Everyone’s favorite anti-hero is back for a sequel, slicing razor sharp katanas through overused superhero tropes without mercy. With no origin story to bog down the narrative, Deadpool 2 is pure unfiltered Wade Wilson, packed tightly into a baggie under Blind Al’s floor boards. Whereas the success of 2016’s R-rated origin presented a delightful surprise for unfamiliar audiences deeply ingrained in the machinery of superhero cinema, Deadpool 2 recognizes that everyone is in on the joke now, and fearlessly lights a match over two-hours of explosively funny gags and one-liners.
Naturally, it’s a far from perfect sequel. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, and fortunately for movie studio Fox, Deadpool has never hesitated to take his shots. The downside is there are plenty of crucial elements within Deadpool 2 that don’t work as effectively, from the cinematic universe debut of Cable on through the purgatory of X-Men’s bloated continuity. Likewise, when the center of your movie hinges on the salvation of one Russell Collins (of Rusty and Skids fame, aka you had to be there reading “X-Factor”), it’s an uphill climb. Below we lay out ten things we liked the most, and ten things that absolutely disappointed!
*Spoilers For Deadpool 2 Follow*
20. LOVED: DEADPOOL HAS FEELINGS
One of the best ways Deadpool 2 subverts expectations comes during the film’s introduction, with the shockingly quick murder of Vanessa. While it’s far from a surprise that a Deadpool movie wasn’t going to hunker down on family planning, the emotional core of the franchise takes a dark turn. All the manic energy of Deadpool’s jokes is sucked out of the film as we enter a montage credits intro scored to Celine Dion. It’s at this point that the sorrow is undercut through a series of fourth-wall breaking credits commenting on the unexpected depressing opening act, but nonetheless Deadpool 2 has already proved Deadpool isn’t just a clown.
This is a key feature of what makes Deadpool comics tick in their better incarnations. Wherever you look in memorable Deadpool comics, you’ll find moments of vulnerability, rage, and often true sadness. Although the Marvel NOW! era comic from writers Gerry Duggan and Brian Poshen came out of the gates filled to the brim with more fart jokes than Jack Black in Tropic Thunder, by the third story arc, “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” Deadpool was dealing with genocide, family, and devastating loss. The motor mouth will always be selling point number one, but it’s the characters tragic core that keeps him interesting.
19. DISAPPOINTED: NO VOICES IN DEADPOOL’S HEAD
Mirroring one of Deadpool comics’ most unique features has been a challenge from day one, with 2016’s Deadpool opting to entirely bypass the voices in Wade’s head. The movie version of Deadpool is very much in line with the character’s interesting quirks (fourth wall shattering moments, pop culture references, innuendo for all, etc) but for structural reasons the variety of voices he hears aren’t a part of this adaptation. Given the humor and complexity this device brings in Deadpool’s comic books, this feels like a missed opportunity.
Strangely, it isn’t just comic books that have shown how Deadpool’s multi-faceted mind can work. The Deadpool video game made extremely effective use of two voices inside Deadpool’s head, not including what would conventionally be considered his own. The end result is a goofy sidekick and straight-laced hit man all contained within Deadpool’s manic skull. In addition to banter between all the voices, this structure also leads to endless opportunity for Deadpool talking to absolutely no one in particular in full view of real people, or for him to divulge important information thinking he’s having an internal monologue. There’s no denying incorporating this feature would score an immense degree of difficulty, but the payoff is enormous.
18. LOVED: SURPRISING X-STATIX INFLUENCE
Although X-Force by Peter Milligan and Mike Allred is one of the best Marvel comic book runs of all time, the series is more frequently known by its early 2000 rebrand, X-Statix. As a result, the first issue of that excellent comic book series was a surprising major influence for what may well be Deadpool 2’s most memorable joke. Truth be told, anyone who has read X-Force #116 (the first issue in the Milligan and Allred run on the book) should have felt their Spidey sense go off something fierce when Zeitgeist showed up to interview for X-Force. In Zeitgeist’s comic book debut, he is set up as the leader and focus of the new X-Force, only to meet an unceremonious end in the book’s final pages.
