The Hollywood Reporter's John DeFore argues that the sequel is just as amusing as the first, if not more refreshing, given that its smart-mouthed hero is now in his sophomore outing. That's more or less true, and it was also hampered by a generic villain and a few shortcuts budget-wise. Well that, plus its cheerfully inappropriate humor and over-the-top-and-beyond violence.
Time will tell if the box-office coin will flow into the movie's studio, 20th Century Fox, like it did two years ago, but I can certainly tell you "Deadpool 2" (opening Friday) is as entertainingly distasteful (perhaps even more) than the first movie. In fact, Crews seemed particularly happy to see Leslie Uggams, who costars in the film as Blind Al. They're trying to contain a young mutant, Russell (Julian Dennison, the young discovery from "Hunt for the Wilderpeople"), with fire-throwing powers and a beef against the headmaster (Eddie Marsan) of the orphanage where he's being held.
The movie gets frisky with the X-Men themes, as Deadpool forms his own "forward-thinking, gender-neutral" team, X-Force, which includes the dynamic Domino (Zazie Beets, from FX's "Atlanta"), whose superpower is luck, and Peter (comic Rob Delaney), a dad-bod guy whose superpower is ... well, he doesn't have one.
We'll have to wait until Deadpool 2's arrival later this week before we understand the full extent of the actor's unusual elevator pitch, but when Reynolds was pressed about a possible third installment for his gun-toting mercenary earlier this month, he played coy, stating that Deadpool 3 is by no means a sure thing.
Deadpool 2's score is exactly the same as that of Avengers: Infinity War, a turn of events even the self referential superhero couldn't have predicted.
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Although the whole Deadpool concept-a wisecracking, potty-mouthed, would-be superhero who knows he's a fictional character and keeps reminding you of it-may not have the same freshness and novelty the second time around as it did the first, Reese and Wernick (with an assist from now credited screenwriter Reynolds) put more meat on the bones of the story here, taking the narrative into some truly bonkers directions and offering up a string of scenes right out of the comic books. This time, the stakes are higher, and the praises louder.
Up to this point, there's a great "Logan" joke, a hilarious opened credits sequence, some amusing X-Men jokes, and top-notch fight sequences (David Leitch of "John Wick" and "Atomic Blonde" fame is the director, taking the reins from the original movie's director Tim Miller). And there may be no better director at staging action of this kind at the moment.
As for the new characters, it may indeed be unsettling to hear Thanos' voice coming out of Cable's mouth so soon, but Brolin does his usual excellent job by imbuing what could easily be a Terminator-like automaton on the screen with humanity and depth. When Deadpool himself gets serious, the movie inches very close to being too saccharine or over-tragic and it doesn't quite work. It rightly assumes that its audience has seen "Logan", the critically acclaimed "X-Men" film that dared to show us - spoiler alert - the death of Hugh Jackman's popular Wolverine character.
Although perhaps a bit long, Deadpool 2 doesn't really overstay its welcome.
Uproxx critic Vince Mancini was another who said the sequel surpasses the original, writing that the film manages to escape the franchise plans of Fox and still revel "in the small victories, in simply feeling like it was written by dorks and not an algorithm". Reynolds has said there may not be one.