Deadpool 2 Review Roundup: Self-Aware Sequel May Miss Its Mark

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The katanas are out and the screen is splashed with red as the first reviews of Fox's Deadpool 2 have begun to trickle in.

Following in the footsteps of 2016's Deadpool, the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time, director David Leitch has taken over where Tim Miller left off, to deliver another blood-soaked adventure for the Merc With a Mouth. CBR has delivered its own review on the sequel, but what do other critics think?

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Ryan Reynolds is back as the titular antihero, once again joined by the likes of Leslie Uggams as Blind Al, Stefan Kapicic as Colossus and Brianna Hildebrand as Negasonic Teenage Warhead. However, the big talking point has to be the arrival of Josh Brolin as Cable and Zazie Beetz as Domino.

As well as teasing a possible X-Force movie and hoping to up the ante from Deadpool, it sounds like Leitch just misses the mark on this one when it comes to some critics' professional opinion.

Alonso Duralde, TheWrap: "The ultimate goal is repetition with enhancements: the best comedy sequels, like 22 Jump Street, give you the same stuff all over again, only upping the ante so as to justify their existence. And somewhere in the middle lies Deadpool 2, which never betrays the promise of the first film; it just doesn’t build on it, choosing instead to replay the greatest hits. If you’re a fan of those hits, of course, then you’ll enjoy this encore, but anyone who wasn’t amused by the first go-round isn’t going to hop on board for this entertaining but by-the-numbers do-over."

Jen Yamato, Los Angeles Times: "At one point in Deadpool 2, Reynolds as Deadpool references the surprise Golden Globe acting nomination he earned for his work in the first film. 'The Academy is watching,' he whispers to his audience. Are they? It's either self-deprecating snark or earnestness masquerading as self-deprecating snark. Deadpool, a superhero who deep down inside is just as basic as the rest of us, wants it both ways. He might need another sequel to actually pull it off."

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A.O. Scott, New York TimesDeadpool 2, cracking wise at the expense of nearly every intellectual property in the DC and Marvel universes — and occasionally drawing metaphorical blood to go along with the abundant onscreen gore — uses its self-aware irreverence to perform the kind of brand extension and franchise building it pretends to lampoon. By the end, a motley band of warriors has been assembled to fight evil. Another one. Just what we needed. Those jokes about sequels lined up into the next decade aren’t really jokes, are they?"

Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, The A.V. Club: "Somewhere lost among the hacked limbs and the pop-culture references is an actual story about an over-the-top character straining to be taken seriously and losing sight of whatever it is that he can do for other people. However, that’s not to suggest that Deadpool 2 isn’t ultimately more interested in the zingers. Every cultural moment needs a smart-ass, and sometimes, you take what you can get."

Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly: "It’s in Deadpool’s DNA to channel the wild id of a 12-year-old boy — a very clever one who happens to love boobs, Enya, and blowing stuff up. Which is dizzy fun for a while, like eating Twinkies on a Gravitron. Eventually, though, it just wears you out."

However, among all the middle-of-the-road reviews, there are those who can't help but see Deadpool 2 as even bigger and better than its predecessor.

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Daniel Krupa, IGN Movies: "Deadpool 2 eventually draws its disparate elements together, gains momentum, and pushes towards something more closely resembling a traditional finale. In keeping with the rest of the movie, it’s still fairly small-scale and character-focused, and surprisingly, it’s emotionally effective too. Despite the character’s trademark flippancy, there’s a real unexpected warmth to Deadpool 2. Not only does the sequel explore this flawed character, it firmly establishes him as a loveable and effective hero."

John Nugent, Empire Magazine: "Despite the swollen ensemble, it’s still Reynolds’ show. Whether slicing up scoundrels in a pair of stilettos, or embarking on the most ballsy Basic Instinct gag ever committed to screen, this cements Deadpool as his defining role; and paired with John Wick’s David Leitch in the director’s chair, the action feels more muscular and ingenious. We’d say it’s the rare sequel that surpasses the original — but as Deadpool would put it: 'That’s just lazy writing.'”

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: "Deadpool 2 throws everything it has at you until you throw your arms up in happy surrender. Like its predecessor, the sequel is a grab-bag of humor, sorrow, sensation and silliness. None of it should work – but it does like gangbusters, creating a sequel that will blow you away with nonstop action and hardcore haha. It's a summer movie that trips over itself in a mad-crazy dash to make us laugh till it hurts."

John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter: "With Reynolds' charismatic irreverence at its core, the pic moves from bloody mayhem to lewd comedy and back fluidly, occasionally even making room to go warm and mushy. On the latter front, the filmmakers walk a fine line between embracing Deadpool's mock-everything appeal and needing to make Wade a credible, emotional human."

Kevin Harley, Total Film: "As with the original, Deadpool 2 thrives on tone over narrative. The merger of merciless comedy, extreme brutality, priceless blink/miss (look, just don’t blink) cameos, intra-movie references and dubstep piss-takes (ask your dad) is tighter than Wade’s grip on Colossus’ ass. And, in their merrily over-the-top way, Leitch and the writers don’t forget to hone the characters."

Directed by David Leitch, Deadpool 2 features Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool, Brianna Hildebrand as Negasonic Teenage Warhead, Leslie Uggams as Blind Al, Stefan Kapičić as the voice of Colossus, and Karan Soni as Dopinder, with newcomers Zazie Beetz as Domino, Josh Brolin as Cable, Julian Dennison as Russell and Jack Kesy as Black Tom Cassidy. The film arrives Friday in theaters nationwide.

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