Deadpool 2

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Release date: 15th May 2018/Watch the trailer here

After the huge success of 2016’s Deadpool led it to become the second highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time (a statistic which Deadpool 2 is quick to reference), a sequel was inevitable. What was less certain, however, was whether Deadpool 2 would be able to recreate all of the magic of its predecessor that helped it to become such an undeniable hit. Thankfully, the answer to that question is ‘yes’ – and not only does Deadpool 2 dare to be bigger, it also succeeds in being better.

Ryan Reynolds reprises the role he was born to play: that of foul-mouthed, wisecracking, mutant mercenary Wade Wilson (aka Deadpool). After the unexpected arrival of a time-travelling, cybernetic soldier named Cable (Josh Brolin), Deadpool assembles a team of fellow mutants known as X-Force – including Domino (Zazie Beetz), who has the ability of manipulating luck – in order to protect Russell (Julian Dennison), a troubled teenaged mutant whose powers allow him to generate fire from his fists. As well as introducing some newcomers to the franchise, Deadpool 2 also sees the return of some familiar faces: including Wade’s fiancée, Vanessa (Morena Baccarin); Wade’s closest friend, Weasel (T.J. Miller); scene-stealing taxi driver Dopinder (Karan Soni); X-Men Colossus (Stefan Kapičić) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand); and Wade’s elderly roommate, Blind Al (Leslie Uggams).

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Much like the first film, Deadpool 2 is relatively light on plot, but it has the advantage of not being weighed down by its own origin story this time around. While Deadpool had a straightforward, good versus evil/hero versus villain plot, the sequel has more than a few surprises up its sleeve – and although the first fifteen minutes of Deadpool 2 contain the expected amount of bloody violence and meta humour (there’s a joke about Wolverine’s fate in Logan and the first of many jabs at the DC Universe all before the opening credits) there’s also a shocking moment that sets the tone for the rest of the film that’s to follow.

There was always the danger that Deadpool 2 might start to feel stale, especially now that the novelty and shock factor of an R-rated superhero movie has worn off, but instead it’s a film that understands exactly what did and didn’t work about the original. The humour is a little less juvenile and a tad more intelligent this time, while also remembering that it’s possible to be funny without an over-reliance on gimmicks such as frequent fourth wall breaking – meaning that the jokes flow fast and effortlessly, without feeling as forced as they sometimes did in Deadpool. There’s also a surprising amount of emotion and occasional darkness to be found here, giving the sequel just a little bit more heart and depth (although not too much, of course, this is still a Deadpool movie). Furthermore, as is to be expected from a film with David Leitch – stuntman-turned-director of John Wick and Atomic Blonde – behind the camera, the action is expertly choreographed and never anything less than consistently exciting and entertaining.

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Another strength of Deadpool 2 is its strong cast of fun supporting characters, most of whom will hopefully make an appearance in any future sequels (of which there are sure to be plenty). Brolin, playing his second comic book character of the month (and Thanos jokes are to be expected in Deadpool 2), also makes for a compelling antagonist and a far more complex and morally grey character than the classic bad guy stereotype of the first film.

Truthfully, it’s far from groundbreaking; the constant pop culture references will leave it feeling dated within a couple of years; and, as with Deadpool before it, it’s a film that will probably get worse with each subsequent viewing – but it’s also well aware of all of these things. The joy of Deadpool 2 lies in just how much ridiculous good fun it is to spend two hours in this world with these irresistibly likeable characters. It’s hard to deny that this is simply more of the same – but when the same is as unashamedly entertaining as this, then where’s the sense in complaining?

★★★★

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