REVIEW: 'Deadpool 2' expands the vigilante family

 Ryan Reynolds and T.J. Miller in  Deadpool 2 , directed by David Leitch.

Ryan Reynolds and T.J. Miller in Deadpool 2, directed by David Leitch.

Deadpool 2 promises it’s a family film, and just like how the first film asserts that it’s a love story, it’s kind of true. Ryan Reynolds’ subversive Marvel superhero returns after a highly successful gamble into R-rated films, and again manages to deliver a solid comedy.

Two years after the events of the first film, Deadpool (Reynolds) is enjoying life working as a vigilante, and he’s ready to start a family with his beloved Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), but the target of an unfinished job attempts revenge and Vanessa is killed in the crossfire. Struck with grief, Deadpool tries to kill himself but fails every time due to his regenerative abilities, and after blowing himself up into pieces he’s gathered up by metal giant Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) and moved to the X-Mansion.

Joining the X-Men as a trainee, Deadpool attempts to resolve a crisis involving an angsty young mutant named Russell (Julian Dennison), who is also the target of a cybernetic soldier from the future named Cable (Josh Brolin). In classic superhero sequel fashion, Deadpool 2 expands its scope and adds new characters to the superhero team, the X-Force, including Domino (Zazie Beetz) and cab driver Dopinder (Karan Soni). This is why Deadpool calls it a “family affair,” and encapsulates Reynolds’ sarcastic and caustic wit.

 Brianna Hildebrand returns as Negasonic Teernage Warhead.

Brianna Hildebrand returns as Negasonic Teernage Warhead.

They say that Reynolds was born to play Deadpool and probably because so much of the character has been informed by his own career. He got his first breaks in the ‘90s when gross-out teenage comedies were big summer films, and for a long time he was known as that guy from National Lampoon’s Van Wilder before becoming the lovable idiot or the action star who couldn’t stop making stupid but funny jokes in Blade: Trinity. Superhero films have become both a source of fun and occasional misery, but perhaps no other actor has as much right to lampoon them than the guy who’s been in two of the worst ones in history.

If you like Reynolds and enjoyed Deadpool, you’ll certainly enjoy the sequel. Some of the jokes don’t land, but not everything always will. You’ll have to be in tune with pop culture to understand the full weight of his verbal assault but there’s enough visual gags for those who prefer slapstick, including a sequence in which Deadpool has to regrow the lower part of his body and one involving the X-Force’s doomed first mission.

 Domino (Zazie Beetz) joins Deadpool's newly minted team, the X-Force.

Domino (Zazie Beetz) joins Deadpool's newly minted team, the X-Force.

Deadpool 2 spends a good deal of time mocking just about everything and it’s just as good as the first one as a journey into escapism. The sequel never strayed far from what worked. For the number of topics it mocks, the humour has done a particularly good job of avoiding controversy, and I think that’s pretty admirable in our politically correct world.

There’s nothing complicated about Deadpool 2, which is why it’s a pretty good time. At worst, it’s a greatest hits replay of Reynolds’ grossest jokes with a lot of violence. Its plot and characters can be derivative, but so is the entire premise of “Deadpool,” which was created in the ’90s as a reflection of Wolverine and Spider-Man and a nudge nudge of his far more serious DC Comics counterpart, Deathstroke, so to criticize Deadpool for its… immaturity, is to also ask for a betrayal of the source material.

 
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