Movie review – Deadpool 2

What did you see? Deadpool 2, starring Zazie Beets, Ryan Reynolds, and Josh Brolin.

Oh boy, did you wear your Deadpool Chimichanga shirt(s)? No.

Wow, Deadpool is the badass of the Marvel Universe! And he’s so funny! So original! Sigh.

Well, okay Mr. Cynical comic reader who reads stuff and the book is always better than the movie, was it at least better than the first? Oh, hell yeah. It was pretty good.

Deadpool is supposed to be the zany Bugs Bunny of the Marvel Comics universe, and like Wolverine he’s practically indestructible so his character is written to be fearless and reckless in both his fighting and zinger delivery in the face of the typical/serious dogooder and villain. Maybe it’s his mouth (a potty mouth in these movies) that makes everyone think he’s the bad boy anti-hero of the Marvel U. I am with Cable, played by Josh Brolin in this movie: If I didn’t have to fear being dispatched randomly by Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool whether we were on the same team or if I were an innocent bystander, I’d tell him I’d rather not listen to his tactless bullshit. Just, enough already.

The Deadpool in these movies is more of an Adam Sandler lead in an Adam Sandler movie, where everyone thinks he’s funny and on his side for no other reason than it’s his movie. When Deadpool tags along with his few X-Men pals to confront a mutant teen who is facing off against shady authorities outside an orphanage for mutants, everyone (armed police included) stands around as he belittles the orphan, the police, fellow X-Men, the orphanage staff. Like, the X-Men aren’t exactly on best terms with regular humans as it is, do the cops KNOW who Deadpool is? Do they recognize him from any descriptions of a red-leather-clad assassin in the underworld? Are they going to just stand there as he whips out swords and guns and even shoots a guy in the head?

Everyone, who isn’t Deadpool while Deadpool is talking, is just dressing. There’s a bit between screenwriters Dan Harmon & Rob Schrab they call “The Monopoly Man,” where you write in a ridiculous character so your supposedly funny or Jim Carrey/Ace Ventura type can take a crack at him in front of the other characters (or audience) he’s trying to win over. Of course a guy dressed like the Monopoly Man is ridiculous! What’s he doing in this movie, wink wink? The only person who gets to have real dialog that holds up is Deadpool’s love interest in the previous movie, and even she’s reduced to a plot device such as the dream/vision to spew vague cliches to guide him during the otherwise simple redemption story.

The OTHER major complaint I have about both of these movies, not that anyone asked, is that most of these jokes are going to be dated once the thing hits DVD. The audience guffaws at barbs aimed at other characters and 4th wall breaks that are just references to competing movies or other contemporary pop culture events. Okay, great, you made fun of Cable because he’s played by the same who plays Thanos in the other blockbuster. The benefit of having Reynolds (or stuntman or double) wear the Deadpool mask through most of the movie must be to write lines about something current before having Reynolds dub those references in post.

Snob. You’re a comic book movie snob, you snob. Can’t you enjoy something for once? Otherwise, this was done very well, and I like Ryan Reynolds and applaud his effort to push these projects to get made. There’s also some great set ups about his assembled team that maybe a lot of the audience saw coming a mile away but I still laughed. And then, there’s Domino, played by Zazie Beets. Even if the character was written like every other Adam Sandler movie crony (she isn’t), Zazie steals every scene she’s in. And as a X-Men character,  her funny introduction is the perfect setup during the movie’s impressive action scenes, some of the best in any Marvel movie since Captain America Winter Soldier.

There were some other genuine big laughs, and (sorry Adam Sandler types) the ones I’m going to remember are at Deadpool’s expense. Sometimes you don’t have to have a punchline, you can quietly close a door and it’ll be the funniest thing I’ve seen in all of these movies combined.

Final verdict: I enjoyed this, and good job. I can take or leave the character Deadpool (mostly leave). Many of the jokes, crass or timely, are going to be forgotten because they’re potshots between cliched move-the-plot-along dialog between the rest of the non-Deadpool characters. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t funny. But considering how seriously Avengers Infinity War takes itself, despite how the established personalities of the MCU characters keep it from going into boring DCU territory, I’m grateful that Reynolds & friends put that effort to have such levity in a typical action movie. I won’t remember Batman V Superman (or want to) but I will remember a Mad Magazine style send up of it.

How many This Is Spinal Tap references did you catch? I caught two. Were there more? I don’t know what the connection would be, but it’s appreciated. Just because these guys are often tasteless doesn’t mean that they have no taste.

 

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