What it's about: Wade Wilson, aka Deadpool [Ryan Reynolds], is a lawless vigilante who is ready to settle down. He's ready to start a family with his girlfriend and ready to finally team up with the X-Men to do some good in the world [at least the kind that doesn't involve violently killing bad guys]. On his first mission to stop a young mutant from burning down an orphanage, Deadpool gets caught up in protecting the kid from a time-travelling cyborg called Cable [Josh Brolin]. But Deadpool may have to work with his ruthless enemy in order to stop a terrible future tragedy.
I really wasn't much of a fan of Tim Miller's 2016 Deadpool. I thought it was funny but the abrasive humor designed for teenage boys wore on me. Worse, though, is I remember basically nothing about the film. Who was the villain? How did Wade become Deadpool? The two scenes that I recall most are the very clever opening credit sequence [better than Deadpool 2's follow-up] and the risky post-credit sequence announcing Cable as the future villain.
Overall, Deadpool 2 is a better film, one I enjoyed more thoroughly, and one I expect to actually remember in two years.
I wouldn't say the film is as consistently funny as its predecessor but that is mostly due to trying to be an actual film. And don't get me wrong, there are some ridiculously funny sequences in Deadpool 2. Still, there are long stretches between jokes at all, either focuses on action beats or with dramatic stakes. Even then, everything is heightened.
The majority of the film's humor is either crude or self-referential -- the later tending to work better, at least for me. As in the first film, star Ryan Reynolds is the target at the center of much of the digs. The post-credit sequence is particularly hard on the star, leaving the film off on a delightfully funny note.
The film might be one of the best ever in using clever cameos. Two particular moments/sequences stand out: a quick moment with a few recognizable actors out of focus in the background and an extended "building a team" sequence with a new cast of superhero friends. The latter is when Deadpool 2 is at its most fun with one particular character that is one of the best gags I've seen in a long while. Domino is the major addition of this team, played by Atlanta's Zazie Beetz, and she is an awesome, badass female superhero with a super power that seems very silly but works with visual flair.
I encourage you not to look at the full IMDb cast list to not spoil a few of the nice surprises.
It isn't all fun and games, though, and that's where Josh Brolin comes in. The actor is having quite a moment after just starring as the biggest, baddest comic book movie villain only a few weeks ago. He is an amazing presence as Cable, suitably gruff and tough. But he is completely humorless -- the film actually points his lack of any sense of humor out at one point. This would be OK in most films, but not one with the tone of Deadpool 2. It would also be OK if his stone face would have been part of a joke, but that really isn't the case, either. It isn't really even a straight man and jokester dynamic relationship.
If you liked Julian Dennison in Hunt for the Wilderpeople [and why wouldn't you?], you should like him here, too. He's basically the exact same character.
Deadpool 2 does something really interesting with the showdown climax, avoiding any comic book film villain problems by establishing there are no true good guys or bad guys. Obviously, Deadpool is the hero that wants to be an anti-hero, but both Cable and Russell [who is referred to as Firefist once and then never again] both work in shades of gray. All three of these characters do bad things for what are understandably good reasons. By the climax, you just want them all to get along but also recognize that really isn't possible, at least not easily.
The biggest improvement from Deadpool to Deadpool 2, by far, is the action. I'm willing to give all the credit to director David Leitch, who is most known for his work on John Wick and Atomic Blonde -- Deadpool 2 takes on the kinetic pace and clarity of action that these films are so highly praised for. The hand-to-hand combat and gun play in Deadpool 2 are flawlessly staged, quite possibly the best ever in a super hero movie. There is the big setpiece action sequences, too, but it was the smaller set stuff that stands out.
I made note of how distracting T.J. Miller was in Ready Player One and it is no different here. It almost has the feel that his character was dramatically cut out because he is barely even featured and he doesn't have a joke that lands. People thought that replacing his role with Christopher Plummer would have been the most Deadpool thing ever and it turns out it would have been a good idea.