Deadpool 2 (2018) ☆☆(2/4): Cynical, irreverent, and tiresome as before

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Whether you will like “Deadpool 2” or not depends on how much fun you had with “Deadpool” (2016). Unlike many others, I did not enjoy “Deadpool” much while also quite annoyed by its increasingly obnoxious self-conscious attitude, so I became annoyed again during my viewing of “Deadpool 2”, which is as cynical, irreverent, and tiresome as its predecessor while not bringing anything particularly new or surprising to its genre. Although I must admit that I chuckled during its few inspired comic moments, I also got tired and numbed as the movie constantly and distractingly threw its self-conscious wink at me throughout its running time, and it only came to leave a rather disagreeable impression on me in the end.

The movie opens with Wade Wilson/Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) becoming quite morose and then attempting suicide for a clichéd reason I will not reveal here. Of course, he cannot possibly die because, as many of you remember from the previous film, he is nearly indestructible thank to his acquainted superpower, and the movie gleefully decorates this moment with a mock main title sequence, which is clearly a cheap send-up of the main title sequences of James Bond movies but has a little touch of class thanks to Céline Dion’s deadpan singing on the soundtrack.

Anyway, Wade soon recovers after brought to the headquarters of the X-men by a big metallic mutant named Colossus (voiced by Stefan Kapičić). Although he is not so interested in joining the group, Wade soon gets himself involved in an emergent circumstance along with Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), and that eventually leads him to the encounter with Nathan Summers/Cable (Josh Brolin), who, as clearly shown from his very first scene, comes from the future and is going to kill a certain mutant character in the story for a personal reason which you can easily guess within a minute if you have ever watched “The Terminator” (1984) and “Looper” (2012).

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As Wade and other crucial characters in the story bounce from one narrative point to another, the screenplay by Ryan Reynolds and his co-writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick relentlessly fires numerous jokes and gags at us. Besides lots of jokes on “Logan” (2017) and many other recent superhero movies, there are also the ones inspired by “Yentl” (1983) and “Frozen” (2013), and I must confess that I was amused a lot when I heard Jerry Goldsmith’s certain Oscar-nominated score being played during one wacky scene involved with Wade’s very awkward physical condition.

However, many of these jokes are unfortunately undercut by the constant self-conscious attitude of the movie. Frequently trying too hard in its irreverent comic approach, the movie ultimately cheapens whatever is being at stake for Wade and other characters, and it eventually resorts to a big, mindless CGI climax as it knowingly admits to us.

At least, director David Leitch, who co-directed “John Wick” (2014) and then made “Atomic Blonde” (2017), is a good action movie director, and “Deadpool 2” has a couple of well-made action sequences. In case of the one unfolded in a prison for criminal mutants, its physical action moments are as brutal, gritty, and dynamic as you can expect from Leitch, and I appreciate how he makes sure that we are always well aware of what is going on even during its most chaotic moments. In case of a vehicle chase sequence later in the movie, I was amused to some degrees by how a character played by Zazie Beetz manages to be lucky at every dangerous moment of hers, and I did snicker as watching Wade’s very unorthodox driving method at one point.

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As he previously did in “Deadpool”, Ryan Reynolds demonstrates considerable comic intensity here in this film. Even while I was annoyed again and again by his character’s grating personality, I appreciated nonetheless how much Reynolds is willing to go for more gags and jokes, and I wish that he will do something better like “The Voices” (2014), an overlooked comedy film about a serial killer who often cannot help himself while just trying to be nice and endearing to others around him.

The supporting performers surrounding Reynolds acquit themselves well on the whole. While Brianna Hilderbrand, Stefan Kapičić, Leslie Uggams, T.J. Miller, Karan Soni, and Morena Baccarin fill their respective roles as before without many things to do, Zazie Beetz brings some spunky spirit to her character, and Josh Brolin, who recently played a big villain role in “Avengers: Infinity War” (2018), did a good job of imbuing his character with enough gravitas as required. In case of Julian Dennison, a young New Zealand actor who drew my attention for the first time via his hilarious performance in “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” (2016), he shows again here that he is indeed an interesting actor to watch, and, considering his undeniable screen presence, I certainly hope for better things in his promising movie career.

Overall, “Deadpool 2” is occasionally amusing, but it is not so funny in my trivial opinion, and I give it two stars for being not particularly better than its predecessor. I understand how subversive it wants to be with its supposedly irreverent anti-superhero, but it is just content with merely being silly and violent, and it does not do anything really fresh or subversive at all. You may laugh more than me, but its laughs are pretty shallow ones, and my displeasure only increases as I think of it more.

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