Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Deadpool 2 – a sequel that turns the original film’s strengths and weaknesses right up to eleven (from 15 May)

As a sequel, Deadpool 2 is more violent, more sweary, more disrespectful, more offensive, and funnier: fans of the original will not be disappointed. There are many nods to the extensive Marvel Universe, a least one jibe at rival DC, references galore to other films and franchises, a Bond-like title sequence, closing credits bunged full of visual and auditory treats, as well as plenty of fourth wall breaking and self-awareness that this is a (relatively) budget superhero movie packed with CGI and scripted shortcuts.

There’s a family theme, even if there was never going to be a family-friendly certificate. Within minutes of the cinema lights going down and his first spree of killing being smooshed across the screen, Wade/Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds who clearly has far too much control over the script) is snuggling up on the sofa with Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) only to be rudely interrupted by an armed gang invading the flat. But there are some things that the self-healing protagonist cannot heal.

There’s a death to be avenged, someone (with a never explained New Zealand accent) to be saved, somewhere to be broken out of, and a stack of redemption, resurrection and rewriting to be done before the two hours are up.

The Lego Movie taught us that it is good to be part of a team, but the force that Deadpool assembles is less than awesome. It’s good to see Karan Soni back as taxi-driving Dopinder. Rob Delaney briefly showed promise as Peter while the longer-enduring Domino (Zazie Beetz) deserved more time on-screen to add sass and common sense to the Marvel mayhem into which appears time-travelling teddy-carrying frenemy Cable (Josh Brolin).

The sound track mixes Celine Dion, Dolly Parton and Cher with Peter Gabriel, A-ha and a familiar song from Annie the Musical. It’s unlike that there will be Deadpool 2 singalong screenings to match The Greatest Showman – though a crossover film would be fun –soundtrack sales will be strong.

Yet for all its supposed gender awareness, Deadpool 2 still delivers a majority white English-speaking male cast that repeatedly mock otherness. You’ll either forgive it as part of the film’s rule-breaking charm or see it as another side of its wicked failing. Some of the humour – particular in the ‘full Winnie the Pooh’ Basic Instinct sequence – is puerile, and a few of the jokes fall flat and only contribute positively to the film’s runtime.

The directorial switch from Tim Miller to David Leitch is seamless. There is no good reason not to expect a Deadpool 3 in two years’ time. Even more in jokes will be pulled out of the Marvel bellybutton and a new set of actors and directors will be simultaneously delighted and appalled to realise that they have been mentioned.

Deadpool 2 is released in cinemas across UK and Ireland on Tuesday 15 May.

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