Deadpool 2 pulls a similar trick, with Deadpool’s hand-selected crew parachuting their way to grizzly deaths. Although trailers for the movie suggested this would be the X-Force lineup, the likes of Bedlam, Shatterstar, Vanisher, Zeitgeist, and even Peter don’t even make it off the team plane in one piece. It’s simultaneously exactly what you’d expect to happen to a team lead by a man who stores chimichangas in his suit pouches, and a complete inversion of the usual team-building exercises found in the genre.
17. DISAPPOINTED: THE SHATTERSTAR SAGA
We’re not even big Shatterstar fans (it’s a pretty exclusive fan club), but introducing a product of Mojoworld purely for a gag does actually feel a bit disappointing. Although we will admit just hearing the words “Mojoworld” in a major motion picture is a win for X-Men fans the world over. It would have been extremely interesting to see the Deadpool universe weave in Shatterstar’s weird and perplexing ties to X-Force and X-Men history, but instead we spent all of 30 seconds with the character. Plus, Deadpool’s films have been confined to very tight (tee hee) spaces on Earth, and the prospect of Mojoworld insanity could be exactly the right recipe for livening up a future Deadpool 3.
Deadpool 2’s commitment to the clever X-Force lineup gag also means Shatterstar’s complex sexuality remains relegated to comics. Depending on who you ask, Shatterstar is either asexual or exploring bisexuality (in Peter David’s time writing X-Force, this manifests in a romantic relationship with Rictor). Any film interpretation could have added layers breaking the homogeny of Hollywood romance. Deadpool 2 is of course doing this in other ways (say hello Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Yukio!), but removing Shatterstar so callously closes that door.
16. LOVED: DOMINO
Domino’s introduction to the universe of X-Men is an inarguable highlight, with actress Zazie Beetz charming her way into a role as the sole survivor’s of Deadpool’s poorly managed X-Force. Plenty of comic book readers (and, notoriously, Deadpool himself in the movie) have questioned how Domino’s occasionally vague powers of “luck” what translate to the screen, but director David Leitch (of V For Vendetta and John Wick fame) and crew had no problem choreographing stunning uses of Domino’s luck throughout the movie. Beetz brilliantly sells it all as car crashes send wreckage exactly where she needs it and orphanage beds fall conveniently (or inconveniently depending on your perspective) on evil henchmen heads.
Intriguingly, this version of Domino also closely resembles “X-Factor” staple, Layla Miller, writer Peter David’s “girl who knows stuff.” When Domino meets Deadpool (and Weasel) she tells them she doesn’t know what exactly brought her to the team, but knew she’s find out eventually. This slight character adjustment seems to broaden the character’s mutant powerset beyond luck and more into precognitive abilities. Indeed, by the film’s conclusion, we learn the climactic action all takes place at the orphanage where Domino was raised, offering a lot of potential for future uses of the hero.
15. DISAPPOINTED: CABLE
Actor Josh Brolin made comic book movie history in May 2018, introducing the wider movie going audience to famous Marvel characters Thanos and Cable. It’s a strange blend of timing and casting that bring Brolin’s dueling blockbuster roles into the same boxing ring. For his part, Brolin delivered the power-hungry purple Thanos to near perfection, then turned around and captured much of Cable’s surly tunnel-vision and soldier’s mentality. As performances go, the vocal delivery is too similar for our liking (close your eyes throughout Deadpool 2 and it’s not hard to picture the mad Titan trying to assassinate Russell), but Brolin is a fine Cable. A perplexity short Cable (as Deadpool himself notes), but a fine Cable nonetheless.
The real problems stem from the use of the character in the slight narrative. Admittedly, Cable’s comic book history is so strange and dense that it would be nearly impossible to squeeze into a two-hour movie starring other characters. Deadpool 2 instead opts to give Cable as simple a backstory imaginable to the point that its derivative of a million stories already told. This makes for a convenient route to action and the inevitable begrudging team-up between Cable and Deadpool, but it also diminishes a lot of what makes Cable interesting. As it stands, the most fascinating thing about Cable in Deadpool 2 is the guitar amp dial on his enormous gun.
