Deadpool 2 (2018)

*. More of the same, sure. Even some of the gags are repeated (as going, for example, from a tiny hand to tiny legs). But I liked Deadpool well enough so I didn’t think there was any harm in just hitting replay.
*. So: more Marvel superhero nonsense with bad language, lots of violence, and endless knowing asides. Again, the charm of Ryan Reynolds does most of the heavy lifting, but the supporting cast is good too. T. J. Miller as Weasel and Zazie Beetz as Domino stand out, and at this point if Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) got her own movie I’d probably watch that too.
*. The Negasonic etc. officially comes out in this film, which is fine, but it left me even more puzzled by Wade Wilson’s sexuality. He likes it when his wife takes him with a strap-on, which is fair play and almost mainstream by porn standards. But then he’s coming on to Colossus nearly every chance he gets, and he seems to have more than a bromance in mind with Cable as well. Are we meant to see him as bisexual, or is he just teasing? It doesn’t matter to me either way, but I wonder what the point is in introducing all this.
*. Then there’s Josh Brolin, cast as essentially the same character he played in Sicario: Day of the Soldado, which came out around the same time. He’s the effective counterweight to Reynolds, and the pair play well off each other. Sure it’s the old odd-couple formula, but this is a movie that works best when its riffing on formula.

*. Some of it is very funny. The assembly of the new X-Force is good, and their subsequent slaughter had me laughing out loud. Director David Leitch (John Wick, Atomic Blonde) comes from a background in stunts, and he makes the stunts funny. I love Domino falling into the giant inflatable panda bear, and Deadpool driving the truck while looking between his legs.
*. With all it had going for it by playing it safe, I thought it surprising how bad the ending was. The long death scene was dull and depressing. The visits to heaven were mawkish and out of place. And finally the time-travel device is, indeed, “lazy writing,” just another wave of the hand at the silliness of it all.
*. A number of critics thought the jokes started to wear thin after a while and that the film outstayed its welcome. My own sense is that it goes wrong by not sticking even more closely to the formula. It’s surprising to me that no one could see how bad a misstep the ending was.
*. I can’t think of much more to say. I enjoyed it. More than Black Panther, which was the more critically acclaimed “straight” Marvel release the same year. I mentioned in my notes on Deadpool that this is about the only form I can take the Marvel Cinematic Universe in any more. I also said I think it’s probably a dead end, albeit with some room still left to run. On the evidence of Deadpool 2 we haven’t come to that end yet, but it sure feels like we’re getting there.

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