Friday, May 18, 2018

Movie Review: Deadpool 2

Calling Deadpool 2 a comedy/action/superhero/sci-fi flick is somewhat reductive, in that the description fails to differentiate between the many gradations in each genre. Comedy/dramedy/parody/farce/pulp-action/buddy cop/war/spy/superhero/sci-fi feels closer, though I'm sure I'm forgetting a few sub-genres.

In other words, there's a lot going on in this movie. Whether that's a good or bad thing is going to hinge on your expectations and what you want out of it. The experience offered by Deadpool 2 is something of a Rorschach test, even more so when you try comparing it to part one. It's at once funnier and more serious than its predecessor; it's both better and worse, depending on how you look at it.

As a comedy, I'd say it's better. The jokes hit harder, the concept is less constrained, and the film feels even more eager to take risks. But a lot of the humor stems from an underlying change in premise. The first Deadpool was essentially a humorous story set in a serious world. Wade saw everything in comedic terms, but there wasn't that much inherently funny beyond his perspective. That's not the case with the sequel, which is set in a far more self-aware version of the X-Men Cinematic Universe.

To put it another way, Deadpool no longer feels out of place in his surroundings. If anything, he comes off a little darker than most of the characters around him. Hell, he might be one of the more realistic characters, provided you're flexible with your definition of the term "realistic." After the first movie, I hoped they'd use the setting for other characters and teams, but - honestly - that's hard to imagine here. I'm definitely game if they want to try a Domino or Cable spin-off (Zazie Beetz and Josh Brolin were both fantastic), but it'll be tough extricating them from this setting. The central thesis of Deadpool 2 seemed to be that superhero stories are silly. That's not a particularly strong framework to build a connected universe on, assuming that's still the goal.

But, again, it makes for a hell of a fun comedy. The movie embraces the meta aspects of the character far more wholeheartedly than the last time around, and - assuming you have a high tolerance for that kind of humor - it's nothing short of hilarious. It mocks entire generations of action movie tropes - I caught references to every decade since the 70's, though it seemed especially interested in the 80's and 90's.

In addition, the movie's score raises the bar in the genre. I don't want to give anything away, but it's absolutely inspired. I'll be disappointed if they're not at least nominated for an Oscar for that score.

As a story, Deadpool 2 lacks the cohesion of the first. There's still a through-line, as well as a handful of surprisingly poignant emotional beats, but the movie has almost as many side plots as tones. If you go in expecting a tightly told, elegant story from this, you're going to be disappointed.

You're better off expecting to have a good time watching a superhero parody flick: this more than delivers on that level and even manages to throw in a little extra. Just be aware there were trade-offs made to reach that point.

1 comment:

maddox pax said...
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