As the end credits came up for Deadpool 2, another film popped into my head and that was the 2002 film About a Boy. Why? In one of the most unlikely film comparisons that I’ve ever made, both films are about the importance of family. Can a film that is rated 18A, based on a beloved comic book character, filled with violence, profanity, dismemberment and sex jokes really give an insightful look into the importance of family? I argue that it does.
Deadpool 2 begins with the “Merc with a Mouth” (Ryan Reynolds) continuing to stop evildoers from, well… doing evil things. He is still with the love of his life Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) and they are planning to start a family together. That is until some bad guys show up and shoot up Deadpool and Vanessa’s apartment…
…killing Vanessa in the process. After getting his revenge, Deadpool ends up at the X-Mansion where Colossus (voiced once again by Stefan Kapicic, and who is easily my favourite character in the two Deadpool films) consoles him and convinces him to join the X-Men, although only as a trainee. Deadpool, Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) are called into action by going to an orphanage to help calm a young mutant named Russell Collins / Firefist (Hunt for the Wilderpeople’s Julian Dennison) who is threatening to use his powers to hurt people. Deadpool realizes that he is behaving this way because he has been abused by some of the staff at the orphanage. After Deadpool kills one of the orphanage staff, both Deadpool and Firefist are taken to a place called the Icebox. This is where the film really begins to pick up steam as the cybernetic soldier mutant Cable (played by Josh Brolin) shows up. Cable has only one thing on his mind and that is to kill the young mutant Firefist for reasons that only he knows about. This leads to a series of great action set pieces, the formation of a group of mutants known as the X-Force, the appearance of a mutant that has appeared in the X-Men universe before and a climatic finale back at orphanage. As always, the question is, should you go see this film? Here are my thoughts:
The chemistry that Deadpool has with every character he interacts with is fantastic. He is a walking one-line joke machine who just doesn’t shut up. His insults and wisecracks are delivered with aplomb and Ryan Reynolds seems to be having the time of his life playing the role once again. I also have to credit the screenwriters, because there are jokes that are at a certain actor’s expense and there are jokes that target both the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the DC Extended Universe. Most comic-movies seem to play it safe with jokes, but not this one. They don’t care who they offend or insult. I know this is a film that I will have to watch again because I missed some one-liners because I was laughing at previous sequences of the film.
Josh Brolin is excellent as Cable and really comes into his own near the end of the second act, once we realize that he is not just a one man killing machine. I also have to commend the CGI and make-up on the character because it looked fantastic on the screen.
Julian Dennison is also great as the troubled young mutant Firefist, who is just looking for some to look up to. He gets to have a fully fleshed out character where you feel empathy for him and his situation, think he’s just a brat, laugh at his imagination and want him to both unleash and control his powers.
I praised the script earlier because of the amount of wisecracks and jokes in it, but I have to keep the praise going, as Deadpool 2 does something that I have not seen in a superhero film before – it doesn’t really have an antagonist. The closest the film has to a villain is the headmaster of the orphanage (played by Eddie Marsan). The reason for this is that the motivations of some characters change throughout the film, so you really don’t despise a character throughout the movie or ever have to worry about someone having a plan that will destroy the world. It’s an inspired writing decision and one that the screenwriters should be praised for. They also do a great job discussing the importance of family. Deadpool, Cable and Firefist have all experienced loss in their lives and a lot of the secondary characters act as their extended family at certain points throughout the film. The end result demonstrates the importance of making sure people have a sense of belonging and support. It really is a strong script.
These are minor quibbles I have with the film. I said earlier in the review that the strength of the character Deadpool is when he is interacting with other people on screen. When Vanessa dies, the character goes into a depression (which is understandable when you lose a loved one) and it just doesn’t feel right watching Deadpool feel sorry for himself. He continues to feel this way when he is in the Icebox prison. Mercifully, once Cable shows up, he breaks out of this funk, as I did think it slowed down the film a little bit.
I also thought Eddie Marsan was criminally underused in his role. Maybe the character had more screen time in an earlier draft, but because he is a known actor to me, I questioned why they hired someone of his stature to be in the film for such a short period of time in the film. I think his character could have been removed and you just use the possible destruction of the orphanage itself as the driving force of the events that lead to the final act.
There are some truly inspired bits in this film. I absolutely loved the X-Force sequence of the film. From the setup to the payoff, it had me laughing throughout with the character of Peter (Rob Delaney) being the standout member with Domino (Zazie Beetz) a close second. Both actors bring such joy to the characters that they are a delight when they are on screen.
The use of cameos in the film is fantastic and even I didn’t realize some of the actors that appeared in the film until I read up on it afterwards, so make sure you play close attention.
I also think that the extended mid-credits sequence might be the best one ever done, as it has fun with Cable’s time-travel device. It is done completely for laughs and I was howling throughout it. I should also note that you can leave at the end of the mid-credits sequence as there is no post-credits sequence.
If there was one scene that is the absolute standout of the film, it is what I will call the Basic Instinct sequence. The setup is great and as more and more characters appear in the scene, it just keeps getting funnier and more absurd that you just cannot help but laugh. I don’t want to say anything more, as it will spoil the fun, but it is executed perfectly.
The soundtrack for Deadpool 2 is amazing as it is filled with a ton of pop songs such as Dolly Parton’s ‘9 To 5’, Cher’s ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’, and the song Tomorrow from the musical Annie. There is even a cool unplugged version of A-Ha singing ‘Take On Me’ as well as the Celine Dion power ballad ‘Ashes’ that turns out to be a parody of James Bond when it is used (that will make sense when you see it in the film).
Finally, the back and forth between Deadpool and Colossus is the heart of the movie for me. There is a great bit of dialogue between the two characters about how Colossus was always there trying to support and encourage Deadpool and that Deadpool never reciprocated. Colossus is a father figure to Deadpool and he realizes that he needs to be that to Firefist and it just all tied in nicely with the theme of the movie about the importance of family.
Deadpool 2 was an absolute blast. It continued to raise the bar from the first film and as I have said throughout this review, it touched on the importance of family. At the end of the film About a Boy, the character of Marcus quotes John Donne and says “No man is an island”. Deadpool realizes this and that is what gives this film its heart. I give the film 3.5 out of 4 stars and I hope that if the Fox/Disney deal goes through that we’ll see a Deadpool 3.