The Star Late Edition - - FILM -

N A re­cent in­ter­view, the star of Dead­pool 2 joked that his char­ac­ter prob­a­bly wouldn’t like the ac­tor who plays him very much, say­ing, “I feel like Dead­pool can’t stand Ryan Reynolds”. And he’s prob­a­bly right. There is, in fact, a scene in the new movie in which the foul-mouthed con­tract killer with a heart of gold – and here I’m talk­ing about Dead­pool, not Reynolds – ac­tu­ally ap­pears to kill the Cana­dian-born movie star, adding a snarky, “You’re welcome, Canada” as he vi­o­lently does him in.

But what would Dead­pool think of the movie?

The fol­low-up to the sec­ond­high­est gross­ing R-rated fea­ture of all time (af­ter The Pas­sion of the Christ) is, like the 2016 orig­i­nal, a meta-movie so self-ref­er­en­tial that it’s like an infinite re­gres­sion of fac­ing mir­rors. Even talk­ing about it re­quires air quotes within air quotes.

At one point, Dead­pool, his voice drip­ping with sar­casm, refers to the char­ac­ter of Ca­ble – a time­trav­el­ling, part-cy­borg war­rior from the fu­ture played by Josh Brolin – as “Thanos”.

It’s as if Dead­pool ex­ists si­mul­ta­ne­ously in­side the movie and out­side it: He’s both a char­ac­ter in the Marvel Cin­e­matic Uni­verse and a highly jaun­diced critic of it at the same time. Watch­ing Dead­pool 2 is like hav­ing Dead­pool sit­ting next to you with a bucket of pop­corn, trash­ing what­ever is tak­ing place on-screen – and all of pop cul­ture, re­ally – like an R-rated ver­sion of one of the B-movielov­ing ro­bots from Mys­tery Sci­ence Theatre 3000.

Of course, Dead­pool 2 is no B-movie, not­with­stand­ing the fre­quent jokes (cour­tesy of Dead­pool) about its “lazy writ­ing”. Dead­pool 2, it should be noted, was co-writ­ten by Reynolds, along with Rhett Reese and Paul Wer­nick of Zom­bieland, and di­rected by stunt­man-turned­film-maker David Leitch, who is iden­ti­fied in the open­ing credits as “one of the guys who killed the dog in John Wick”. Far from lazy, it is a fairly bril­liant send-up of comic book ac­tion movies, as well as be­ing an ex­cel­lent ex­am­ple of one.

The plot in this sec­ond out­ing con­cerns Dead­pool’s un­likely, and fairly re­luc­tant, men­tor­ship of a 14-year-old mu­tant named Russell (aka Fire­fist) played by Ju­lian Den­ni­son, the young New Zealand ac­tor from Hunt for the Wilder­peo­ple. Russell turns out to have been sex­u­ally abused by the head­mas­ter (Eddie Marsan) of the mu­tant academy he at­tends.

Yes, this film is rated R for a rea­son. Sev­eral rea­sons, to be hon­est. It’s way darker and way dirt­ier than the first Dead­pool.

To con­tinue: Russell wants to kill his abuser, but Ca­ble wants to kill Russell be­fore he can do that. Ap­par­ently, if Russell is al­lowed to get a taste for blood, he will grow up to wreak havoc on Ca­ble’s fu­ture world. Sound fa­mil­iar? At an­other point in the film, Dead­pool calls Russell John Con­nor, the hero from the sim­i­larly-themed Ter­mi­na­tor movies. Talk about lazy writ­ing.

But Dead­pool, who has grown a bit of a soft spot for the boy, wants to try talk Russell out of his re­venge plan, lead­ing to a show­down be­tween, iron­i­cally, diplo­macy and as­sas­si­na­tion.

On Team Dead­pool is the mu­tant known as Domino (Zazie Beetz of At­lanta), whose su­per­power is un­be­liev­able good luck.

In a very funny but bloody

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