Deadpool 2 is the Saving Private Ryan of superhero movies. Not because it’s a genre classic (although it is) and not because it deconstructs superhero movies (although it does) but because there are more severed heads and limbs than at the beaches of Normandy.
The filmmakers couldn’t care less what offends people and assume that no one is too delicate to appreciate the trademarked Deadpool balance of hyper-violence and the gleefully profane.
One of the biggest improvements with this sequel to the surprise hit of 2016 is that the film feels less like a swing for the fences and instead like more of a natural progression for these characters in this specific corner of the Marvel Universe. Deadpool 2 is still constantly self-referential and meta, but the goofiness feels as if it fits the world as more than just an excuse to make fun of the endless influx of superhero movies.
Ryan Reynolds is charming as Wade Wilson, a smart-ass mercenary who’d rather do good for the world and hang out with his girlfriend than be the same angry a-hole he was last time. When a soldier from the future shows up trying to murder a teenage boy who will grow into a murderous despot, Deadpool has to decide whether to protect the life of a kid or save thousands of lives in a future he has no relationship with.
The stakes are much higher (considering half of the first Deadpool took place on a freeway), but this is still nowhere near the cacophony of children’s tears that was Infinity War. With Josh Brolin perfectly reimagining his gruff demeanor to play Cable, a humorless warrior from the future, and Zazie Beetz stealing the show as the supernaturally lucky Domino, Deadpool 2 gives us people to care about instead of just characters to laugh at.
Director Tim Miller, who gave the first film the fast-paced and hilarious tone it needed, is replaced by David Leitch, one of the masterminds behind the modern classic John Wick. Leitch brings his impeccable action timing to the franchise, giving the movie a bone-splitting immediacy missing from the original. Obviously, the film exists primarily as a satire of superhero movies and all of the clichés inherent to the genre, but now it works equally well as an actual action movie. When it’s not funny, it’s exciting…which is a surprisingly complicated tone to balance.
It’s pretty incredible how much better Deadpool 2 is than the original. Those involved figured out everything that didn’t work about the film and smoothed it out to the point of invisibility. From the pacing to the plot all the way down to the tiny little Easter eggs hidden throughout the film, Deadpool 2 is an almost flawless example of an action/comedy. It even works for people that hate superhero movies since it meticulously ridicules everything that makes the worst ones feel like test-grouped clones quietly slinking off the assembly line.
Deadpool 2 is the hero we deserve. He likes chimichangas, a sexually adventurous life with his girlfriend, and killing people with swords. How could Superman ever hold a candle to that?