In­sane as ever

Ac­tor-pro­ducer Ryan Reynolds ditches the sar­casm ... for a mo­ment

Montreal Gazette - - MOVIES - MARK KENNEDY

DEAD­POOL 2 (In the­atres Fri­day) out of 5 Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Bac­carin, Josh Brolin, Zazie Beetz Di­rec­tor: David Leitch Du­ra­tion: 1h59m

At a re­cent screen­ing of Dead­pool 2, the au­di­ence didn’t get up when the end cred­its came up, pa­tiently sit­ting through the scrolling names of vis­ual ef­fects su­per­vi­sors and light­ing spe­cial­ists. Real Dead­pool fans know to stick around until the ush­ers toss them out.

That’s be­cause the film­mak­ers aren’t con­tent with con­tain­ing their sprawl­ing, an­ar­chic and sub­ver­sive hero in any con­ven­tional box. No, in the world of Dead­pool, even the bor­ing end cred­its are stud­ded with jokes and teases.

So hold onto your seats as Van­cou­ver­born Ryan Reynolds once more dons the red suit for this saucy, over­stuffed and en­ter­tain­ing se­quel to the 2016 mas­sive hit Dead­pool, which be­came the sec­ond­high­est-gross­ing R-rated film do­mes­ti­cally af­ter The Pas­sion of the Christ. How do we know that? Dead­pool hap­pily brags about it in the new film.

Just some of the other things that get de­rided this time are Yentl, Frozen, Stranger Things, Wolver­ine, Jared Kush­ner, cul­tural ap­pro­pri­a­tion, Brad Pitt, Ba­sic In­stinct, RoboCop, fanny packs, Say Any­thing, Shark­nado and Reynolds him­self, who mocks his dis­as­trous ear­lier de­ci­sion to play Green Lantern.

Dead­pool 2 is as grue­some and vi­o­lent as the first, but per­haps the big­gest vic­tim is the very con­cept of su­per­hero movies. Our anti-hero adores mock­ing the moral clar­ity, earnest­ness and pre­dictable stunts of his dis­tant cousins. And, as a Marvel prop­erty, he es­pe­cially de­lights in lam­poon­ing DC Comics. “So dark,” Dead­pool says to an­other su­per­hero. “Are you sure you’re not from the DC Uni­verse?”

In this film, which re­unites the orig­i­nal writ­ing team of Rhett Reese and Paul War­nick, we be­gin by find­ing our un­kil­l­able mer­ce­nary in the same do­mes­tic bliss where we left him. But if Dead­pool was an ori­gin story, Dead­pool 2 is a quest tale and our hero this time encounters the time trav­el­ling sol­dier Cable (Josh Brolin), a mot­ley crew of mu­tants he calls X-Force — “Isn’t that a lit­tle de­riv­a­tive?” some­one asks snark­ily — and var­i­ous su­per­heroes and mu­tants, all set to a lively sound­track that in­cludes Air Sup­ply, Peter Gabriel, An­nie and an orig­i­nal song with filthy lyrics. If some­thing can be oddly sweet while heads are be­ing de­cap­i­tated, it’s this film.

Some favourites from the first film are back — some only briefly — such as house­mate Les­lie Uggams, girl­friend Morena Bac­carin and cab driver Karan Soni. The new char­ac­ters don’t have time to make much of an im­pres­sion, ex­cept for Zazie Beetz from At­lanta, who has a great turn as Domino, a strong, sar­donic su­per­hero who re­lies on luck.

Di­rec­tor David Leitch re­places Tim Miller, but there’s been no no­tice­able change in tone or cor­ro­sion in the fran­chise’s ter­rific spe­cial ef­fects.

Reynolds is once again at his arch and ni­hilist best, while act­ing and jump­ing in so much fa­cial pros­thet­ics that it makes him look like he’s in­side melted cheese — or, as the first movie put it, an av­o­cado that had re­la­tions with an older av­o­cado.

