Review: Deadpool 2

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80%
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Riotous

Deadpool is back, and he's more sophisticated, hilarious, and ruthless than ever.

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The success of Deadpool came out of nowhere. In a market crowded by men in spandex, there didn’t seem to be space for another comic-book hero. Yet, 20th Century Fox and director Tim Miller managed to achieve the impossible back in 2016, turning a relatively-unknown, quick-witted mercenary into a global phenomenon through a unique blend of outrageous humour and stylistic excess. With all kinds of box-office records under his belt it was only inevitable that Deadpool would return to screens, and now he’s back – this time with more daddy issues than ever before.

There was always the worry that the premise of a cancer-sufferer turned mutant slicing open his enemies and constantly breaking the fourth-wall would be a one-time success, but after five minutes of being thrown straight in at the deep end by director David Leith and returning writers, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, any such fears are totally forgotten. Back in the arms of the love of his life, Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), Wade Wilson/Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) is living the ultimate life of fighting crime. But nothing is straight-forward in the Deadpool universe, and an unexpected tragedy sets Wade on a turbulent path that results in a fiery encounter with a troubled-teen (Julian Dennison) and a major stand-off with time-travelling mutant Cable (Josh Brolin). The spectacle provided by these opening moments sets the pace for what is a joyous comic affair throughout, and after a side-splitting Bond-style credits spoof, we never look back – watch out 007, Deadpool is in town.

It’s safe to say that the original Deadpool was a comedy film first, superhero movie second, and the sequel continues this trend, as the script is filled with outrageous one-liners, complete disregard for the conventional rules of cinema, and a total ridiculing of the DC universe. At times, the quips are a little too predictable, with baby name related jokes following a formula that any viewer could write. However, the jokes more than hit the mark when they really need to and it will take a lot for there to be a funnier film this year. Writing duo Reese and Wernick have clearly gained heaps of confidence in the past two years as they are not afraid to push the boundaries of what is acceptable humour in a blockbuster film. No institution is safe from attack, and it is the reflexivity of their superb critique of the superhero phenomenon delivers the biggest laughs in Deadpool 2.

Yet, for all its wisecracks and breaking of the fourth-wall, what really makes Deadpool 2 stand out above its predecessor is its sense of humanity and characters that we really root for. There is a real sophistication in the way that the characters are brought together through their lack of faith in the biggest f-word of them all – family, and it is refreshing to see such a huge film deal, albeit implicitly, with prevalent issues surrounding the pressures of masculine ideals. This maturity is no surprise, given that Leitch’s previous work includes the emotional-rollercoaster that is John Wick, but such sophistication in dealing with complex issues is exactly what the franchise needed to become a continued phenomenon rather than a one-off hit.

Once again, Ryan Reynolds proves that he was made for this role. The darker undertones of Deadpool 2 could have easily posed a challenge, but Reynolds superbly juggles the comic aspects of the character with Wilson’s inner demons. You can tell he is having the time of his life both on and off-screen as Deadpool, and we can’t blame him for it – his charm is utterly infectious. The rest of the cast are equally superb. Young stars are given the opportunity to shine as Zazie Beetz, who plays the role of Domino, proves that she is most definitely one to watch. The major commendation, however, goes to Josh Brolin. If his outstanding work as Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War wasn’t enough, Brolin’s performance as Cable hammers home the message that he has mastered the art of playing the ultimate brute. At a moment where we feel as if the excitement could be about to slip, the introduction of his character drags the narrative back on track and adds a much-needed, grittier dimension to proceedings.

Deadpool 2 was made for Deadpool fans – ready to burst with inappropriate jokes and sword-fighting spectacle, but it has also got heaps of humanity in equal measure, and could quite easily convert those who weren’t convinced with Wade Wilson’s surface-level quips first time around. Have no fear, Deadpool 2 takes everything that made Deadpool a phenomenon like no other and blows it up to new levels – it is only a matter of time before a third instalment is officially confirmed.

Deadpool 2 (2018), directed by David Leitch, is distributed in the UK by 20th Century Fox, certificate 15. Students can grab tickets at Union Films for just £3, with screenings planned to show across the next two weeks.

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Film Editor 2018/19. Self-professed Ryan Gosling expert and karaoke master.

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