I don’t really like Deadpool, the character that is. I think his inclusion in comics is just a personification of modern day internet trolls who think cynicism is the same thing as wisdom. Some writers have been able to use him to great effect, but the far more lasting impact he has is jerks cosplaying him as an excuse to run around causing havoc at conventions.
However, I really like 2016’s Deadpool, not just because it’s a superhero cracking jokes and skulls alike, but because of it’s filmmaking achievement. Deadpool is, in many ways, a perfect movie. Not because of it’s hard hitting drama or brilliant performances, but rather because it has a clear goal in mind, and it accomplishes that goal with flying colors.
Now, the sequel is out, teasing more jokes, more action, and a whole lot more jabs aimed at the Superhero-Industrial Complex. In summary, if you like the first one, this will be right up your alley. But upon closer examination, some interesting paradox’s become apparent.
First, let’s start with the titular Merc with a Mouth, Ryan Reynolds. Reynolds has been working tirelessly for years at getting this franchise off the ground (even earning himself a writer’s credit in Deadpool 2), and with out him we wouldn’t have ever seen either this film or its predecessor.
Reynolds is again note-perfect as Deadpool, and has such a clear vision of who he want’s this character to be. The banter, the witty asides, the impressive practical action, this is one of the best actor/character pairings since Jackman/Wolverine or Downey Jr./Iron Man.
He’s joined by a larger cast of mutants this go around (thanks to a notably larger budget) that help flesh out the universe and really explore the franchise’s potential for future films.
Josh Brolin’s Cable (referred to as Thanos one too many times for my liking) plays the straight man, delivering dry, subtle moments of comedy amidst a sea of gloom and doom. Atlanta’s Zazzie Beetz plays Domino, a character who’s superpower seems to be looking cool while mayhem ensues around her.
There are plenty of other side characters, cameo’s, and bit roles that make appearances, but the only one really worth mentioning is comedian Rob Delany’s incredible cameo as Peter. Seriously, he’s far and away the best part of the film.
Throw all these characters together, and you get a really wonderful superhero comedy, worthy of being the followup to the highest grossing R-Rated film ever. The action is bigger, the jokes are, well, more Deadpool-ier, and it’s all around a great continuation of these characters and stories.
However, there’s just something off about the whole thing.
A lot of people have pegged Deadpool as a superhero satire, and I couldn’t disagree more. Sure, like a lot of satires, Deadpool takes a popular genre, in this case the superhero film, and subverts the tropes you’d expect to see. There’s just one thing missing: a genuine appreciation of it’s source material.
Galaxy Quest, a riff on Star Trek, is my favorite satire of all time. It’s a brilliant examination about what makes the original Star Trek series of films and TV shows great and adorably odd. While watching Galaxy Quest, you can tell it’s filmmakers have a genuine love for the Star Trek universe. They aren’t making fun of Star Trek, they’re celebrating it, quirks and all.
Deadpool 2, on the other hand, does not have reverence for the superhero film. The entire movie feels like it was written by a troll who has genuine distain for the genre. The superhero flick isn’t being celebrated, it’s being condemned. It’s simply incredibly mean spirited.
I love superheroes movies and the comics they were based on. But I’m not going to pretend they are all without their flaws. Not everything in the MCU is perfection, and since 1978’s Superman, every film in the genre has had it’s own oddities and quirks.
But, just because something is flawed, doesn’t make it bad. Often, that’s what makes it great. Deadpool 2 fails to realize this, and simply comes across as a CinemaSins script, making sure you know it’s better than normal superhero movies, because superhero movies are stupid.
This would be easy to write off, but theres something even more troubling about Deadpool 2 calling all superhero movies lesser-than: the fact that Deadpool 2 is a superhero movie. It prominently features all those things it ridicules other films for having.
If you wanted to make a movie that throws shade at superheroes, the worst thing you can do it make it a typical superhero movie. The CGI villains, the wonky continuity, the love-story, it’s all there. Meaning not only is Deadpool 2 mean spirited, it’s incredibly hypocritical.
So what does this all mean? Well, in summary, 20th Century Fox just spent 200 million dollars to make a superhero movie that tells it’s viewers that superhero movies are stupid, and they’re stupid for liking them.
This would be fine if Deadpool 2 were made by a ragtag group of filmmakers who genuinely wanted to use their platform to advocate box office dollars be spent on other films. But it wasn’t, it was made by the third largest studio in Hollywood, with the second largest superhero universe to date.
Fox clearly thinks superhero flicks are dumb, but that won’t stop them from making X-Men Dark Phoenix, The New Mutants, Deadpool 3, X-Force, a Kitty Pryde movie, a Multiple Man movie, a Gambit movie, and a Silver Surfer movie, all of which are currently in active development at Fox. Fox is asking for your money and calling you an idiot for giving it to them.
Look, if you just want an entertaining superhero movie with a sarcastic badass at the center, this is a great choice. Honestly, I got a lot of enjoyment watching the interplay between Deadpool and the cast of characters in tow. But I left the theater feeling off. Like I was foolish for wanting to enjoy it. That’s a bad taste in my mouth that I certainly didn’t enjoy.
Rating: 2.9 — Meh.