To re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate Dead­pool 2 you have to have seen the orig­i­nal and prob­a­bly ev­ery other Marvel su­per­hero film, too. And be up on pop cul­ture, from Cher to Broad­way mu­si­cals. And don’t em­bar­rass your­self by get­ting up to leave when it seems to be over. And get ready to hap­pily sit through Dead­pool 3, too.

LOS ANGELES Dead­pool, star­ring Cana­dian Ryan Reynolds, broke box of­fice records and shat­tered no­tions about what an R-rated su­per­hero movie could do when it de­buted in Feb­ru­ary 2016. Now the foul-mouthed mer­ce­nary is back with a se­quel that in­dus­try an­a­lysts say may earn at least $130 mil­lion in its first week­end in North Amer­i­can the­atres.

Q The first is so wild and jam­packed with ev­ery­thing. Did you hold any­thing back or save any­thing think­ing that there would be a se­quel?

A Oh my God, we put ev­ery­thing out there. We had no pie-inthe-sky no­tions that we would be guar­an­teed a se­quel af­ter this. But (screen­writ­ers) Rhett (Reese) and Paul (Wer­nick) and I had been work­ing to­gether for, God, com­ing on eight years now.

We worked on the first script to­gether for years be­fore it even got close to be­ing green­lit and while shoot­ing the first film, we were al­ready com­ing up with a story for the sec­ond one. But at the time it wasn’t some­thing that was a re­al­ity, it was just some­thing we loved.

I think at the end of the day the driv­ing force be­hind Dead­pool is that there are a great num­ber of peo­ple who love ev­ery as­pect of it. I think that’s what trans­lates to the au­di­ence. There is an au­then­tic joy and love for what we’re do­ing and we have so much fun do­ing it and you can’t help but feel that through the screen.

Q Is there any­thing that is off-lim­its for Dead­pool?

A Not re­ally. To make a great rated-R comic book film you’ve def­i­nitely got to push the bound­aries a lit­tle bit and we leave that to the edit­ing process to fig­ure out what we want to keep and what we don’t. Tone is so crit­i­cal in these movies, and at the heart of Dead­pool is al­ways a very emo­tional story. You have to cir­cle around that be­fore you think about com­edy bits or try­ing to in­cite re­ac­tions or that sort of thing.

So Dead­pool 2 is re­ally, at its core, about how one act of kind­ness can change the world. It’s

sort of a na­ture-ver­sus-nur­ture story at its heart and that’s crit­i­cal to the film as a whole. Then you can model which sort of comedic set pieces you want around that. But at the end of the day it’s got to be an en­gross­ing story and that’s the thing that we were most fo­cused on from the get-go.

Q That’s very sweet and sin­cere! And here I was think­ing the most sin­cere thing about Dead­pool was the Wikipedia page. Ev­ery­thing else from the log­line to the mar­ket­ing leans in to the ir­rev­er­ence of it.

A Dead­pool at his heart is sort of like a child. Like, yeah he can be vul­gar, yeah he can act out. But at its core there is a cer­tain in­no­cence to other as­pects of him and I think that is some­thing that’s re­ally im­por­tant with the char­ac­ter. He sees the world through the

prism of a child’s eyes some­times and that’s also why he’s tem­pes­tu­ous and ob­nox­ious and mis­guided so much of the time, too.

Q How are you feel­ing lead­ing up to the re­lease? It’s play­ing in the big leagues now.

A For us that’s been a dream come true. Hav­ing Dead­pool po­si­tioned as a sum­mer movie gives us more li­cence to go a bit big­ger, but at the same time our bud­gets are not com­pa­ra­ble to some of the big Marvel movies. But ne­ces­sity is the mother of in­ven­tion, so the less we have, the more cre­ative we have to get. It has all the same prin­ci­ples and tenets as the first film — which (di­rec­tor David) Leitch loved and wanted to hon­our — but at the same time there’s a dif­fer­ent flavour to it as well be­cause (Leitch) likes to keep ma­jor ac­tion in the lens as op­posed to re­ly­ing on CG.

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