The 2016 Marvel smash hit, Deadpool – $783.1m at the box office for a budget of $58m – always had the feeling that it might be a one-off. Could the Merc with the Mouth really pull it off again?
But the arrival of Deadpool 2 makes it clear that this was no blip: if anything, the new film is even better than the initial outing.
It says something about Marvel that, on the one hand, it can be producing the rather more ‘serious’ superhero films such as Avengers: Infinity War at the same time as having an anti-hero like Deadpool take the proverbial out of just that. In fact, it probably says most of why DC are struggling so much in the film stakes.
Personally, I can enjoy both sort of superhero outing, but this latest instalment of a character who was initially introduced to comics as a villain has something extra and David Leitch’s film develops that brilliantly.
Two years after Wade Wilson/Deadpool has become a mercenary, he just misses killing a drug dealer, who then murders his beloved Vanessa on the night of their anniversary, just after they’ve agreed to start a family.
Deadpool is distraught and tries to kill himself, but since his super power is regeneration/healing, this isn’t very effective.
Things take a new direction, though, when a mutant teenager at an orphanage, Russell ‘Firefist’ Collins, explodes with rage. Deadpool is drawn into the situation – just as cybernetic warrior Cable arrives from the future on a mission to kill the boy.
That’s it – no further spoilers.
Perhaps one of the most surprising things about the film, though, is that for all Deadpool’s wisecracking (and there’s plenty of that), it suddenly jolts to moments that are moving, in a story that has a philosophical and emotional complexity that belies the usual ‘comic book’ stereotype.
Of course, the shattered broken fourth wall, the gags about Marvel (and DC) and the self deprecation all help to give the audience a greater sense of human connection to Wade than it would to a brooding bat-type character, for instance. And that’s without mentioning the constant flow of references to other films, comics and much, much more.
The supporting cast has become stronger – Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) and Colossus (voiced by Stefan Kapicic) return, with a chance for some character development, while Domino (Zazie Beetz) and Josh Brolin as Cable add new energy from the sidelines.
Leslie Uggams and Karan Soni are also back as Deadpool’s elderly roommate Blind Al and the taxi driver, Dopinder, while Julian Dennison does a remarkable job as a Collins.
Ultimatel though, this is Deadpool’s film and Ryan Reynolds does not disappoint.
It was suggested two years ago that this would be a career-defining role, and that becomes ever clearer.
Sassy, sexy, arch, violent, rude – and enormous fun, it can only be hoped that this will not be the final outing for him and his developing family.