‘You’re smarter than I look.’
There’s typically two kinds of sequels. There’s the kind where you can get away without having seen the first one. You might have been roped into watching it with family or friends, or have caught it whilst it’s on telly. It’s easy enough to get a grip on what is happening although there may be some gaps; there’s an extra dimension to proceedings for those who’ve watched the first film. Arguably the films of MCU are examples of these – you can see Infinity War without having seen the previous 17 films, but each additional film you have seen will provide an additional understanding and appreciation of what’s occurring. Deadpool 2 is the other kind of sequel.
Seeing Deadpool is pretty much a requirement if you want to enjoy its sequel. The entire film is grounded in what has gone on before: the plot; characterisation and in-jokes are targeted at those who were present for round one. Without doing your homework round two would be an onslaught.
That’s not to say the sequel is a reshash. Far from it. Impressively the film feels fresh, with a slightly tighter sense of tone and much more focus on development of the characters. Whilst I really enjoyed the first film (I saw it three times in its opening week for reasons…) this feels the same but different. It brings exactly what you want – violence, humour of all the kinds, engaging action sequences and a huge serving of Reynolds charm.
However, in a case of more is more, and as is the way with most sequels, everything gets bigger. The stakes are bigger and the story is manages to both send up superhero movies whilst being an excellent example of one. The gag rate is immense, even higher than the first film, and to the extent that at least a second watch is required as you miss a handful of jokes whilst still laughing at the one before. They’re meta to the extreme, an acquired taste that won’t necessarily appeal to all. In some ways the film feels like a reward for those pop culture savvy; an endless array of witty and indulgent wink-wink-nudge-nudge to the audience. But less subtle than that.
The cast are a real pleasure to watch. Reynolds yet again stealing most scenes as the merc with a mouth. He’s smug, witty, violent, self-aware yet somehow never toxic. Brolin plays it perfectly straight as Cable, a superb foil and a deadpan balance to Reynolds hyperactive endless stream of consciousness – think the equivalent of Guardians Of The Galaxy’s Drax to Peter Quill. Zazie Bettz is a wonderful addition to proceedings as the ever-lucky Domino, a captivating presence who truly holds her own. The rest of the cast are also fantastic, but I shan’t go into too much detail as I wouldn’t want to spoil things.
Deadpool 2 is exactly what you expect it to be, and then some.
(Side note: There’s two mid-credits sequences. Stay for them. They’re so worth it)
Deadpool 2 opened in UK cinemas on Tuesday 15th May.