If the first Deadpool movie was the kick in the crotch superhero movies needed, Deadpool 2 (2018) is, well, basically another kick in the crotch. It’s a good swift one, but I was underwhelmed, mainly due to superhero fatigue and sequelitis. Now that Deadpool’s shaken up the scene once, his shtick just isn’t quite as refreshing.
The film gets off to a bad start, shattering an integral element of the first film’s success: the charming relationship between chaotic antihero Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) and his game-for-anything girlfriend Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). Deadpool’s rampage of violence against the criminal underworld comes back to bite him in the ass when his home is invaded by drug traffickers hellbent on revenge. Naturally, spoiler alert, Vanessa is killed-slash-fridged, sending Deadpool into a bleak spiral that leads him, after several sight gags, to seek help from his old friend(ish) Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) of the X-Men. Deadpool’s first mission as an X-Men trainee—to help prevent a troubled young mutant named Firefist (Julian Dennison)—goes awry, complicated by the arrival of a time-traveling badass from the future named Cable (Josh Brolin). Subsequent adventures force Deadpool to try to shape his filthy mouth and sociopathic attitude into some kind of heroism, and inspire him to form his own team.
If you saw the first one, Deadpool 2 fits the same mold: raunchy, anarchic, funny, and slapdash, wringing yet more mileage out of razor-tongued language, colorful sight gags, and comically violent visual effects. Reynolds is solid in the role, and the supporting cast introduces one neat new side character: Domino (Zazie Beetz), a luck-empowered mutant who joins his team. Unfortunately, the plot is a shotgun marriage of typical superhero conflict and shopworn, tiresome manpain tropes. The sly metahumor of the first film is replaced here by bludgeoning metahumor, overplaying its hand. Deadpool worked by setting itself apart; in its wake, Deadpool 2 unmemorably blends in.