Deadpool 2 (David Leitch, 2018) 4 out of 4 stars.
Deadpool 2 is the second installment of the Deadpool franchise and is directed by David Leitch and written by Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, and Ryan Reynolds. Since the events of the first film, life has been perfect for Deadpool, a.k.a. Wade Wilson, and his girlfriend Vanessa, played again respectively by Ryan Reynolds and Morena Baccarin. D.P. slices and dices bad guys left and right from nine to five and goes home to a girlfriend who’s as crazy as he. The only two things that could possibly ruin D.P.’s life is a half-robot mercenary from the future named Cable or a rogue teenage mutant. Sadly, for the merc with a mouth, both decided to show up.
Deadpool 2 follows proper sequel protocol and amps up what made the first outing so enjoyable while putting in the crucial component that was missing the whole time. You expect Deadpool to deconstruct the superhero genre down to the smallest trope and Reese, Wernick and Reynolds double down on the most beloved and most dreaded clichés of Hollywood sequels without mercy. Ryan Reynolds has cultivated the character of Deadpool into a fine, deranged wine. Once you’ve researched the time and passion Reynolds has put into this character, it’s no surprise why the wisecracking killer in red is such a charming and welcoming entry into the superhero genre.
The humor is why you will see Deadpool 2, but not necessarily the movie’s sole reward. Deadpool is given the chance to go through an actual character arc, thanks to his relationships with Cable and a mutant teenager played respectively by Josh Brolin and Julian Dennison. D.P.’s relationship with Vanessa in the first film was fun, but Reese and Wernick bookended the film with scenes of the lovely couple instead of spreading it out throughout the film. In Deadpool 2, the core relationship hits several emotional beats which leads to a climactic resolution that has the dramatic weight Reese and Wernick wanted for the first Deadpool.
Deadpool 2 shines above its processor with the element you’d least expect. The first Deadpool had the great jokes and delightful lead characters, but it still sported a contrived story with not enough human sincerity to make up for it. David Leitch and the writing team are smart enough to recognize the flaws of the first film and flawlessly blend this new sense of heart with Deadpool’s brutal and cynical wit, which audiences have grown to love.