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Review: 'DEADPOOL 2' is a rare sequel that bests its predecessor

Courtesy of Fox

Early on during my viewing of “Deadpool 2” I was unsure of my feelings. I’ll begin by saying the overall tone is much darker than what I was expecting - (the opening credits feature the Celine Dion ballad “Ashes”) - and it was rubbing me the wrong way. My instincts were fighting with me, pleading that a better movie was waiting on the other side. And once the dust settled - sure enough - a sly and bolder film stood in its place. Deadpool has, more or less, become a household icon after the merc with the mouth propelled the X-Men spin-off to become the second highest grossing R rated film of all time (just behind “The Passion of the Christ” which the film jokingly pokes fun at) and capitulated Ryan Reynolds as a true hollywood star. With all those numbers in your corner, how can you not make a sequel? Now I didn’t love “Deadpool” as most did, I thought it had some pacing issues and while “Deadpool 2,” may not be as sharp as it wants, at least it corrects some of those mistakes and in return is the better film of the two (more so by default if anything.) Audiences fell in love with Deadpool for his raunchy, immature and meta humor. Always breaking the fourth wall to address the spectators and leaving no property unscatched. That doesn’t change here as nobody is safe from the likes of Deadpool’s wild antics. You’ll hear the zingers about Marvel and DC and Josh Brolin being called Thanos because, why not? Either way, the plot has more of an arch (I think) this time around, as Wade is dealing with a bit of a mid-life crisis, and fights more self-reflecting demons than before. Sure, he’s still killing off bad guys, kicking ass, and trying to concoct a scheme against the X-Men, but he has more purpose than before. And so, It’s refreshing to see a superhero with as much brass as Pool be succumbed to real world pressures. In “Deadpool 2,” directed by “one of the guys who killed John Wick’s dog,” Wade Wilson is tasked with becoming a team player. Much to the dismay of fellow comrade, Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand,) “Deadpool” officially becomes the new “trainee” on the block, who must follow strict rules in accordance with Charles Xavier's guidelines like, for example, “no killing,” and “always label your food in the refrigerator.” That doesn’t last long when a raging 14 year old boy named Russell (Julian Dennison) explodes on the scene with raging ‘fire fists.’ He sparks the interest of a time traveling cyborg like figure named Cable (played with a deep falsetto by the always reliable Josh Brolin) for reasons Deadpool doesn’t want to understand. In order to save the kid from Cable’s wrath, Deadpool and friends (including your favorite taxi driver Dopinder) assemble their own “X-Force” which ranges from a strong and brooding fella named Bedlam (Terry Crews) to an average joe looking guy called Peter (Rob Delaney) - he just saw the ad in the paper and showed up. They do make an interesting quartet, and root “Deadpool 2” into a more stable second act than its predecessor. Unlike “Deadpool,” this adventure doesn’t waste time dilly dallying with plot holes we don’t need explained. In fact, the darker tone that’s established at the beginning makes the constant stream of laughs feel like a breath of fresh air. Obviously, if “Deadpool 2” seems like it’s overstaying its welcome - it is.That’s the one mistake these films haven’t fixed: the relentless need to infuse every single frame with some pop cultural one-liner. For every 10 jokes on the page, about seven of them land, a fine happy medium, but a tad frustrating giving that, deep down, a much leaner and precise film exists in the can. You might feel a bit whipped. Plus: just because Deadpool acknowledges the questionable plot mechanics and poor writing, doesn’t make them any less problematic. Other characters fill out the roster like an acid vomiting lad named Zeitgeist (played by Pennywise himself Bill Skarsgard), Domino (Zazie Beetz) a high strung warrior whose superpowers is to ‘be lucky,’ and TJ Miller is back again to spruce up the bunch as the lovable sidekick Weasel. But the movie ultimately belongs to Reynolds in a role he was destined to play and Brolin (having quite the year in superhero fare) brings depth to Cable, the metal arm wielding soldier sent from the past. Which means the writing team (Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick and Reynolds) did their job well. And don’t count out David Leitch (“Atomic Blonde”) who I throughly believe is one of the best action directors working today. Funny, energetic and seemingly gimpish at almost every corner “Deadpool 2” is a strong film. Though you might watch it and think there could be an even better movie on the horizon just waiting to be released. You can love Deadpool as much as you want, but even he’s got to find some balance and learn that sometimes the best things are left unsaid. Grade: B+

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