Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

May 18, 2018

More of the same!

Filed under: Their Films — Rajeev @ 8:12 pm

May 18, 2018

Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Zazie Beetz, Morena Baccarin, TJ Miller, Brianna Hildebrand, Karan Soni

Director: David Leitch

Given that it takes such pride in being subversive, you’d think Deadpool 2 would be sporting enough to attach the tagline – More of the same.

It’s true. This sequel to the 2016 film starring Ryan Reynolds as the filthy-mouthed mutant superhero is filled with crude jokes, bloody violence, a string of pop culture references, multiple digs at other superheroes – particularly Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, and a lot more of that breaking-the-fourth-wall and talking directly to the audience. It’s a winning cocktail that set the first film apart from everything else in the genre, and frankly one that delivers again. But gone is that giddy excitement of discovering something unpredictable and surprising.

Reynolds is back as Wade Wilson aka Deadpool, once a sadistic mercenary, now a heavily scarred vigilante who acquired amazing self-healing powers in a botched experiment. In the new movie, having recently suffered a major personal loss he commits himself to saving a young kid, a misguided angry mutant, from a bad guy named Cable, who arrives from the future, Terminator-like, with murderous intentions towards the boy.

Cable is played by Josh Brolin, so of course there’s a well-placed Thanos reference that’s sure to get the laughs. To fend off this time-traveling villain, Deadpool sets out to assemble a crack team of superheroes that he dubs the X-Force, except that – how does one put this? – turns out they’re neither super, nor heroes. The most useful of the gang is Domino (Zazie Beetz), whose ‘superpower’ is being lucky.

Not all of the jokes land, but to be fair a lot of them hit the mark. Some of the especially outrageous stuff – I will say only two words: “baby legs” – can be polarizing depending on your threshold for filthy humor. What works, consistently, are the one-liners that fly so fast so furious, you’ve got to be alert or you’ll miss a bunch of them.

The action, again, is particularly violent. The filmmakers fully exploit their R-rating giving us several scenes of body parts being sliced and diced, frequently for laughs. To be honest though, you’ve seen so much of it in the last film that there’s a numbing indifference to the casual bloodshed here. However, director David Leitch, a longtime stuntman who last directed the Charlize Theron starrer Atomic Blonde, does stage one or two elaborate set pieces that pop.

On the whole, while it is frequently enjoyable and entertaining, there is no denying that Deadpool 2 feels like its been cobbled together from the leftovers of the previous film. Ryan Reynolds slips into the character like a glove, and his rat-a-tat repartee with Josh Brolin is terrific. But none of it feels fresh or new. If that doesn’t bother you too much, more than likely you’ll have a good time. I’m going with three out of five.

(This review first aired on CNN News18)

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