“Deadpool 2”

If Ryan Reynolds decides to play Deadpool for the rest of his career, I’m totally okay with that. Deadpool 2 is a sequel that tops its predecessor.

Wade Wilson AKA Deadpool (Reynolds) is now an international assassin. When he changes careers and briefly joins the X-Men, he meets a troubled mutant teen named Russell Collins (Julian Dennison from the great Hunt for the Wilderpeople). He takes a liking to the angsty kid and becomes obligated to protect him from the time traveling assassin Cable (Josh Brolin). But Cable has justifiable reasons for wanting to kill the kid.

For a sequel that changed directors and its entire crew, Deadpool 2 is an improvement in nearly every way. The action is bloodier and more kinetic, the meta jokes and pop culture references are edgier and more subtle, and the songs are better suited. Just when I got tired of hearing AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” in action movies, Deadpool 2 has me wanting more of that song.

John Wick and Atomic Blonde director David Leitch (credited as “One of the guys who killed the dog in John Wick”) understands the source material and knows when to get crazy with the action. His trademark single take choreography is present, but he gets delightfully frenetic in certain sequences, including one spectacular highway truck chase.

The movie gets darker and more dramatic by exploring Deadpool’s suicidal tendencies and Russell’s outsider attitude, but it still has heart. After all, Deadpool himself calls this movie a family movie (which, it weirdly is). That’s what I love about these movies – they improve upon the source material by humanizing their titular character.

Reynolds once again is delightfully vulgar, ruthless, and unhinged as Deadpool. I’m not sure if it’s the script or Reynolds, but Reynolds makes you root for a character that’s despicable. Brolin is a great foil as Cable. He’s not as compelling as he was in this year’s Infinity War, but he delivers plenty of dry humor and arm-breaking moments. Zazie Beetz also scores some great moments as the lucky mutant, Domino, who’s a member of Deadpool’s X-Force team.

Deadpool 2 may come off drawn out and a tad uneven to some and offensive to others, but it continues Reynold’s A-game streak. The question is will we get Deadpool 3 or x-Force next?

Grade: A

 

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“Deadpool”

If meta humor and mayhem-fueled action tickle your fancy like it does mine, “Deadpool” is for you.

MILD SPOILERS AHEAD, CHILDREN! YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!

This is Ryan Reynolds’s passion project (he’s the star and producer) as he portrays Wade Wilson, an invincible wisecracking mercenary seeking revenge. Wilson has a twisted sense of humor while on his bloodthirsty rampage (he makes a joke about killing someone in five minutes while chasing them on a Zamboni).

Ryan Reynolds hasn’t had the best luck over the last seven years with a long string of critical and commercial failures (“Green Lantern”, “RIPD” and “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” are just a few to name). Reynolds even expressed disappointment in “Origins: Wolverine”, but props to him for taking control over “Deadpool”. This is a faithful adaptation and easily a career revival for Reynolds.

Reynolds cracks self-aware jokes and pop culture references throughout “Deadpool” in the middle of action sequences. This isn’t limited to making fun of himself in “Origins: Wolverine” and “Green Lantern”, referencing the “X-Men” franchise, “Alien 3”, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, “The Matrix”, and Jared from Subway. Yeah, pretty good sense of humor for a disfigured maniac .

It’s the writers’ (credited in the genius opening credits as the “Real Heroes of the Movie”), script that make Reynolds shine. It’s a combination of dark comedy, romantic drama, revenge thriller, and superhero satire. First time director Tim Miller (credited as “An Overpaid Tool”) does a great job directing the intentionally clumsy and energetic action sequences without giving us a headache.

The supporting cast also has their fine moments with TJ Miller (“Silicon Valley”) as Wilson’s best friend, Morena Baccarin (“Firefly”) as Wilson’s equally sassy and vulgar girlfriend, and Ed Skrein (the original Daario Nahares in “Game of Thrones”) as a violent-yet-overly insecure villain.

The movie isn’t perfect since it’s a semi-origin story and has mild pacing issues with drawn-out flashbacks. Aside from that, “Deadpool” wastes no time entertaining us with its warped humor and badassery.

Grade: A