The Movie Waffler New Release Review - DEADPOOL 2 | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - DEADPOOL 2

deadpool 2 review
Deadpool attempts to save a young mutant from a time-travelling killer.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: David Leitch

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Zazie Beetz, Brianna Hildebrand, Eddie Marsan

deadpool 2 poster

The Irish Film Classification Office card that preceded my screening of Deadpool 2 informed those present that the film had been rated by the powers that be as suitable only for those over the age of 16, yet it's difficult to believe anyone out of short pants could endure this insufferable piece of cinematic waterboarding.

Ryan Reynolds is back as the titular wisecracking, cancer-ridden yet indestructible anti-superhero. Despite his immortal nature, the film opens with Deadpool committing suicide, heartbroken by the murder of his girlfriend Vanessa (poor Morena Baccarin, given even less to do here than in the first atrocity). I'm not sure why Vanessa is killed off before the opening credits (which repeat the unfunny schtick of the first film's titles), as her demise never really plays into what little plot there is here. At first I thought we were in for some insightful commentary regarding the cliché of 'fridging' female characters to provide a motive for the male lead, but I soon learned I was giving this film far too much credit.

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Of course, despite blowing himself into multiple pieces, Deadpool regenerates, and after murdering a staff member at a facility for mutant rehabilitation, is jailed alongside teen mutant Firefist (Julian Dennison, reviving his wannabe gangster act  from Kiwi hit Hunt for the Wilderpeople) in a maximum security facility for super-villains.

Meanwhile, Josh Brolin plays Cable, a Terminator-esque time travelling hero/villain (I don't think the film is even sure on this point) who returns from the future to take out Firefist before he can grow up to murder his wife and daughter.

deadpool 2

Such is the glacial pace of Deadpool 2 that it takes well past the hour mark before any semblance of a narrative begins to take shape. It's all too clear that Reynolds is in love with this character (and given how much money the first movie made, why wouldn't he be?), as gags that weren't amusing to begin with are stretched out to snapping point, like some modern art installation designed to test the patience of the viewer. Checking my phone after the screening, I was shocked to learn the movie came in under two hours, as watching Deadpool 2 is like being caught up in a week-long hostage situation, and you'll be praying for a SWAT team to burst into the auditorium and free you from your ordeal.

The Deadpool movies are essentially more knowing versions of the genre-spoofing anti-comedies of the Wayans brothers and Friedberg and Seltzer, based around mocking the conceits of the superhero genre while readily indulging in the very same tropes. The first movie had decades of comic book adaptations to mine material from, but this sequel struggles to remain relevant, riffing on movies that came out two years ago and repeating the same snarky observations we all made on twitter when Batman V Superman and Logan were in theatres. Like Scary Movie, Not Another Teen Movie, Meet the Spartans et al, it simply drops references to other works, declining to comment on them in any original or amusing way. Nods to Flashdance and Say Anything crop up, as though the filmmakers genuinely believe they're the first to make fun of popular movies from three decades ago.

deadpool 2

The bread and butter of the first movie was its "Offended? Good!" attitude, but the world and 'the cultural conversation' has changed so much in the two years since that the sequel is forced to dial back its misogyny and xenophobia. Where the 2016 movie was offensive and obnoxious, the 2018 version is simply tedious, and in the Trump era it now feels like a franchise that's uncomfortable and a little embarrassed about having a narcissistic white guy as its protagonist. Reynolds' 'merc with a mouth' was an unbearable asshole in the first film, but at least he was a character, and the movie was fully committed to its thesis of winding up those whom its defenders would no doubt label as hyper-sensitive libtards. I may have despised Deadpool, but I understood that it most definitely wasn't a movie for me. I'm not sure who Deadpool 2 is for, as it's trimming of its stock-in-trade anti-PC edginess (the Indian is still the butt of many jokes however) will disappoint its core audience of arrested development males.

Deadpool 2 is in UK/ROI cinemas now.