Thursday, 17 May 2018
2018 USA Directed by David Leitch
UK cinema release print.
Warning: I’ve tried to keep it to a minimum but... slight spoilers.
Okay so, just over two years since the fairly awesome Deadpool movie (reviewed here) hit our cinemas we finally have Deadpool 2 and it’s... err... okay, well it’s really not bad, I suppose... ish.
Actually, I did find this sequel kinda disappointing to be honest... I just can’t put my finger on why that was because the performances by the likes of Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Brianna Hildebrand and Zazie Beetz were all pretty cool. Likewise, the script wasn’t too bad and although I found it a little bit more dense in terms of semi-obscure Marvel Comics and Marvel Cinematic Universe references (I suspect some people will not have a clue that there are certain jokes here) it was pretty “full on” and moved a mile a minute. Added to that, the direction and action editing wasn’t bad, with David Leitch, who directed Atomic Blonde (reviewed here) jumping into the main chair on this one... at least you could understand what was going on most of the time.
Why, then, did I feel this movie was fun but not all that engaging?
Well, it doesn’t help that one of my favourite characters from the first film is basically killed off in the first five or ten minutes. Now, it has to be said, since this film’s big new character, Cable, is a time traveller, it kinda felt this was an easy set up for the first major casualty of the film to return at the end. The strange thing was, the film-makers didn’t take the easy way around to this (nor one which made any sense in terms of how we’ve seen the way their version of time travel works earlier in the film... temporal logic flies completely out the window by this point) and have saved it for one of the mid-closing credits sequences in the movie. Which is fine but, since the jokey and metatextual nature of the majority of those extras could possibly be taken as a separate thing apart from the movie, I and a couple of people I spoke to, couldn’t quite work out if the character was supposed to be alive for the next movie or not (if there is one). So, yeah, it’s kind of puzzling. Either way, though, there’s not too much of the particular character in question (who I won’t reveal here) in this and so I was not happy about it.
I was even less happy when I watched a somewhat James Bondian opening title sequence which kinda commented on what the audience’s state of mind must have been in after the pre-credits sequence in which said character died. I really didn’t need to be told how I was supposed to be feeling and, like I said, I was already expecting time travel shenanigans by this point.
Another thing which niggled a little is that another of my favourite characters from the first film... didn’t have a heck of a lot to do in this one either, it has to be said. I wanted to see more of a particular person in this and that just didn’t happen for me... although that character's arc since the first movie is kinda cute, at least.
There were, of course, loads of good things about the movie too and, like I said, it’s really not a bad experience at all... I just didn’t love it like I did the first one.
Okay so, good things...
Well there are a couple of nice new characters. One of them didn’t last that long (although, again, time travel to wipe out past incidents people!) but the one who did, Domino (played really well by Zaxie Beetz) was a pretty cool one. Domino’s super power is good luck which Deadpool argues is not cinematic. Then the cast and crew spend time demonstrating just how visually interesting and comedic it is throughout the rest of the film, of course. I loved the way how sometimes things would just fall into place for her and at other times, the action would pre-empt and set things up to her advantage. For example, we see some stuff happening with a bus heading towards the walls of the building she’s in just before we hear her say something along the lines of “We could really use a bus right now”. Said transport crashes through the walls for her to use a half a second later.
Also, Cable’s character does go through kind of an emotional arc and Brolin plays him really well... I’m really beginning to get the hang of this actor now. He brought a lot of depth and emotion to Thanos in Avengers - Infinity War (reviewed here) and he’s similarly interesting and three dimensional here.
Other good stuff includes a battle between Deadpool and Cable in prison where our hero tries to stop Cable from killing a young boy before he has the chance to do horrifying things in the future. The problem here, though, is that probably nothing else in the film really tops this sequence, which must be about half the way through the movie and the rest of the film felt a little like an anticlimax in comparison. However, it’s a very nice sequence and, like I said, the film really isn’t a bad one.
Another great thing is the quality of the jokes. I said that a lot of them are going to go over some people’s heads but there’s a lovely moment where the character bridges the gap, so to speak, of the various Marvel franchises by cracking a line made famous in some of the MCU movies which I really appreciated. Plus, the very first thing you see on screen of a certain musical paperweight is going to get some wide grins I’m sure. Not to mention some of the franchise crossing and even, in a weird way, comic book company crossing in some of the post-credits scenes. In fact, there are a fair few jokes at the expense of the DC universe in this movie too, which got some laughs from the audience I was with (despite having to wait 40 minutes for a broken projector at Cineworld to be repaired before the movie started).
All in all, I find I don’t have too much to say about this one, to be honest. My hope is that there was just so much going on with it that I need to see it again to process it properly and then I’ll maybe enjoy it more then. I usually refer to the Ryan Reynolds character as being similar to Groucho Marx crossed with the superhero genre and, if I were to push the analogy, I might say that the original Deadpool felt a little like one of the early, Marx Brothers masterpieces of the late 1920s and early 1930s whereas, Deadpool 2 is more like one of their later, not so outrageously funny but still fairly entertaining efforts. If you’re a Deadpool fan you may find yourself a little less enamoured with this one but, saying that, I seem to be pretty much in the minority on this one. Not the best Marvel movie I’ve seen but, absolutely nowhere near the bad ones either. Hopefully the third one, if there is one, will recapture the spirit of the first.