Insane as ever
Actor-producer Ryan Reynolds ditches the sarcasm ... for a moment
DEADPOOL 2 (In theatres Friday) ★★★★ out of 5 Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Josh Brolin, Zazie Beetz Director: David Leitch Duration: 1 h 59 m
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.
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.
Anti-hero Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) is back in all of his sarcastic, gory glory in this sure-to-be-hit sequel.