DEADPOOL 2 82016, R, 119 minutes, MARVEL STUDIOS/20th CENTURY FOX)
There came a moment during DEADPOOL 2 when I longed for a “pause” button. The reason for this was because I needed to stop laughing, and needed to wipe my eyes.
It is one of those times when you know you are missing half of the jokes onscreen, when your own reaction is so overwhelming that you experience Laughter Overload. You miss dialogue because your own laughter is too loud, your vision blurred by the tears which seem mystically connected to that part of your brain that produces the endorphins necessary to push you into hysterics.
That isn’t to say that the sequel to the highest-grossing R-rated super hero movie of all time is without its flaws. It isn’t nearly as funny as the first, some jokes get overused so much that the punchlines become predictably droll, and the serious take on the character seems out of place and stereotypical of the genre which the film skewers. But I’ll be a unicorn’s blowhole if I don’t admit the genuine hilarity of that couch scene…
The story this time around involves “Cable”, played with scenery chewing panache by the stoic Josh Brolin (Thanos from AVENGERS, for those uninitiated). Cable has traveled back in time to kill a mutant kid that destroys his family in the future, and Deadpool (Reynolds) decides that the kid should be given a chance to NOT turn into a family slaying criminal. This pits the two super powers against each other, and also gives our intrepid hero the opportunity to form his own mutant group, “X-Force”, to help battle the futuristic man on a mission.
It is moments like The Couch Scene (no spoilers here) when Ryan Reynolds and fellow writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (who both worked on the first installment) capture the character and storyline in such a way that you leave all criticism behind and just enjoy the dang movie. Until someone cracks yet another joke (okay, I can’t help it: SPOILER ALERT!!) about pedophiles. The first few times it’s funny, but after a while, you start to wonder if it isn’t a wee bit much. While I appreciate the unabashed and severely politically incorrect humor the series and comic are known for, repeatedly cracking wise on a subject which affects so many seems so un-empathetic as to be borderline insulting.
There is still the trademark violence, the fifth wall breaks, the deadpan humor, and the industry in-jokes, all of which work to the betterment of the film—and characters. If anything, Reynolds & Company up the ante this time around. Seriously—when is the last time you heard a joke about YENTL, for crying out loud?!? Some sequences are masterfully paced by ATOMIC BLONDE director David Leitch, and showcase the bloody violence that was part of the first film’s success. And then there are other moments (one in particular, but, hey, no freaking spoilers) that drag on a bit too long. Five minutes worth of fat could have been trimmed from the film, and the end result would have been better for it.
Despite my negativity towards some aspects of the film, it is still a worthy successor. Every character is perfectly cast (okay, screw it, SPOILER ALERT!: look for Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and “Firefly” alum Alan Tudyk cameos), every fight scene has just enough action to it, and 85% of the jokes land well enough to at least elicit a smile. Next up will be an X-Force movie, and possibly a third Deadpool film. For now, DEADPOOL 2 should be enough to get you through the day. I’m just waiting for it to come out on Blu-ray so I can re-watch the dang Couch Scene however many times it takes me to catch all the dang jokes.
Film Grade: B+