14. LOVED: DEADPOOL’S TINY… LEGS
There are plenty of callbacks to jokes from 2016’s Deadpool, from “maximum effort” to “superhero landings.” The most gutbusting laughs come from a callback to Deadpool’s efforts to regrow his hand resulting in a disturbingly small appendage (and disturbingly passionate usage). After the Juggernaut promises to rip Deadpool in half, then very literally follows through (echoing shades of Ultimate Universe Hulk and Wolverine), Wade is eventually returned on the couch next to Blind Al regrowing two comically child-sized legs. Poor Al makes the mistake of rubbing Deadpool’s wee leg, or at least, that’s what she thinks she’s rubbing initially.
The ensuing sequence is hilarious, and wildly long (unlike Deadpool’s toddler lower half). Fans looking forward to flashes of Ryan Reynolds chiseled Hollywood body got more than anyone could have reasonably expected, with Wade’s fully grown upper half sporting a Hawaiian shirt, and his preposterously disproportionate bottom wearing nothing at all. All in all, he looks like perhaps the world’s strangest child, flashing full frontal nudity for the collected X-Force lineup to see. The scene is so ripe with jokes and Cable finally joining the squad, that it’s almost easy to forget Deadpool is sporting a miniature butt until he waddles it across the floor to shake Cable’s manly, manly hand.
13. DISAPPOINTED: THAT’S JUST LAZY WRITING
The danger of a movie involving time travel is the trap of being able to go back in time and redo anything that goes wrong. The stakes are obviously undone if there’s an instant reset button in the form of a time machine. For Marvel Comics readers who follow Cable, this is a familiar set-up. In one of Cable’s most interesting solo series, the 2008 to 2010 ongoing written by Duane Swierczynski, Cable’s time travel equipment is on the fritz in such a way that he can only move forward in time, no matter how much he wishes he could go back and resolve his mission.
So yes, we appreciate the Deadpool 2 creative team’s willingness to self-deprecate around their own comic book logic for time travel, but it’s hard not to wonder how much more interesting the movie and Cable as a character could have been without the self-imposed handy capable restraints. A mere two slides through time is overly convenient, and also overly limiting on the scope of the story. We learn almost nothing about Cable’s future as a result of this inability to travel there, whereas Deadpool spending time in the distant future could have been fascinating and funny.
12. LOVED: DEADPOOL’S VERY SPECIFIC COMIC BOOK TALK
In general, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has grown beyond their comic book inspiration, to the point that you can have diehard MCU fans who have never — or rarely — looked at a comic page in their life. This is all well and good, yet it’s still encouraging to see a comic book movie that wears its source material as openly as Deadpool 2. Amazingly, when Deadpool first comes face to face with the unstoppable Juggernaut he acts like a comic book collector meeting his hero for the first time. Faster than we could keep up, Deadpool rattles off some of his most beloved Juggernaut comics appearances (we think we heard Uncanny X-Men #12 and #13, the iconic character debut by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee).
It’s also no small thing that Deadpool directly makes an in joke about Rob Liefeld, the ’90s superstar comic book creator who co-created Deadpool, Cable, and Domino (among others). As Deadpool questions Domino’s perplexing powerset (and she defies his doubting at every turn with incredible action), Deadpool wonders what kind of comic book book artist would created such a character, and remarks “Probably someone who can’t draw feet!” This criticism has become famous shorthand for devaluing Liefeld’s artwork as incapable of plausible body proportions (particularly feet).
11. DISAPPOINTED: AVENGERS OBSESSION
Over the course of Deadpool 2, Wade spouts off enough Avengers references to keep pace with the swollen Avengers: Infinity War roster. Some of the jokes are fantastic, such as a cancer-stricken, imprisoned Wade Wilson telling Russell even in his weakened state, give him a boy and arrow and he’s “Basically Hawkeye.” Likewise, Deadpool hitting Cable with a quick “zip it, Thanos” (actor Josh Brolin plays both characters) outside the Essex Home For Mutant Rehabilitation is perfectly of the moment.
