The Jakarta Post
Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool or Wade Wilson in 'Deadpool 2'. (20th Century Fox Film Corporation/File)
Golden-voiced Canadian singer Céline Dion had no business singing a soundtrack for a superhero movie. But there she is on the screen, singing the song “Ashes” while the wisecracking foul-mouth Deadpool struts and prances around. When she’s done, Deadpool asks her to ease up a bit, dialing down from an 11 to a five.
This type of marketing for the next entry in the X-Men film series, Deadpool 2, the sequel to 2016’s R-rated hit Deadpool, mirrors the ethos of this series.
Dark, winking comedy and insolent refusal to stick to the lucrative superhero movie formula are at the heart of Deadpool. It’s a recipe that has already worked: Deadpool was the highest-grossing R-rated film since The Passion of the Christ in the United States.
How, then, do you top that with a sequel? Dialing it up seems to be the answer for Deadpool 2. It’s decidedly more profane, gorier than its predecessor. Understandably, too.
Deadpool had the difficult task of introducing this character (played by Ryan Reynolds). We learned that Deadpool is the mercenary Wade Wilson, a former Special Forces operative. Enticed by the promise of a cure for his late-stage cancer, he entered into an experiment to awaken his mutant sensibilities — an experiment that left him horribly disfigured. With his newly acquired superhuman healing ability, he sought vengeance from those that did this to him.
Deadpool 2, now in theaters, retains some of the first film’s signature touches: The fourth-wall breaking, extensive pop culture references, soft rock (Air Supply! Wham!) and a whole lot of violence. It starts off with a tragedy, one that puts suicidal thoughts in his head. But it’s a comedy! Deadpool even says that it’s a family movie! Just you see.
Anyway, after a botched mission with returning mutants Colossus (voiced by Stefan Kapičić) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) to fend off raging child mutant Russell (Julian Dennison) from wreaking havoc at a draconian school of mutants, Deadpool and Russell are sent to a prison for mutants called the Icebox.
There he meets Cable (Josh Brolin), who has broken into the prison to kill Russel. This is where the dark comedy is deployed wisely — the idea of suicide or killing a child should unsettle those just looking for some light entertainment at the movies.
Deadpool 2, then, functions as a subversion, and an entertaining one at that. Here are just some of the things the movie lampoons: Marvel characters (Black Widow, Thanos, etc.), Wolverine, Canada, James Bond, the name X-Men being the “dated metaphor for racism in the 60s”, George W. Bush and more.
There’s a hilarious scene in which Deadpool, in an attempt to rescue Russell, assembles a team called X-Force, consisting of Domino (Zazie Beetz) and a host of other superheroes, who try to make a parachute landing but mess it up spectacularly. Even the action scenes, courtesy of David Leitch and scriptwriters Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick and Reynolds himself, are nothing like other Marvel movies: They can be thrilling, but ultimately, they’re knowingly clumsy.
But the allure of Deadpool 2 is dampened somewhat when you consider its plot. Deadpool 2 is pretty much a straightforward movie, predicating its jokes solely on Reynolds’ character. There is not much cleverness at play; style triumphantly wins out over substance. Still, it’s a movie that tickles you.
I could imagine Deadpool reading a review like this and going, “it’s not that deep, man” before looking at the camera and saying something like, “can you believe this guy?” And while watching Deadpool 2, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t agree with him.
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