Deadpool 2 (2018)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 5/27/18
Director: David Leitch
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, Morena Baccarin, T.J. Miller, Karan Soni, Brianna Hildebrand, Shioli Kutsuna, Terry Crews, Bill Skarsgard, Rob Delaney, cameos by Brad Pitt, Alan Tudyk, Matt Damon

"Holy shitballs!"

Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) holds a grudge against Wolverine for dying in "Logan" (2017), and circumstances make him desperate to end his own miserable life. After blowing himself to bits, Colossus drags what's left of him to the X-Men mansion and recruits him as an X-Men trainee. Of course, things go horribly wrong when he attempts to rescue a young mutant named Russell, a.k.a. Firefist (Julian Dennison). When a soldier from the future named Cable (Josh Brolin) comes to kill Russell, Deadpool puts together a team of heroes to stop him and protect the child from further harm.

Much like the original, the film is thoughtful and surprisingly moving. Deadpool is incredibly crude and crass, but underneath the mask is a tortured and heartbroken soul who wants to do the right thing and is desperately seeking redemption and release. The writing is snappy and full of sarcastic and self-referential wit, but it doesn't seem as fresh and outrageous this time around. The action scenes are fun and exciting to watch, although tragedy visited the set when stuntwoman Joi Harris died in an accident while filming a motorcycle scene. The opening credits are a wonderful and hilarious homage to James Bond and riff on numerous other films, including a delightful parody of "Flashdance" (1983?). Josh Brolin makes an excellent adversary and straight man for Deadpool, and their exchanges are fantastic. Zazie Beetz is absolutely stunning as Domino and easily steals the show with her charm and flair. It's also great to see Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) back in action, along with her adorable mutant girlfriend Yukio (Shioli Kutsuna). When they show up with Colossus at the end of the movie, some serious X-Men superhero action goes down.

It's a good looking and well-made film, and Reynolds fully commits himself to the role. It unfortunately drags in spots where there's too much idle chit-chat, but once the X-Force team is assembled, it becomes a non-stop thrill ride. The post-credits sequence is awesome, as Deadpool uses Cable's time travel device to kill Wade Wilson in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" (2009) and murder Ryan Reynolds before he gets a chance to star in "Green Lantern" (2012). And speaking of time travel, it's infuriating and completely nonsensical how it's employed in the film, but you have to give it some slack because the entire franchise is built on absurdity and implausibility. The music selection isn't nearly as great as the first film, but it includes some enjoyable 80's classics by A-ha, Air Supply, AC/DC, and Pat Benetar. Reynolds has said that there won't be a "Deadpool 3," but time and money will tell.