The Bock’s Office: ‘Deadpool 2’— Twice the slice, half the sense
June 5, 2018
You might not expect a katana-wielding maniac to touch your heart with an intentionally overwrought monologue about good and evil mere moments after making suggestive hand motions most of us outgrew in middle school. Luckily, "Deadpool 2" shows us maturity comes slowly to some.
Life has been good for old Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), or at the very least, not the nightmare it once was. A day job as the unstoppable assassin Deadpool coupled with evenings with the love of his life Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) makes for an enjoyable if unorthodox existence.
But, things never work out for long when you're the Merc with the Mouth, and even a mutant healing factor can't fix the broken heart that our hero feels when his lady is killed thanks to a hit job gone awry. With nothing left to live for, he resigns himself to his last resort — joining the X-Men.
Yet, even working for the good guys doesn't play out the way it should, and it isn't long before Deadpool is the latest guest in a high-security facility for the super-powered, the unwilling cellmate of a sullen teenager who insists on calling himself Firefist (Julian Dennison).
Wade's hopes of finding peace will have to wait, when he is forced to face off with a new foe, a time-traveling soldier known as Cable (Josh Brolin), who plans to wipe out a certain target to change the future.
What else can a morally ambiguous protagonist do but form his own rip-off super-team?
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Beneath pounds of makeup to give him just the right look that we remember as a hunk-turned-walking tumor, Reynolds never loses that twinkle in eye.
You know, the one that says, "Hey, at least I'm funnier than Hugh Jackman."
As many times as he tries to evoke the gravitas of "Logan" — including a suicide attempt you might find shocking if you didn't know it was pointless — he can't betray his silly side for long, but that's no surprise by now.
Gotta love those baby legs.
Brolin on the other hand, doesn't have much of a showcase as one of Marvel's most complex characters, who's been transposed into a mostly organic Terminator whose biggest trait is a refusal to smile at Deadpool's zingers.
Seriously, not even a hint of a grin when Wade tosses out a crack about Thanos. You're welcome for the plug, Disney.
Zazie Beetz makes a better debut as Domino, an easygoing fellow gun-for-hire who can manipulate the power of luck.
And before you ask, the more you argue, the dumber you'll look.
Young New Zealander actor Dennison also has an auspicious showing as Russell Collins, a pudgy pyrokinetic with a temper to match, focusing his hatred on the headmaster (Eddie Marsan) of a rehabilitative school that claims to be able to "cure" mutant kids.
Um, didn't we do this story already?
The fun of a hero who nitpicks his own narrative's plot holes was part of what made the original "Deadpool" such a welcome change, yet even with Reynolds joining the writing team, it feels like they're pushing that fourth wall to extremes with shoddy developments just begging to be dissected.
Some hilarious cameos make for an excellent outing, but a willingness to kill off worthwhile characters loses its novelty quickly, to say nothing of the multitude of returning folks who probably don't need to be there.
You can almost see the dartboard with names in the background, but please — spare our king of khaki Peter (Rob Delaney).
Just as the one that came before it, "Deadpool 2" is that odd feature that works in spite of itself. Another tour de force by its zany star and a screenplay that values raunchy jokes over action makes it a weird but appropriate fit into the X-Universe.