‘Deadpool 2’ of­fers more sar­casm, vi­o­lence

With a se­quel ready to go, the ir­rev­er­ent su­per­hero’s cre­ator mar­vels at his suc­cess

The News Herald (Willoughby, OH) - - FRONT PAGE - By Peter Larsen Bay Area News Group

Deadpool 2 of­fers roughly the same con­coc­tion of crass-but-clever wink-at-the-au­di­ence hu­mor.

Rob Liefeld starts by say­ing he re­ally can’t talk at all about what hap­pens in “Deadpool 2,” now in the­aters, the sec­ond in a series of movies star­ring Ryan Reynolds as the ir­rev­er­ent, foul-mouthed, very vi­o­lent and oh-so-hard-to-kill su­per­hero whom Liefeld cocre­ated in 1991, early in his now-leg­endary ca­reer as a comic book artist and writer.

“I am sworn to big­gest of se­crecy: ‘Rob, don’t you dare men­tion Shat­ter­star! Don’t you dare men­tion Shat­ter­star!’” says Liefeld in a rush of words from his home in Yorba Linda, Cal­i­for­nia.

So OK, he talked about Shat­ter­star. But we knew that par­tic­u­lar mem­ber of the X Force was in the movie any­way, part of a team Deadpool as­sem­bles to pro­tect a young boy with spe­cial abil­i­ties from the mu­tant mer­ce­nary Ca­ble, an­other of Liefeld’s sig­na­ture cre­ations, played in the new film by Josh Brolin.

But hon­estly, Mar­vel Stu­dios, he didn’t say very much at all about the plot of “Deadpool 2,” though his ob­vi­ous ex­cite­ment over the re­turn of some “Deadpool” char­ac­ters, and ad­di­tion of oth­ers — in­clud­ing an­other of his fa­vorites, Domino, played by Zazie Beetz — tes­ti­fies to how great he thinks it is to see the world of Deadpool cre­ated in the comic books ex­pand­ing on­screen.

“I’ve got to tell you, man, it’s such a blast,” Liefeld says. “This sec­ond film, man, I think they stuck the land­ing.”

As Liefeld ex­plains, the huge suc­cess of the orig­i­nal “Deadpool,” which set a hand­ful of box-of­fice records af­ter its de­but in Feb- ru­ary 2016, quickly led to con­ver­sa­tions about what to do in a se­quel.

“Maybe it was March of 2016, so the movie had been in the­aters about two months, and Rhett Reese, one of the ridicu­lously tal­ented screen­writ­ers, said, ‘Rob, it’s time to talk about Ca­ble and Deadpool and X Force,’ “Liefeld says. “He said, ‘We want to seek your in­put and guid­ance.’

“I said, ‘Read this, read this, skip this, skip this,’ “he says of comic book is­sues he felt might best serve the needs of the moviemak­ing team.” ‘But don’t take my word for it, read all of it.’

“I felt my loy­alty at that point was more to the char­ac­ters than it was to Rob Liefeld. And the great thing was Rhett came back and said, your es­ti­ma­tion was great.”

While the “Deadpool” comic books have gone some­times to far-out places — say, fight­ing gi­ant di­nosaurs, or re­triev­ing his own zomb­i­fied head from a dif­fer­ent di­men­sion — Liefeld says he be­lieves the first movie worked partly be­cause it was grounded in a world that felt re­al­is­tic.

“Peo­ple say all the time, ‘What does this mean?’” he says.

“It felt like it hap­pened, the bars, the free­ways, the ex­per­i­ments that trans­formed him. Peo­ple even mak­ing fun of his suit.

“It felt like some­thing you could imag­ine hap­pen­ing in a world where there were su­per pow­ers. And Deadpool’s ir­rev­er­ence was baked into all of that.”

And de­spite the huge suc­cess of “Deadpool,” which grossed $783 mil­lion at the box of­fice world­wide, Liefeld says he had a lit­tle bit of anx­i­ety about how the se­quel would turn out.

“I’m not go­ing lie and tell you I wasn’t ner­vous,” he says. “You can be on set, as I was for­tu­nate Fox al­lowed me to be, and watch some in­cred­i­ble stuff be filmed. And then you sit down and watch it. I’m telling you, man, Ryan Reynolds, (di­rec­tor) David Leitch, Rhett

and (co-writer) Paul Wer­nick, they truly de­liv­ered some­thing that’s go­ing to put smiles on the faces of peo­ple.”

Given how many peo­ple turned out to buy tick­ets to the first one, Liefeld is con­fi­dent they’ll be back for “Deadpool 2” in a year when, as “Black Pan­ther” and “Avengers: In­fin­ity War” have shown with their own box of­fice records, there’s no end to fans’ thirst for Mar­vel su­per­hero movies.

“I re­ally be­lieve that watch­ing peo­ple re­spond to the first ‘Deadpool,’ they ab­so­lutely did not get enough time with Ryan as Deadpool,” he says. “The movie’s 110 min­utes, it’s not ‘Lord of the Rings.’ It was not, ‘OK, Frodo, find the damn ring!’ It was more, ‘Wait, you mean I don’t get to hang out with Deadpool any­more?’”

TWENTIETH CEN­TURY FOX

MINDY SCHAUER — ORANGE COUNTY REG­IS­TER

Rob Liefeld is the co-cre­ator of Deadpool, who re­turns to the big screen in “Deadpool 2,” now in the­aters.

TWENTIETH CEN­TURY FOX

Deadpool, played by Ryan Reynolds, and Colos­sus, voiced by Ste­fan Kapi­cic, ap­pear in a scene from “Deadpool 2.”

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