Ignore the fact that Deadpool 2 is one of the six live-action superhero films being released in theaters in 2018. Moviegoers love the specialty genre, and damned be any outsider who proclaims half a dozen action-packed pictures from the Marvel and DC catalogs is excessive. When a company is pulling in billions worldwide, it’s not good business acumen to turn your back on the genre.
That said, it’s also obvious that after so many additions to so many franchises, things are bound to get a little repetitious. Sometimes the best films don’t stand out from the crowded field. Besides a super geek, can anyone really tell the difference between X-Men, X2, X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine if shown a random fight scene? It’s no wonder critics fell for Logan so hard. It was fresh and new and not so Marvel-y.
In Deadpool 2, which is also technically an X-Men movie, director David Leitch (Atomic Blonde) and returning screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick decide the sequel should basically mirror the original, except this time with a pissed-off kid and a much-anticipated villain thrown into the mix. The combination should appease fans of the series who get a hard-on for pop culture references and extreme meta humor. But depending on your threshold for snark and self-awareness, Deadpool 2 could either be a quippy masterpiece or a catty backhand to the face. Wherever you fall, it’s safe to say viewers can at least agree that it’s unapologetically crude and that Ryan Reynolds once again proves he is the perfect choice to play the titular anti-hero.
A quick spoiler-free synopsis (since Reynolds himself tweeted out a plea last week to “not say a fucking word about the fun shit in the movie”): Deadpool, aka Wade Wilson (Reynolds), is emotionally devastated after tragedy strikes. As he does in the original, he teams up with a few of the lesser-known X-Men, including newcomer Domino (Zazie Beetz), to try and corral Russell (Julian Dennison), a young, powerful mutant who has gone rogue. Also on the hunt for the mutant kid: Cable (Josh Brolin), a time-traveling, techno-organic bad dude (good dude?) driven by vengeance. How’s that for vague?
Aside from an interesting storyline or any real character development, Deadpool 2 delivers on what it promises — a butt-load of double entendres, mostly funny comic-book humor, effective music choices (including a new Celine Dion song — ha!), exaggerated, Kill Bill-style violence and Reynolds hamming it up and delivering one-liners that will likely become memes in a few weeks. If you’re looking for anything else, Deadpool has a message for you: fuck off.