It’s finally here.
After allegedly-awful test-screenings, over two years in the making, Deadpool II: The Golden Army (which, in all honesty, I would’ve loved to see them keep as “The Untitled Deadpool Sequel”, per IMDb) has finally hardcore parkour’d into our lives.
With such an anticipated release, I knew it deserved more than my simple 500-550-word critique, slapped on a page and passed off as adequate. I wanted to switch it up—do something I haven’t in a while (since 2016’s Passengers, I think…)—so, here are some things I drooled over in the new Deadpool 2.0, and a few where…well, I didn’t do that.
As always, it’s coming to you completely spoiler-free…
Cranked to 11. With the success of the first, back in February of 2016—making itself back almost fourteen times, a bigger budget for the sequel was definitely in order. However, this has often come with setbacks, in the past; a successful pioneer film gets a sequel—with a lot more studio trust and money backing it—and it goes all wrong, due to cocky folks in the writing room and behind the camera. While I’d love to see what was so bad about the test-screened cut of the film, clearly David Leitch (dir. Atomic Blonde, John Wick (uncred.)) had the fans’ best interests at-heart during whatever re-shoots and re-cuts there were. The film we got is not only more action-packed than the first, but feels more like a comic book movie—the emotional stuff, the off-the-wall stunts and larger-than-life CG and other special effects made me feel like I was watching a live-action comic. Colossus—the lovable “big brother” X-Bro from the first film—gets his own time in the sun, here, that makes his fight with Angel Dust from the original look like a slap-fight. Sets are more elaborate, and everything I love and respect about the first—how they had to, and successfully did, stretch their dollar—is of no concern here, and it’s abundantly-clear that Leitch took that and ran with it. A proper sequel, indeed.
Fork over the cash, see it on the big screen. The theatre I was in had roughly a hundred other folks in it. While not the sardine can that was the original’s opener, it was comfortable—a pleasant group of other über-fans all salivating to see the exact same thing. We went through the laughs together, the slower, more heartfelt moments (no spoilers), every fan-servicing Easter egg, meta and not. I know theatre prices aren’t…ideal. If you love and enjoy and respect all the work that goes into making this stuff, though, go out and pay the money to support future endeavors. Theatres survive on concession purchases, but sequels like Deadpool 2: X-Force United are made possible by the fans; it’s because of all of you guys that the sequel was pushed through pre-production like it was, because y’all threw your money happily at the box offices around the world to see a superhero iteration done right. Keep it up—it’s definitely worth the big-screen experience, and everyone else in the auditorium will be right there with you.
“Deadpool 2: Big Red Gets Bigger”. Oh, cool—a double-entendre! Seriously, though… Wade’s character goes through some pretty interesting transformations, here. I would’ve loved to have seen the marketing around this, if it was released around Fathers’ Day, as originally intended—everyone remembers the whirlwind that was the Valentine’s Day marketing campaign for the first, right? Darker than the first, definitely, the film kicks us in the guts in the first ten or so minutes, and is basically picking up the pieces from there on out, duct taping it all back together. Cable (Than—I mean, Josh Brolin; Men in Black 3, Gangster Squad) adds to this, bringing a grounding element to Wade’s wise-cracking—more on him later, though. As I said, there’s a lot more emotion here; where I thought the character of Deadpool could be pretty simply fleshed-out—and was, essentially, in the first film—here, we see him knocked down, and how he goes about fixing his life and trying to, genuinely, save others’. Ryan Reynolds is Deadpool—not just in his amazing smartass moments, but because Reynolds is that great of an actor that he can carry the more solemn moments and make them blend with the slapstick. Where’s this man’s Oscar!?
Henceforth known as…best (under-development) indie super-group ever! The inclusion—and kick-off of—X-Force in the film was always going to be a high, for me. To see how the team is assembled, not-so-Avengers-style, how their powers coalesce, and how they work, person-to-person, as a team is critical; as a writer, I love seeing that character development—moreso when it’s team-based character-building. The X-Force we do get (see my “Baddies” section, below…) is great; Zazie Beetz (FX’s Atlanta) kills it as Domino—steals some of the show away from Wade and the others, even. I definitely want to see more of her, going forward—and not just in Deadians of the Poolaxy, Vol. 3. She’s got range, and definitely can handle herself with the stunts she does do. Colossus’s big scene is great, as I mentioned, and we get a lot more of him, thanks to the up-anted budget. Another fan-favorite (whom was done marginal justice in a prior, unnamed X-Men movie) is brought to life, too, in great CGI fashion—given the power he was always meant to have, from the comics. Brianna Hildebrand returns as Negasonic…with a twist. I want more from her, too, going forward; all this attention is paid her, to start, and then she’s kind of sidelined. But, I digress—this is a pro list, for now. Wade’s undervalued driver, Dopinder (Karan Soni; Safety Not Guaranteed, Office Christmas Party)’s continued inclusion is finally brought full-circle; a happenstance character from the first finally given his own blindside scene—I was screaming in the theatre. Duos on the team, too, could be really interesting, if explored more in future installments. Lots of team potential is set up!
