actor Julian Dennison, who did a great job in conveying Russell Collins aka Firefist's rage at his abusive headmaster and desperation to escape.
The movie also featured very good performances from Jack Kesy and Shioli Kutsuna. Stefan Kapičić (voice of Colossus), Leslie Uggams (Blind Al), T.J. Miller (in a reduced role as Weasel), Karan Soni (Dopinder) and Brianna Hildebrand (Negasonic Teenage Warhead) all reprised their roles from the 2016 film and were entertaining as usual. Morena Baccarin gave a humorous, yet poignant performance in her few brief appearances as Wade's fiancée Vanessa. And Eddie Marsan was suitable creepy as Russell's abusive headmaster at the orphanage. Those actors who briefly appeared as other members of Wade's "Team X-Force" were very entertaining - namely Terry Crews, Lewis Tan, Bill Skarsgård, Brad Pitt (surprisingly) and a very funny Rob Delaney.
What else can I say about "DEADPOOL 2"? Well . . . my father did not like it for reasons that elude me. I, on the other hand, enjoyed it very much. And I never thought I would, considering my low opinion of "DEADPOOL". One of the film's mid-credit scenes featured Deadpool using Cable's time traveling device to kill the "X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE" version of his character and Ryan Reynolds before he could write the 2011 movie, "GREEN LANTERN". Frankly, I think he should have killed the writers of "DEADPOOL" instead. But if that had happened, I do not know if "DEADPOOL 2" would have been made. Thanks to a talented cast led by Ryan Reynolds, the movie's screenwriters and director David Leitch, I enjoyed the film that much.