As a character, Deadpool has always been at his best when he was capable of surprising readers. This is, it should be noted, different than shocking readers. Deadpool has always been capable of that and the poorest Deadpool writers were those who focused only on stunning readers with outrageous antics and dark, twisted humor. The truly great Deadpool writers have gotten creative and truly surprised readers, finding ways to explore the depths of the character and show that there is something more to Wade Wilson than a smart mouth and a gimmick that was totally ripped off of Deathstroke The Terminator.
I mention this because the same is true of Deadpool 2.
Deadpool 2 is filled with many shocking moments. Yet many of these shocking moments are not truly surprising. I was literally able to do a “3… 2… 1…” count regarding one gag near the end of the movie. Comedy, much like successful battles, is built around the element of surprise. If you can see the joke coming, it isn’t as funny. In this regard, Deadpool 2 has suffered from Traileritus – the unfortunate condition where a movie’s trailer turns out to contain all the best jokes in the film. This is not to say that Deadpool 2 is not a truly funny movie. I just don’t recall laughing as hard or as often as I did during the original Deadpool.
This might be a problem if Deadpool 2 were only concerned with scoring laughs. Thankfully, much like Wade Wilson himself, this movie has hidden depths. In much the same way as the original Deadpool was a romance about mercenary Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) finding love with Vanessa (Moreana Baccarin) against all odds, so too is Deadpool 2 a film about families and the bonds that forge families from shared experiences rather than blood relations.
The movie’s plot centers on Wade and his battle with the cyborg soldier Cable (Josh Brolin), who has traveled back in time to kill a young mutant during his awkward teen years. Said mutant is destined to become a dangerous killer and his death will save thousands, if not millions of people. Deadpool, who has issues with killing scared children, finds himself thrust into the role of the boy’s advocate and faster than you can say “The Baby Hitler Problem,” Wade is putting together a team of mutant mercenaries, including the incredibly lucky Domino (Zazie Beetz), to thwart Cable’s efforts.
There’s quite a bit more to the movie than that, but I won’t be the one to spoil it. As I said, the best elements of this movie are those which manage to surprise you rather than just shock you. I will say, however, that the biggest surprise this movie holds is just how much heart lies at its core.
The script by Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick and Ryan Reynolds (yes, he wrote the story this time too) manages to be as uplifting as a good push-up bra and as hilarious as a football to the groin. The cast are all picture-perfect, with Zazie Beetz in particularly standing out. Director David Leitch does a stellar job of balancing all the various elements of the story, from the action sequences to the quieter moments between Wade and Vanessa.
Don’t panic, though, Deadpool fans. This movie still had loads of inappropriate humor, dark comedy, surprising cameos and just as many post-credit sequences as a real Marvel Studios production. So come ready to laugh, cry and stick around through all the credits! Excelsior!