The references continue to fly to a disctracting degree, with diminishing returns, though. There’s “black Black Widow,” “He’s got a Winter Soldier arm” and “Brown Panther” (yeesh).We know that Disney and Fox are still synchronizing their toy boxes (as Deadpool writes in crayon during the credits “Making money moves!) but this was a bit much. In a lot of ways it felt like Deadpool desperately trying to fit in with the Avengers world. Appropriately, this is very much in line with the character’s (frequent) outsider status, but still a bit grating as the film wears on. The most egregious Avengers overdose when Deadpool satirizes Avengers: Age of Ultron by quoting the Black Widow’s “the sun’s getting real low” to Juggernaut. This would be much funnier if the same joke hadn’t been made repeatedly in Thor: Ragnarok.
10. LOVED: POST-CREDITS TIMELINE RESET
We’re not convinced it makes any sense, but Deadpool getting Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Yukio to fix Cable’s time travel device led to some fiercely entertaining hijinx during the mid-credits scenes. Yes, Wade’s saving of Vanessa brings into question whether any of the movie we just viewed would have actually happened, and whether Vanessa will simply return in any future movies, but we’ll certainly sleep easier with Vanessa and Sugar Bear spared their gruesome fates. Sugar Bear just didn’t deserve death by Arby’s.
More importantly, it’s impossible to resent Deadpool’s use of Cable’s time travel mechanism to prevent his horrific “debut” in Wolverine: Origins from ever happening. The same goes for Deadpool’s assassination of Ryan Reynolds right before he can launch into the “big time” with DC’s Green Lantern. We could squabble that Deadpool has been firing shots at these related duds since the initial film’s trailer debut, but actually diving into footage from Wolverine: Origins upped the ante. Hopefully Deadpool’s forceful, violent actions put an end to the self-flagellation Ryan Reynolds has eagerly endured in the name of Deadpool’s meta credibility. Maybe Reynolds will just have to find a new superhero franchise destined to a legacy of failure as cannon fodder for the Deadpool jokes of the 2020’s.
9. DISAPPOINTED: NO POST-CREDITS!
If it was an intentional troll job, then Deadpool 2 played it masterfully, as our theater audience sat attentively through the entire credits only to find there was no additional post-credits stinger to set the stage for future installments of the franchise. As we stated, the mid-credits scene is a definite plus, highlighting the potential of a Deadpool with the power of time travel at his fingertips. And at the end of the day, it’s always a compliment when worldwide audiences are irrationaly upset because they simply don’t want the joyride to come to a close.
Undoubtedly, the Marvel Cinematic Universe can be held accountable for the expectation that all superhero stories will contain multiple post-credits scene. The hope at this point in time is for one entertaining encore, typically chased by a light teaser for what to expect in the next movie. It’s perhaps unfair to hold all movies to the same template the MCU has established for the genre, but we still think the first Deadpool played this expectation best. That films post-credits simultaneously admitted they really had nothing fancy to deliver while also dropping the bomb that Cable would in fact make an appearance in Deadpool 2.
8. LOVED: DEADPOOL & YUKIO BFFS
It’s strangely challenging to determine whether or not Deadpool 2’s Yukio is pulled from the pages of X-Men comics or not. The character’s powerset of electrical whips — utilized approximately once in battle with Juggernaut– indicates she’s based on the X-Men’s Surge, aka Nori Ashida the one-time leader of the New X-Men. While we could just leave it there and say, sure, she’s Surge, actress Shiori Kutsana is known strictly as Yukio throughout the movie. So either Yukio is Surge and Deadpool 2 has simply taken the creative liberty of renaming her, or she’s intended to be a unique movie creation all her own.
Really, though, all of that is beside the point. Yukio is the girlfriend of Negasonic Teenage Warhead, which is in and of itself a huge moment for comic book movies. Same sex relationships have been all but ignored across the likes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so it’s encouraging to see Negasonic Teenage Warhead’s Brianna Hildebrand and Yukio casually hand in hand throughout Deadpool 2. The Merc with a Mouth’s instant friendship with Yukio is also delightful, with Wade Wilson showing the maybe Surge perhaps the most affection he’s shown to anyone this side of girlfriend Vanessa.
