Back in the good old days of 2016, when the environment was still a thing, the internet was run like Sweden (In that it remained neutral), and America wasn’t being fucked by a shriveled narcissistic carrot-in-chief, 20th Century Fox was in a conundrum over their own loud-mouthed little narcissist: Deadpool.
After years of developmental hell (Including X-Men Origins: Wolverine. A special sort of hell in itself), fan hype, and bickering over nerdy internet message boards – 20th Century Fox caved into making the Deadpool movie. Delivering on a promise made to Ryan Reynolds on a role he’d signed onto over ten years ago.
But there was a problem…
You see, R-rated superhero movies such as Watchmen or Kick-ass were notorious for less favorable financial returns. Hollywood, believing that R-rated films translated into fewer ticket sales (Because like drugs, you shouldn’t deal to the whole family) and difficult, adult-centered marketing costs (Because like guns, you generally target away from children). Enter, Deadpool.
A beloved comic anti-hero. Since its 90’s origins, Deadpool represented a comedic take on the genre. Less serious, self-parodying and sort a meta-commentary of an industry defined by cliché of the sorts. Deadpool dropped during an era of high saturation of unproven comics through direct market comic book shops; coincidentally, coinciding with the essential end of censorship by the comics code (indirectly contributing to the comic crash of the 90’s).
In layman’s terms, too many comics (bad comics, particularly) were being made and no one was regulating their distribution, nor censoring them. So Deadpool made itself stand out by going over the line again-and-again. No one was safe, and everyone was the butt of the joke.
Befitting, that the Deadpool movie provided a similar function for comic book movie adaptations. Once again, coming as a relief to an industry frustrated with the grind.
But back to the major problem: Deadpool’s style didn’t work as PG-13 movie. Marvel already had a wise-cracking friendly neighborhood Spider-man, and the same fans that kept the hype train going for Deadpool, weren’t really thrilled with the prospect of a kid-friendly version. So when it came down to the wire, the ‘Deadpool’ movie would deliver on the fan’s coveted R-rating, thus keeping true to the spirit of the comics through ultraviolence, adolescent sex jokes, and meta-pop comedy!
…but on a paisley 58 million-dollar budget.
This was sort of a big deal. To put that in perspective, Blade II, a movie produced 14 years prior, had the same production costs (technically less if you account for marketing) as ‘Deadpool’. Likewise, Green Lantern, Reynold’s other superhero franchise movie, was produced on a budget four times that amount.
In many ways, this was 20th Century fox shoving the finger up Deadpool’s asshole. Stimulating, but also sort of its own Fuck You. Suffice to say, this led to problems in production costs…
Yet, if you’ve seen the original ‘Deadpool’, you can see how they got away with it. Its shortcomings were more-or-less covered using witty characterization for an origin story, a whole-lot-of-sex driven romance that cost little to make, and a broad range of comedic timing, including a convenient lack of X-men and a not so coincidental forgetful moment with guns, saving costs for a large-scale shootout.
Ever notice how Deadpool seemed an awful lot like a Romantic Comedy in ways? Hollywood cost-cutting, folks. Though to be fair, it also helps to have years developing a script. Plus, a steamy hot pile of Ryan Reynolds and Morena Baccarin serves as delectable eye-candy. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of these two:
Surprisingly, Deadpool was an epic overnight success. Becoming Fox’s most profitable X-men film. This opened the door for the R-rated superhero genre. Which, as noticed by the recent Logan movie, is a venture 20th Century Fox would like to continue to capitalize on. Movies made for adult comic fans.
The reason I brought up ‘Deadpool’ is because ‘Deadpool 2’ does much of the same as the first film, but more. It’s bigger in production and badder in morals, with 20th Century Fox’s full backing this time around (Making obscene amounts of money apparently REALLY convinces your parent Studio).
‘Deadpool 2’ really ups the ante, going all-in and balls-deep, both in-budget and in-style. A definitive movie true to its origins in that it gives no fucks and never really takes itself too seriously.
The action sequences are dicey.
The comedy is degenerate.
But all-in-all it’s okay because this one is about family!
Yep, Deadpool 2 steers away from the highly sexualized steamy rom-com and goes into full-on R-rated unadulterated family picture. DP2’s script was penned by Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick and the Merc with a Mouth himself, Ryan Reynolds. Essentially, the same team from last time except now, Deadpool gave himself a writing credit.
After years of being a mercenary killing “Bad guys”, girlfriend Vanessa Carlysle (Morena Baccarin) speaks with Wade (Ryan Reynolds) about the possibility of making sexy avocado faced babies. Which gets us into the theme of family early on.
To guide him on this journey, Wade reluctantly joins the X-Men (because, family!) under tutelage from Colossus (Stefan Kapicic), essentially flipping the movie into a fantastical version of “How to train your Deadpool.” We also get to say hi to Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) and girlfriend, Yukio (Shiori Kutsuna) along the way.
During his first X-men mission, Deadpool encounters a pudgy young boy named Russell Collins (Julian Dennison), a mutant going by the name Firefist. Russell is going through a hard time in his foster care, and so Wade reluctantly mentors him, teaching him… actually, I’m not 100% sure Wade really teaches him anything worth noting (maybe it’s, uh, family?).
Along the journey, we find that Russell is being hunted by Cable (Josh Brolin), a time traveler from the future with a big gun. He is one-part terminator in one fist, and one-part amnesia victim in the other, coincidentally forgetting how he just fisted the whole of the universe with an infinity gauntlet.
Cable is hunting Firefist. We don’t know why, but my original theory was it probably involved more fisting.
And that’s about it.
Deadpool 2 changes its direction and purpose early and often. The movie swerves into its own twisted version of ‘Logan’ in its premise (For those who unfamiliar, it’s basically Wolverine protecting/mentoring his own mutant girl), but sort of goes off on a rampage into every direction. It sets up various gags, including an eventual X-force assembly parody, but the purpose is more about making fun of the superhero genre – sprinkling sweet bullets of pop-culture parody along the way.
Storywise, I didn’t feel the heart in this one as much as the first – but the laughs were good and plenty. Visually, it was hard to keep up with gags at times. But there’s more than enough where at least some jokes will land, regardless of your preferred style of comedy. Definite re-watch value.
Likewise, Deadpool 2 tries hard in dramatizing Wade’s personal journey. Though it often backfires and feels more like justification supporting his comedic antics and outbursts. Some reviewers have praised this stating it shows growth in tone, yet, I’m not sure if even this was meant to be taken seriously (Get to the end of the movie, you’ll see what I mean).
Due to the poor timing aligning with ‘Avengers: Infinity War’, the drama of the Deadpool 2 just doesn’t feel as weighted by comparison. It’s hard not to sense this given the Josh Brolin Bromance shared between both franchises. Suffice to say, Brolin performed admirably in both.
Similarly, the cameos and supporting characters are more rounded this time around. With Domino (Zazie Beetz), stealing the show. It would be a disservice not to mention her in this review, as her scenes utilizing the amazing superpower of luck, were some of the most entertaining action sequences in a Marvel film to date. I speak for much of the audience in saying that we want to see more of her and Negasonic Teenage Warhead for future series.
Overall, Deadpool 2 is a journey of adolescent comedy and perversion that we get the privy of playing voyeur to. It’s a lot of fan service again, though this time, with some gaping bullet holes in its plot. But that’s okay, as DP2 was always more about entertainment than virtue.
The narrative is slightly reflective of America: slightly racist and a bit obsessed with the story of an egotistical white narcissist failing upwards. But at least this one has a heart of gold… or perhaps lead, from all the bullets pumped inside of him by the end of this movie.