Nearly everything about the original Deadpool was fresh and funny, from the opening credits to the parody of Marvel movie finales. I’m not a fan of self-referential films but this one had so much energy and sheer bravado that it won me over, on the whole. Deadpool 2 suffers the fate of so many sequels: we’ve seen its best ideas before.
Ryan Reynolds shares screenplay credit this time around, but apparently no ideas were discarded on the path from script to screen. The film is so cluttered with smartass jokes that it never stops to take a breath—a problem imparted to us in the audience. My least favorite line: “Big CGI fight coming up.” Even the star cameos don’t come across as effectively as they should because the pace is so hectic.
I can’t completely dislike a film whose hero quotes a famous punchline from Jack Benny’s radio show, but Deadpool 2 wears out its welcome. The “meta” approach and snarky attitude can only carry it so far. Yes, director David Leitch (a former stuntman and stunt coordinator) provides some truly spectacular action scenes, but the violence is extreme and the trajectory of the story wildly uneven.
Reynolds and his alter ego have a big following, I know, but a little of Deadpool goes a long way for me. Josh Brolin as the bad-guy-from-the-future is a major asset (and of course, there is a jokey reference to Thanos) but the other cast members don’t have much to bring to the table. (The versatile Eddie Marsan is completely wasted.)
Devotees will likely disagree with me (and make snarky comments of their own), but I didn’t have nearly as much fun as Ryan Reynolds seemed to onscreen. Cue another explosion.