7. DISAPPOINTED: DEADPOOL’S DAMSEL IN DISTRESS
Although 2016’s Deadpool was lauded for blowing up the superhero genre, and skewering the self-serious elements of the entire genre, it was also itself guilty of tired action movie tropes. For starters, Deadpool packaged a pretty traditional superhero origin story in the middle of a more satisfying inversion of comic book movie expectations. Likewise, Deadpool’s final act resorts to a tale as old as time, with Francis (you know, Ajax) capturing Vanessa and holding Deadpool’s girl hostage to provide the hero (you know, a dude) motivation. For the most part, the rest of the movie was good enough to overlook these clear setbacks.
There was hope heading into Deadpool 2 that these flaws would be less evident, but that’s far from the case with the opening arc doubling down on Vanessa as pure sad dude motivation. We won’t pretend we thought family life and a happy romance were ever in the cards for Deadpool, but there are other ways to move the story forward then predictably murdering the female love interest. It’s a shame too, given that Morena Baccarin is one of the more charismatic forces in the entire movie in extremely limited screen time (she barely beats out Buck).
6. LOVED: A HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE CROSSOVER
The Taika Waititi influence runs deep across the Marvel Universe these days, with the director and all around fashion icon driving Thor: Ragnarok to incredible heights and clearly helping shape much of Julian Dennison’s turn as Russell Collins based on their work together in the 2016 masterpiece Hunt for the Wilderpeople. For those lucky viewers who have seen Hunt for the Wilderpeople, it’s genuinely surprising how directly Dennison’s personality carries over into Deadpool 2. We know these movies don’t actually exist in a shared universe, but Dennison’s charming performances in both are so similar that there’s actually very little reason to believe they’re separate worlds.
We’ll be honest, Russell’s importance to the future and his threatening nature is hard to fathom given the character’s comic book history. Russell (or Rusty) Collins was at best a bit part throughout late ’80s X-Factor, and went on to a fairly unmemorable death as one of Magneto’s acolytes in the ’90s. As a result, Firefist is a sensible choice for a character to greatly restructure, but he also calls into question Cable’s prowess as the ultimate soldier. Telling a Marvel reader that Nathaniel Dayspring Summers lost everything to “Firefist” isn’t exactly an easy sell.
5. DISAPPOINTED: X-MEN CONTINUITY
Arguably, X-Men movie continuity is far from the Deadpool frachise’s fault, but we see its convoluted impact integrated in the Deadpool 2 storytelling. Without any non-comics history to the character, we’re left to believe Cable’s entire storyline is a hunt to put an end to the future crimes of Rusty “Firefist” Collins. It’s easy enough in the context of the movie to accept this and move on, but for Cable fans, this is tremendously unsatisfying. Likewise, when Cable mentions his daughter — murdered by the blazing fists of, well, Firefist — is named Hope, it’s an X-Men easter egg that simply doesn’t add up. If this is the same Hope Summers from the comics, how on earth might her story add up to the jumbled mess of the current X-Men franchise?
At the end of the day, what would X-Men be without twisting timelines, incomprehensible solutions, and dense continuity? Deadpool skirts by nearly all of these problems without a care, and to its credit, that does make for an easier movie-going experience. Nonetheless, it’s hard not to imagine how much more inventive and compelling these movies could be with the backbone of a more sensible X-Men movie franchise. The foundation has yet to support Cable’s involvement, so he crumbles.
4. LOVED: SUGAR BEAR AKA PETER CRUSHING HIS FIRST JUMP
X-Force’s Peter was an instant icon the moment Deadpool 2’s trailers introduced his powerless desire to be a part of something, and his screen time does not disappoint. Rob Delaney plays Peter without a hint of irony, making him the charming every man, hilariously out of his element but courageous as all get out. Despite high winds (if only there was some way to have known) that throw most of X-Force to their deaths, Peter lands safely in the street like an experienced jumper. He then rushes without hesitation to save Zeitgeist from garbage disposal, only to meet his own end (for the moment) when Zeitgeist spews his Arby’s breath on Pete’s poor arm.
