Ryan Reynolds is back to make fun of the business of superhero movies in hilarious sequel to 2016 smash
There are only so many ways you can break down and deconstruct the modern superhero movie for laughs, and “Deadpool” managed to do it all. That’s what you would think, at least.
But the hilarious “Deadpool 2” is here to show there’s still plenty more gas left in Deadpool’s tank. It’s an even more absurd dissection of the superhero model, and if it comes up a little short of the high-water mark set by the original, that’s only because “Deadpool” set the bar so high in the first place.
The first “Deadpool” arrived in 2016 and obliterated superhero conventions by mocking the genre and filling in its gaps with obscene violence and filthy jokes that smashed through the fourth wall. Ryan Reynolds was an expert fit as the quipping masked superhero because his wry tone fit perfectly with Reynolds’ wise-cracking on-screen persona; it was as if his whole career — the dreaded “Green Lantern” included — lead up to him playing Deadpool. Reynolds knew it, too, and he let it rip in ways he never had before, creating an experience that commented on itself as it was sending itself up.
Now comes “Deadpool 2,” and Reynolds is credited as a screenwriter, along with the original’s screenwriters, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. Director Tim Miller, who brought a smash-mouth energy to the first film, is gone, replaced by David Leitch, the stuntman-turned-director who also helmed “John Wick.”
The madcap carnival feel of the first film returns, along with dirty, expletive-laden jokes that leave nothing off the table. (That hard “R” rating of the first “Deadpool” is back with a vengeance.) Other superhero films, other superhero universes, other roles taken on by actors in the film — everything is fair game and open to mocking. “Deadpool 2” is such an inside experience that watching the film is like watching it with the director and cast commentary track turned on.
Much more than superhero movies themselves, Reynolds, Leitch and the rest of the team are going after the business of superhero movies, the contractual stipulations that leave certain characters outside of certain movies despite what fans want to see. It doesn’t matter who the on-screen villain is, studio execs are the film’s real target, which makes it an experience custom built for comic book obsessives and superhero movie junkies.
Joining Deadpool once again are his X-Men pals Colossus (voice of Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), which leads to all manner of X-Men and Marvel in-references. Joining the fray is Cable (Josh Brolin, currently doing double Marvel duty, as he’s also Thanos in “Avengers: Infinity War”), a metal-armed warrior from the future who clashes with Deadpool, as well as a team of new heroes dubbed the X-Force whose participants are too good to give away.
“Deadpool 2” comes blazing out of the shoot, but dips in its second hour, like a stretched-out piece of taffy. Still, there is a lot left to like here, and Reynolds and company crank out better, more outrageous laughs than most pure comedies. You’ll laugh loud and you’ll laugh hard.
At this point, it goes without saying that in Marvel movies you need to stay through the end credits, so settle in. “Deadpool 2” is good to the very last drop.
Rated R: for strong violence and language throughout, sexual references and brief drug material
Running time: 120 minutes