Given the general law of diminishing returns, or at least more of the same, feeling surrounding recent comic book move sequels, I have to say I put Deadpool 2 (for the record, the extended ‘Super Duper’ cut) into the Blu-ray player with a general sense of low expectations.
While the pre-credits sequence and the James Bond-esque credits sequence were, for the most part enjoyable, with a similar mix of irreverence, violence and bad language as the first instalment, after this things seemed to be falling a bit flat.
The first act proper felt somewhat belaboured by setting up the main story which was driven by a rather key death and based in Wade’s (Ryan Reynolds) despair in his apparent immortality following this – hardly what one would expect from an apparent laugh riot of a blockbuster action film.
Thankfully, once this is all set up, we’re off to the races and the fast paced, snappy action and comedy return, all with a suitably dark side to it and I didn’t feel it just rehashed the same jokes as the first film, though many of the same ideas were intact.
Of course just having some decent jokes and ultraviolent (for a comic book movie) action alone would still not make for a particularly enjoyable film, that’s where the story needs to come in and, once it gets rolling here it’s a nice continuation of things raised in the main run of the X-Men films.
So we get a mix of time travel and revenge tempered by a surprisingly touching heroic streak and hints of the usual kind of concerns X-Men stories often deal with – as Deadpool himself points out in typically fourth wall breaking, ‘meta’, fashion the super team started life as a reflection of the 1960s civil rights movement and has grown to include various minority issues over the years since.
I think it would be fair to say that the balance between the story and the comedy occasionally imbalances but for the most part it holds together nicely while seeming to set up its own side franchise with the creation of X-Force.
This helps add a different dynamic from the first film as we meet not just Josh Brolin’s time travelling mutant Cable but also Domino (Zazie Beetz) and Firefist (Julian Dennison) as well as previously introduced Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (who has become the first LGBTQ character in a Marvel film in a way that is possibly surprisingly well handled given the films irreverent nature).
Along with all of this a couple of surprisingly effective villains are present including Eddie Marsan’s otherwise unnamed sinister ‘headmaster’ and a more famous X-Men foe I won’t reveal as it would be quite a spoiler.
The writers and director David Lietch then do a great job of wrangling all of this into an enjoyable film that, while it might not be breaking much new ground, is a fun way to spend a couple of hours and shows a potential new direction for the X-Men films which fell somewhat flat with the cumbersome Apocalypse (more recent spin-off Logan being an exception).
Oh and the theme for the villain I haven’t mentioned by name is worth keeping a listen out for when it makes its appearance, it’s certainly like nothing else…