January 21, 2020

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Superhero still super snarky

Deadpool 2 awash in inside jokes

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/5/2018 (612 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Within the Marvel Universe, Deadpool effectively announced himself back in 2016 as a sustained satiric riff, a feature-length Mad Magazine parody of superhero movies. In a genre that often takes itself too seriously, here was a cheeky fresh take.

Ryan Reynolds' Wade Wilson, you will recall, is a relentlessly snarky mercenary who partook of a mutant-izing procedure to fend off death by cancer, disfiguring himself in the process. He emerged triumphant at the end, winning his girl (Moreena Bacarin), beating the bad guys and embarking on a genetically amped-up career as an assassin.

Before the credits roll, Deadpool 2 sees Wade brought low once again — we won't say how — going on a suicidal death trip before he finds a new reason to live. Russell (Julian Dennison, the runaway of the New Zealand comedy Hunt for the Wilderpeople) is an angry young mutant whom Wade, in the temporary employ of the X-Men, finds wreaking havoc on a scuzzy facility for delinquent mutants. 

Wade determines that he must save Russell, who calls himself Firefist, from himself. That commitments proves to be a challenge when a half-cyborg called Cable (Josh Brolin) shows up to kill Russell in a pursuit as relentless as a certain T-800 once pursued Sarah Connor in The Terminator.

Twentieth Century Fox</p><p>Deadpool returns to bust heads and fourth walls with equal gusto as the movie indulges in some ultraviolent slapstick. </p></p>

Twentieth Century Fox

Deadpool returns to bust heads and fourth walls with equal gusto as the movie indulges in some ultraviolent slapstick.

Within that premise, the movie indulges in ultraviolent slapstick. Again, Deadpool busts heads and fourth walls with equal gusto, and the movie is a veritable orgy of inside jokes, including some laugh-out-loud shots at Hugh Jackman's last Wolverine outing Logan and Reynolds' own abortive superhero effort Green Lantern.

Director David Leitch (John Wick, or as he is described in the opening credits, the man "who killed John Wick's dog") takes over helming duties from Tim Miller, an animator who brought a keen visual flair to the first movie that is diminished in the sequel.

As well, Deadpool 2 is at double the disadvantage when it comes to tone. The movie requires some sympathy for its hero, but it's difficult to muster when the hero is making inside jokes about the superhero genre at every turn, including referring to Brolin's Cable as "Thanos" and employing Dr. Xavier's telepathic helmet as a comic prop. Reynolds half-scuttles his own big dramatic scene with an aside about how he hopes "the Academy is watching."

But for all its baroque violence, the movie's heart seems to be in the right place (to employ a motif in the movie) when it comes to Deadpool's mission to save Russell's soul from its dark future. If Reynolds (one of the three credited screenwriters) is clearly having a hoot in the role of a malignant cynic, his character's mission is weirdly generous and benign.

The last film's who's-that-girl? casting coup was Brianna Hildebrand as sullen X-person Negasonic Teenage Warhead. In this movie, the honours go to Zazie Beets as Domino, a heroine who's super power is that she's simply lucky. The movie is lucky to have her.


 

While some of the movie's prime gags take place during the end credits, there is no post-credit stinger, so no need to watch the million or so names of the visual effects artists employed on the film.

randall.king@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @FreepKing

Twentieth Century Fox</p><p>Josh Brolin as baddie, Cable, is relentless in his pursuit as a certain T-800 once pursued Sarah Connor in The Terminator.</p></p>

Twentieth Century Fox

Josh Brolin as baddie, Cable, is relentless in his pursuit as a certain T-800 once pursued Sarah Connor in The Terminator.

Randall King

Randall King
Reporter

In a way, Randall King was born into the entertainment beat.

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