As we continue to plow headlong into the summer movie season, The Merc with a Mouth is back to kick folks, take names, and break the fourth wall once again in “Deadpool 2”. To say that the anticipation for Wade Wilson’s return to the big screen has been off the charts would be an understatement; audiences are hungry for Wade to inject more of his potty-mouthed, super-R-rated banter into the superhero genre. Fans have been equally enthralled to see what stunt-pro turned filmmaker David Leitch brings to Wade’s newest adventure (the fact that Mr. Leitch holds directing credits on the action hits “John Wick” and “Atomic Blonde” probably has something to do with that). So, does Mr. Wilson’s 2016 cinematic opus, The Merc with a Mouth once again deliver the chimichangas? Well, join us and find out!
It goes without saying at this point that Ryan Reynolds was simply born to play Deadpool, and anyone still nursing wounds from his (literally) infamously muted appearance in 2009’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” will leave the theater grinning ear to ear.
While the film hits a home run several times over on the slapstick comedy fans adore Deadpool for, they’ll probably also be more than a little surprised at how heartfelt the film proves to be. After losing his girlfriend Vanessa to the mob, Wade seeks to fill the void left in his heart by forming the new team of mutants, the X-Force, to protect a teenage mutant named Russell Collins aka “Firefist”, (played by Julian Dennison) after rescuing him from an abusive shelter for young mutants.
Wade, of course, would be the first to tell you that he’s hardly role model material, but “Deadpool 2” is nevertheless far more moving at times than anyone would ever expect from the character in question. I freely admit that the ending nearly brought me to tears – bet you never thought you’d read a sentence like that in a review of “Deadpool 2”. And a word to the wise – anyone who’s not yet seen last year’s “Logan” might want to catch up before purchasing a ticket for “Deadpool 2”, or forever hold your peace when that film’s ending is spoiled for you less than a minute in!
The film wastes not a moment jumping headfirst into the comedic action sequences that made “Deadpool” such a blast. Kicking off with a montage of Wade gruesomely slashing swords with various organized gangs set to Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5”, “Deadpool 2” has that much firmer a grasp of matching blood-soaked “Itchy and Scratchy” comic book action with a radically inappropriate soundtrack!
Which brings us to the newest addition to the “Deadpool” family, the mutant anti-hero from the future, Cable, played by Josh Brolin. It’s genuinely surprising that Wade cracks but a single one-liner on the fact that Mr. Brolin jumped into the role of another Marvel character, Thanos, less than a month ago in “Avengers: Infinity War”. But audiences will hardly have to time to dwell on that between how hard they’re laughing at his and Wade’s good-cop/bad-cop banter, and the sheer amount of butt-kicking they both unleash. Reynolds and Brolin clearly went through extensive amounts of training for the film, and it shows – oh, does it show!
Under the direction of David Leitch, “Deadpool 2” is, if anything, more of an R-rated action bonanza than its predecessor (with emphasis on the R-rated). The film throws its lot in with the growing trend of prison riot battles started by “The Raid 2” and continued by “SPL 2: A Time for Consequences”, and seeing Wade and Cable, go ruthlessly head-to-head is worth the admission price all by itself. Only in a Deadpool movie will you ever see our hero put his opponent in a head-lock by wrapping his arm 180 degrees in the wrong direction around said adversary’s neck; healing factors are crazy awesome, aren’t they?
It only gets better at the meet up for round two on a travelling prison convoy; Cable’s determined to assassinate Firefist before the latter grows up to become a bloodthirsty killer who will eventually kill his wife and child in the future. Considering how masterful the martial arts and stunt work of the first film are, it can truly be said that each feels that much sharper here, while never forgetting to properly integrate the humor that is a staple of the title character. Wade’s 2009 big-screen debut gets another hilarious callback when Wade spins his katanas to deflect Cable’s incoming bullets, to no avail, as you can see in the trailer above.
Of course, Deadpool and Cable must eventually set aside their differences and team-up for the finale, and the film throws everything its got at the viewer in a pyrotechnic bust-up with Wade and Cable dismembering evildoers to rescue and/or kill Firefist. Deadpool’s newest ally, Domino, played by Zazie Beetz, also puts her luck-based abilities to use on some unfortunate recipients, while Colossus returns for a motion-capture smackdown with a certain mutant whose identity shall remain a secret for the unspoiled, and kudos to 20th Century Fox for keeping this particular villain under wraps – my audience certainly didn’t see him coming!
With a bigger budget and a director who knows satisfying stunt work like the back of his hand, “Deadpool 2” blasts past its predecessor for a hilarious, wild, action-packed romp. Sure, there are nitpicks to be made, here and there; Negasonic Teenage Warhead is curiously underutilized in comparison to the original, and martial arts virtuoso Lewis Tan, in the role of Shatterstar, is unceremoniously dispatched without getting to show off what he can do, although that can probably be attributed to a little dark humor on Wade’s part. “Deadpool 2” not only solidifies that its title character is here to stay, but provides ample evidence of what stunt veterans can do in the director’s chair, whilst further etching in stone just how vast the audience for R-rated comic book movies really is. Come on, Sony, bite the bullet and go all “Logan” this October with “Venom”!
(Side note: KFK extends their heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of motorcycle road racer and stuntwoman Joi “S.J.” Harris, who was tragically killed on August 14th, 2017 while filming a motorcycle stunt for this film. We would ask everyone to observe a minute’s silence in appreciation of her courage. Please never take the danger of what stuntmen and women do for granted to bring you, the viewer, outstanding action.)
Seen “Deadpool 2” already, what are your impressions? Which other comic book characters with a penchant for fighting would you like to see in action? Let us know in the comments below, join in the conversation and share this on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram. (Check out our other reviews, and get more FU for your buck!)