New ground, same bones. Brilliant call-backs are my weakness. Not only does Dead Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams reference the original in incessant nod-worthy ways, but other films, too—within and without the X-Universe. With the switch to Disney’s amoebic library on the horizon, best get it at Fox while one can… The structure is similar to the first’s; in a few scenes, similar lines of dialogue or moves reminiscent of the original’s are used—likely to that effect, to evoke the first film. Nothing wrong with the formula Leitch and Miller, before him, used, obviously. It works, for this particular franchise, but also each installment on their own, respectively. No sense reinventing the wheel, right? That said, there are a bunch of theories floating around in my head that I can’t wait to see YouTube channels like Film Theorist work out in the near-future, maybe…
Chuckalicious cheesecake of a film. My, my…I have morning-after aches in my face cheeks from all the laughs—again, something that’s blown way out of proportion in this sequel, but in the best of ways. Leitch knew what he was working with—the cast he had, and the writers that are so loyal to the source material—and went wild. The amount of gore is so ridiculous it’s comical, but there’s a lot of slapstick stuff and sight gags present, too. Blindside moments (like Dopinder’s scene, near the end) and meta jokes are so much better, more refined and updated—of course—from the original’s not to knock what Miller and his team did; I genuinely respect his work in bringing the original to life, but Leitch doesn’t take his role or character roster for granted. Deadpool is, of course, utilized to full-effect, but a lot of the other X-Folks have great one-liners and one-off joke moments, too—including Cable, whom does a lot of warming-up through the course of the film. It’s all for the fans, though, and that’s why I love it so—every joke is a thank-you, every surprise moment crafted just for us.
What “first cut”…? I seriously want to see what was so bad about the initial cut of the film that was test-screened to horrid acclaim by audiences. Either it’s the biggest marketing hype ploy ever, or there was a lot more about this film I could’ve ended up not liking. Keeping the spoilers to myself, I can now say that about…40% of the trailer either doesn’t end up happening, or is a complete fabrication. In a sense, I guess, I can see why Leitch did it—subverting our expectations is Deadpool’s bread ‘n’ butter…but it didn’t have to be such a slap in the face. I wanted to see all that the trailer had to offer, but some of it just isn’t meant to be. While other aspects of the film make up for these shortcomings—somewhat—I did feel kind of lied to, promised things I only was able to catch glimpses of. If the initial cut was meatier—and, therefore, longer—than what theatres ended up getting, I want to see what Leitch and his editors cut, what made it so bad that it left audiences reeling. Ha. Film pun…
Untapped potential. Sort of like the above, but different. A lot of the possibilities that the trailers tease are unexplored, perhaps as sequel-bait for a third installment. While I’m totally okay with that—and am, of course, looking forward to another chapter in this utterly-amazing anthology—expect other reviews within the next few weeks to reflect the same thing. We barely get to see the future where Cable comes from, like a one-off shell of what is the Genosha storyline in the comics. Other characters that were featured heavily in the trailers are outright ignored—blatantly, almost. Cameos, where they come up, are enjoyable, sure, but I had some clear expectations, based on the trailers…and about only half of them were seen through; if we’re weighing gold to gizzards, though, I’d definitely say that what we do get is stellar, and I can somewhat forgive the tantalizing semi-troll that was the series of trailers. Maybe some Deadpool-style retconning is in order…
Umm…twist? A lot of the production was kept under-wraps, The Force Awakens-style. I thought this would bear fruit…but no. I seriously expected Mr. Sinister to show up, or to have something else totally out of nowhere happen, but what we get seems…dry. Uninspired. Maybe that’s the point—like with the recent and, frankly, staggering outcome of Infinity War, what Deadpool: Revenge of the Fallen is trying for is that same, out of left field approach, but where we’re left wanting, mouths agape. A vacuum that future chapters, hopefully, are able to fill. But really—I want some Sinister…
Despite its down-points, I thoroughly enjoyed Deadpool 2: Lost in New York. Bigger stunts, bigger sets, bigger everything. Like I said, this is a film made for the fans. Stay for the brilliant end-credits! I was utterly-shocked at how many people got up and left as soon as the dimmers came back on… Like they’ve never seen a superhero movie before.
In all seriousness, though, I had my fears. While I would’ve done some things differently, sure, Leitch took what he was left in Miller’s absence, and worked it into something great, something with definite rewatchability.
I’m giving Deadpool: Days of Future Past gets an 8 out of 10. I was happy, walking out of the theatre, discussing with my date the intricacies of the film and wide-open possibilities, going forward.
That’s all I ever want, in my films.