Reynolds ascends a few steps in comic high dive
“Deadpool 2” is just like “Deadpool” only more so. It’s actually a fair bit better — funnier, more inventive than the 2016 smash (which made $783 million worldwide, on a sensible $58 million production budget), and more consistent in its chosen tone and style: ultraviolent screwball comedy.
The movie offers a bracing corrective to the Marvel traffic management smash of the moment, “Avengers: Infinity War,” which has sent millions of preteens into a collective, low-grade cloud of fatalism while proving to kids and adults, once again, that a superhero movie doesn’t need rhythm or even interesting action scenes to fulfill its corporate directive. “Deadpool 2” isn’t for your kids, at least those under 14 or 15. It’s for the jaded, arrested-development adolescent lurking inside your adult self.
Let’s be realistic. If “Infinity War” didn’t find ways to pleasure a large percentage of its fan base, while taking pre-orders for the conclusion of the long, long war in question next May, it wouldn’t be the boss of the intergalactic box office. Still. The stakes are gratifyingly lower in Deadpool’s universe, although (Paradox 1) the human stakes actually count for something. The theme of creating an ad hoc family to call your own is alternately championed, undermined and then, wryly, championed again.
There’s no infinity anything in “Deadpool 2” except an infinite number of multidirectionally offensive throwaway jokes. On the other hand (Paradox 2): Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson, aka Deadpool, whose superhumanly MPAA rating: R (for strong violence and language throughout, sexual references and brief drug material) Running time: 1:59 Opens: Thursday evening resilient healing properties and fighting skills are matched only by the speed of his banter, goes out of his way to compare the suspiciously similar melody lines of “Papa, Can You Hear Me?” from “Yentl” and “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” from “Frozen.” Nothing offensive there. Just good, solid amateur musicology, in between dismemberments.
Reynolds, one of three credited writers, took more creative control with this sequel. That may sound like trouble, but the innate self-effacement built into the actor’s breezy motormouth skill set apparently kept his better instincts at the fore.
At the urging of his beloved Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), with whom things are getting serious at the outset of “Deadpool 2,” Deadpool is emotionally blackmailed into serving as guardian of orphaned teenage mutant Russell (Julian Dennison). He’s being hunted by Cable (Josh Brolin, Marvel’s current antagonist of choice), a cyborg from the future and a tough adversary. Deadpool responds by assembling a band of brothers and sisters, including Colossus (Stefan Kapicic), Bedlam (Terry Crews), Shatterstar (Lewis Tan), Zeitgeist (Bill Skarsgard) and a stunningly ordinary fellow named Peter (Rob Delaney).
There are others, among them the welcome return of Blind Al (Leslie Uggams), Deadpool’s tetchy neighbor, and the cabbie Dopinder (Karan Soni), yearning for adventure. But we’re forgetting the best of the bunch. Domino, portrayed by a dazzlingly assured Zazie Beetz, is blessed with the charming superpower of excellent luck, which keeps her out of serious trouble and opens up a whole new dimension of visual comic possibilities. Best known for “Atlanta,” Beetz needs about 90 seconds of screen time to get the audience wondering: When does she get her own movie? Michael Phillips is a Tribune critic.
Ryan Reynolds returns as Wade Wilson, aka Deadpool, a man of healing powers and speedy banter in “Deadpool 2.”