Deadpool was a surprise box office hit back in 2016, eclipsing expectations and proving that with the right script Ryan Reynolds could carry a superhero blockbuster on his shoulders. Two years on and a franchise is being built, with Josh Brolin, Zazie Beetz and Julian Dennison seemingly attached for the foreseeable future.
Deadpool 2 takes much of what’s good about its predecessor and tries to apply it to a new story, introducing a host of additional characters for its titular character to tease and taunt. The goal of the movie is to build on the first film and develop Wade Wilson, and in fairness to David Leitch it delivers on both its comedy and its action. The jokes don’t always hit and the inciting incident is disappointing because it makes the events of Deadpool feel trivial, but the humour and pacing make up for the script’s shortcomings.
The biggest issue I had with the film was the way that the story was handled, because although Cable is an interesting character and Wade is given an extra level of depth, the meat of the narrative is derivative. Certain critics have made this point already by likening the film to Terminator 2, and I can see the inspiration there, but I think there’s an even more striking comparison to be made with 2012’s Looper.
Looper is a film which is largely based around time travel and world-building, so of course there are differences in how the story is told, but in that film a man goes back in time in order to kill a child who has become a villain in the future. The hero then makes it his business to protect the child in the present day, only to sacrifice himself in the end… and that’s exactly what happens in Deadpool 2. The two films come to their conclusions in different ways, but there are distinct similarities in the circumstances which drive their respective plots.
This issue doesn’t ruin Deadpool 2 by any stretch of the imagination, nor am I suggesting that the writers directly copied the story, but the fact that the plot has been done before limited my enjoyment.
Once I’d made the initial connection between Looper and Deadpool 2 I began to find more parallels with television shows/films that I like, and from this point onwards I was desensitised to what the movie was doing well. For example, one of the funniest moments in the film takes place almost immediately after a fight sequence, with Wade having to stay inside in order to regenerate the lower half of his body. This is a genuinely entertaining sequence which the audience loved, and I can accept the fact that the writers decided to build on the baby hand joke from the first film, but the gag has been done before by American Dad in the twelfth episode of its seventh season, You Debt Your Life.
With these points aside, I should say that I did enjoy Deadpool 2 and I’m looking forward to the inevitable third film in the franchise, particularly if a greater focus is placed on secondary characters. I wasn’t blown away by any aspect of this movie and I don’t think that it’s better than its predecessor, but the X-Force sequence was awesome and Domino and Cable were good additions to the team.
Nevertheless, I feel that many of the pop culture references that this movie made will become less relevant over time, and it was unfortunate that characters like Negasonic Teenage Warhead were pushed aside in order to make room for newcomers.
To summarise, Deadpool 2 is a fun movie which will satisfy viewers with a passion for the first film. However, from a nitpicky perspective there’s a lot to be frustrated by, most notably the fact that the plot feels imitative and forced.