If you’re one of a growing number of frequent moviegoers tiring of the superhero genre, “Deadpool 2” is the epitome of everything you’ve come to hate.
Everything feels bloated and rehashed; the villains are under-written, poorly acted and inconsequential to the story as a whole. It’s the same movie all over again.
But if you’re among an equally large number of fervent fans desperate to see their childhood comic books come to life on the big screen, “Deadpool 2” is right in your wheelhouse.
The foul-mouthed, shoot-first-ask-questions-later vigilante Deadpool returns for more thrills, double entendres and bloodshed with reckless abandon.
Still out to prove that he’s not a superhero, Deadpool indiscriminately slaughters bad guys until he’s separated from his love, Vanessa, and in the crosshairs of a time traveling cyborg just this side of “The Terminator” franchise.
It’s getting to the point now it’s increasingly difficult to separate Ryan Reynolds the performer from the acting choices he makes as Deadpool.
His Wade Wilson is so inextricably linked with the man playing the part that Deadpool has almost become part of Reynolds’ psyche.
After Reynolds willed this version of Deadpool into existence, his deepening dive into the world of the character has transcended even his roles as performer, writer and producer, pushing Reynolds into a one-man media wrecking ball of shameless self-promotion.
In three short years, Reynolds has ingrained himself into the character at a level rivaling Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man with just as much sass and a million times the expletives.
If his intense bravado and over-exploitation of pop culture endear you to both Reynolds and the character of Deadpool, you’ll be on the edge of your seat or rolling in the aisles for the better part of two hours.
Those who struggle to handle the heavily R-rated caricature will easily check out of the film within five minutes and long for their money back.
Josh Brolin makes his second superhero appearance in as many months, this time as the half-man, half-machine Cable after a rousing turn as the villainous Thanos in “Avengers: Infinity War.”
It’s easier to assess Brolin’s work here as he’s not covered by layers of CGI and yet the parallels between the two stoic, monotone performances are readily apparent.
While in “Avengers” the emotional weight Brolin carries within his performance works as both a catalyst to the story and dramatic depth, an equally weary Brolin turn didn’t work quite as well in “Deadpool 2” because the underlying drama of the film doesn’t feel earned.
Poor screenwriting that values frequent, obscure pop culture-based punchlines over cohesive plot structure is surely to blame.
With five new major characters and an equal number of newcomers, it’s hard for their to feel like a standout amongst a bloated cast for such a simple storyline.
Returners Morena Baccarin as Vanessa and T.J. Miller as best friend Weasel are fine if not largely unmemorable, whereas “Atlanta” star Zazie Beetz packs a lot of punch as the perpetually lucky Domino and Julian Denneson of “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” fame offers a terrific blend of humor and emotional depth as a troubled young mutant.
Director David Leitch makes his mark with well shot, yet conventional action sequences and stays largely out of Reynolds’ way for the film’s indulgent bouts of comedy.
If Leitch intended to make the sequel feel exactly like the original film with a larger budget, his vision works. It’s much more questionable whether or not doing the same thing on a bigger scale works as well for a comedy masquerading as a superhero film.
“Deadpool 2” has a high degree of difficulty for audiences not well versed in comic book and pop culture lore. Jokes about a famed Marvel artist’s inability to draw feet or who the superhero Shatterstar is will likely go over newcomers’ heads.
But searching out “blink and you’ll miss it” cameos from A-listers Brad Pitt and Matt Damon is still a fun exercise.
The jokes are crude and the spandex’s tight, but moviegoers who enjoy a good-natured amount of tasteless fun will get a kick out of Reynolds’ endless antics as “Deadpool 2” barrels its way towards an inevitable sequel.