Deadpool was a surprise hit. Coming out in February, an R-rated superhero comedy was probably not expected to do well. And then, well, it did. Relying on mocking the conventions of the superhero origin story with a self-aware main character, Deadpool the movie perfectly captured what Deadpool the character is all about with a winning performance by Ryan Reynolds thrown in for good measure.
So, now we have a sequel directed by John Wick co-director David Leitch. Could it hold up to the surprisingly awesome original?
I’d argue no, but it made a damn good try of it.
The problem, I feel, is that the movie doesn’t have a very consistent tone. It’s still got a lot of the humor that the first movie displayed so well, and it does a fine job with that humor in its own right. Reynolds is still the perfect Deadpool, the supporting cast is still pretty rock solid, and Zazie Beetz makes an engaging introduction as the mutant Domino, stealing scenes in her own right. And Josh Brolin makes a good Cable.
The tone issue for me is that Cable is (appropriately) played straight. He doesn’t crack jokes; he arguably doesn’t even react that strongly to Deadpool’s antics in a way consistent with most comedic straight men. If anything, Cable does what he can to ignore the comedy going on around him as long as he can. Factor in also that Deadpool’s plot is actually fairly grim for such a goofy character. He’s still cracking wise, but there are many scenes where he isn’t. Considering the first movie tended to lose the levity perhaps only briefly as he was stalking love interest Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), it seems a bit too dark even for a character generally involved in such dark comedy. To be sure, there’s still plenty of humor to be seen, particularly any time Deadpool works with a mutant team, either the X-Men or his own X-Force. It’s still good, particularly the mid-credits scenes, and Leitch actually managed to improve the action scenes for this go around, but it’s not quite as good as the original. 8.5 out of 10 surprise cameos.