I keep hearing stories about how parents think that Deadpool (his name, right?) is just another Marvel superhero movie. Sure, he looks like an action figure and people like talking about him. Heck, one of the motifs in the movie is how this is a family film. Let's just be clear because I don't want people citing me for taking their kids to this movie. Deadpool 2 is a hard-R with tons of language, vulgarity, and violence. LIke, those are the foundations upon which this movie is built. You have been adequately warned. It is a hard hard R.
DIRECTOR: David Leitch
I haven't formed an opinion. At least, I haven't formed a good opinion. How am I supposed to review a movie while my mental jury is still out? Basic background: I kind of liked the first Deadpool movie when I saw it in theaters. People were losing their minds about the movie and I thought it was pretty good with some pretty good laughs. I enjoyed it way more when I saw it on DVD, but I didn't lose my mind like the entire world lost theirs. I don't know. I had to check to see if I even reviewed that movie. Spoiler: I haven't. But the Deadpool 2 trailers really made me laugh. Like, I watched the one with Peter skydiving and I just completely lost it. But here we go. I'm going to review and analyze Deadpool 2 considering that I just saw it yesterday at 10:50 am in a theater with four people, which I would consider probably the least conducive to comedy way to see Deadpool 2.
Last week, I reviewed Lost in America. I watched it with subtitles, which let me understand everything that was being said on the radio in the background of the opening credits. In the credits, Larry King was interviewing Rex Reed about his preferred way to see movies. Reed said that preferred to be well-rested and see things in the morning alone. King then questioned that a comedy should be seen with lots of people and Reed said that if something was funny, it was funny regardless. Seeing a movie with practically no one in the theater and no one laughing highlighted some of the weaker spots of Deadpool 2 for me. I admit, it is a Herculean task to get me to find something funny when no one else was laughing. As such, I sat through most of the movie a little bit bored. The good news is that when a joke was really funny, it was genuinely hilarious. There are three or four moments where I couldn't stop dying from laughter, despite the fact that Yahoo! news spoiled one of the bigger jokes of the film. (Thanks a lot, Yahoo! News. Grumble.) What I quickly realized that Deadpool is kind of a one note joke. When comedies get sequels, they often have to do a fair bit of pandering. People expect callbacks from the first movie, but these jokes are often just rehashing of the same material. This might be the most on the nose with Dopinder. Dopinder was hilarious in the first movie. I died. Absolutely cracked me up. Dopinder in this one seemed like such a stretch of the imagination that he would still be involved. On top of that, Dopinder's gag is really just a logical next step of the same joke that we got in the first movie. In the first one, he killed someone despite being this unassuming guy. In this one, he wants to kill more people, despite the fact that he's still unassuming. I guess I smirked, but I also felt instantly tired when it came to that. The same thing goes with the X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Green Lantern jokes. When they said that the first time in the first movie, I died. But it is like a magic trick. The more I see the same trick, the less impressed I am by the whole thing.
But then there were also the jokes that I didn't know why they didn't slay. Again, empty movie theater. But the opening credits were fantastic. I mean, it just established that there was a budget to this movie that the first movie didn't really have. I loved the opening credits. But not one laugh escaped my mouth. I don't know why some things didn't work like they should. X-Force worked great. Domino, comedy aside, worked really well. But then there was stuff that fell just flat on its face. I honestly couldn't stand Russell. I know. Putting kids in action movies is a trope. But this trope is about how likable the kid is. Russell more than kinda sucks. I think I had the same theory that Deadpool 2 had: people with New Zealand accents are funny. I always thought this. Russell disproves this. There is nothing likable about that kid. The problem is that the entire movie hinges on this kid being worthy of Wade's attention. He's a punk and a jerk. I get it, Wade is the same character. But the kid is pretty selfish. He ignores all advice given to him. He's got a chip on his shoulder and I'm glad that he's not a goody-two-shoes, but I actually think that his performance makes him annoying as get out. I don't want to crap on a fifteen year old for a bad performance, but he's in that category of insufferable kids. These are the characters that make our eyes roll. But the movie is about Russell. Wade keeps saying that he wants to save him and it doesn't make a lick of sense. That kid can't be changed with one moment. He's a huge jerk. Yes, he has this dark background and I'm coming across as a real jerk. But, man, I just did not care about that kid's well-being. So you have this really weird combo of repeated jokes and characters I didn't care about. That's not a good combo.
But I said that I really liked Domino. Domino is absolutely perfect in this movie. There is also a bunch of stuff that is absolutely perfect. I can't really hold the movie responsible for the problems with marketing. I didn't laugh at Peter in the movie at all because I had seen all of these jokes in the trailer. But Peter is a great addition. But the thing I kind of respect about the movie is the attempt to give Deadpool some pathos. In the comic series, there was this tradition of making Deadpool exclusively a comedy character. But then Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan came on board and made it hilarious while simultaneously being tragic. The movie tries riding this line, and, occasionally succeeds. But the movie had a bit of cake-and-eat-it-too attitude. The opening sequences completely changed Deadpool's status quo. It was great. He was given this character definition and it seemed like there were going to be major changes to make Deadpool 2 its own movies. It looked like Wade couldn't be the jovial merc with a mouth, but the big tragedy didn't affect him like it should have. His personality was exactly the same, but the movie stopped the movie every twenty minutes to just tell us that Wade was hurting. That's a cop out. It is either that Wade is now a tragic character or he's the Merc with a Mouth. I'm sorry, but those tonal shifts don't really gel. I mean, I love that it happened. In isolation, the dark stuff actually plays really well. But the movie just wanted to do too much. I know that a bunch of people would have been really bummed had the rest of the movie just been this intense film about Wade trying to redefine his status quo. But having none of these things have consequences also cheapens what little good will that the movie earned with me. As part of that, I now realize that I might not like the movie Deadpool that much. There's something really weird about Wade and Vanessa just hanging out. Part of what makes Deadpool who he is the idea that he's kind of meta and insane. He's allowed to talk to the camera because he's not a normal character. He's madcap (not Madcap) and zany. When he's talking about having kids and watching Yentl, how does that gel with a guy who can blow himself up and talk to the audience about Hugh Jackman? It's just so weird. I don't want to be all "comics Wade" v. "film Wade", but there is a striking difference. Part of that comes from the mind of the storyteller. Wade is whomever the director wants him to be. That's fine. It is just jarring.
I really want to like this movie. Perhaps it is the elitist in me, but I just couldn't love it. So many people like this movie. I don't really get it. But I'll give it another shot. For all I know, I just wasn't in the right place to watch it. I didn't even talk about Cable at all. I just didn't care enough to talk about Cable. Cable's fine, I guess. It's just that he doesn't feel very deep. It's weird how Thanos is a better developed character than Cable. There. I talked about Cable.
Film is great. It can challenge us. It can entertain us. It can puzzle us. It can awaken us.
Mr. H has watched an upsetting amount of movies. They bring him a level of joy that few things have achieved.