Amazingly, Peter’s social media presence outside the film is brilliantly curated, with the likes of a LinkedIn page telling us he is in fact “Peter W.” and works as a regional sales manager at Excalibur Cutlery Co. While we’re fairly confident this won’t actually prevent any future Excalibur projects from using the more familiar Pete Wisdom the resemblance is uncanny. Since Deadpool does use one of his mid-credit trips back in time to save his Sugar Bear, we may well get to see a continued role for Peter W. in the upcoming “X-Force” movie.
3. DISAPPOINTED: NOT ENOUGH BLIND AL
Much like her lot in Marvel Comics, Deadpool’s frenemyship with Blind Al gets short shrift in Deadpool 2. This is a shame given that Blind Al is one of the few characters willing to go toe to toe with Wade Wilson’s disregard for niceties. Actress Leslie Uggams is the perfect foil for Ryan Reynolds’ endless motormouth, cutting straight through all his frenetic malarkey to cold hard truth. This is perfectly in line with her comic book counterpart, but unfortunately Uggams is relegated to the same small home space and two scenes throughout the entire movie.
Despite the fact that we hardly expect Blind Al to go rushing out into battle with X-Force (although even her parachuting out of a plane couldn’t have gone much worse than Deadpool’s original team), it would be great to see her get more of a role in these movies. Even a short view of Blind Al getting lost on her way to the rendezvous point would be an improvement. To date, Blind Al and Weasal are static elements in Deadpool’s life, with absolutely no development or even attempted arc to their characters. If they’re going to continue to be role players, it would be beneficial to see additional reasons to care about their involvement in the plot.
2. LOVED: JUGGERNAUT’S THEME SONG
For X-Men fans, the surprise reveal of Marvel’s merry mutants is a fan-servicing thrill the Deadpool franchise can easily deliver. The biggest revelation in Deadpool 2 comes from the “big heaping bowl of foreshadowing” about the baddest mutant in the Icehouse, ultimately revealed to be none other than the Juggernaut. We expected anything from Blockbuster to Rockslide, so an actual bonafide famous X-Men bad guy was a perfect choice. Plus, Juggernaut’s inclusion in Deadpool 2 ignores and retcons his atrocious debut in X-Men 3: The Last Stand, which is precisely how all connections to The Last Stand should be handled.
Even better than his presence and commitment to destroying things (not to mention his eye-opening threats about the type of metal ring he’d turn Colossus into) is the Juggernaut’s under the radar theme music. Initially, Colossus versus Juggernaut feels very much like Deadpool’s description of a “big CGI fight,” and as X-Men fans, we’ll never really say no to this battle of behemoths. As the fight rages on, though, it becomes clear the operatic backing music is a comical lampoon of the Juggernaut, with a parental advisory sticker firmly attached to the lyrical content. It’s the most excellent battle cry imaginable for the Juggernaut, and the standard to which all villain themes will be held from this day forward.
1. DISAPPPOINTED: THE MISTER SINISTER TEASE
If you’re going to call a tortuous anti-mutant orphanage “The Essex Home for Mutant Rehabilitation,” then you darn well better have a Mister Sinister in your back pocket. Deadpool 2 fails on this count, somehow incorporating the Essex legacy and Cable’s notoriously Apocalypse razed future without any tangible moment of Sinister’s presence. We learn astonishingly little about the Essex Home and its denizens, apart from the very surface level details of an evil orphanage run by extremely creepy anti-mutant nutjobs. We’re left mainly with questions. What is Sinister’s involvement in this project and how does it impact the world of mutants at large? Why are there posters all over the home with the loaded claim that “M-Day” is coming?
Nathaniel Essex, aka Mister Sinister, has been subtly teased since the post-credits sequence for X-Men: Apocalypse. As a result, there was hope his star turn would begin truly taking shape in Deadpool 2. Instead, Essex hangs over the film like a dread cloud without ever rearing his diamond-red bedazzled forehead. The lack of a known villain like Sinister certainly allows the Deadpool franchise to retain the giant X-chip on the shoulder, but it’s a definite disappointment for fans of the man with the best cape in bad guys.
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