has been taken up a notch.
Leitch reminds us of his action chops after the explosion, as the narrating Deadpool, aka Wade Wilson, takes us back a few weeks, to his “Merc With the Mouth” dusting bad guys in places such as Sicily, Tokyo and Biloxi. (This, by the way, is all presented in a montage set to Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5.”)
Back home in the apartment he shares with his fiance, Vanessa (Morena Baccarin of “Gotham”), she and Wade talk of starting a family. However, domestic bliss is quickly interrupted as an enemy has brought the fight to him.
That event sets into motion the film’s story, which sees Deadpool becoming invested in protecting a powerful mutant boy, Russell (Julian Dennison), who can generate and wield fire.
Russell wants to be called Firefist, a name Deadpool makes clear he thinks is very stupid, and, as a person walking around with a few extra pounds, carries some frustrations about how you never see overweight superheroes.
“The industry discriminates!” he insists.
From whom does this not-so-pleasant young gent need protecting? That would be Cable (Josh Brolin), a powerful, part-mechanical soldier who has traveled back from the future to kill him.
Unable to reason with Cable, who has his reasons for wanting Russell dead, Deadpool decides to try to stop him.
Along the way, Deadpool works at becoming more of a team player. Sure, he’s still buddies with bar owner Weasel (T.J. Miller) and cab driver Dopinder (Karan Soni) — who, by the way, has developed a bit of blood lust that seems to disturb even Wade — but he finally gives it a shot as an X-Man (well, an X-Man trainee, as he’s reminded repeatedly).
Also returning from the first movie are his uneasy X-Men allies Colossus (the digitally generated metal dude again voiced by Andre Tricoteux) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), who, Deadpool is surprised to see, now has a girlfriend (Shioli Kutsuna). NTW clearly is offended by the reaction Deadpool gives at this news and accuses him of having a problem with lesbians.
“Pump the hate brake, ‘Fox & Friends,’” he retorts, explaining he merely was surprised another girl would want her.
When life as an X-Man doesn’t quite mesh, Deadpool goes about forming X-Force — a name he admits is derivative — with a bunch of nobodies including a powerless character portrayed by comedian Rob Delaney (“Catastrophe”).
The lone useful member is Neena Thurman (Zazie Beetz), aka Domino. Much to Deadpool’s disbelief — and downright annoyance — her super power seems to be luck. (It just drives him crazy, and it’s great.)
“Deadpool 2” is anchored by a fun mid-story action sequence involving Deadpool, Domino, Cable and a surprise guest from the pages of Marvel Comics, in which Leitch again shows us what he can do. And, of course, we get a climactic fireworks-filled sequence before the credits roll.
And speaking of those credits, don’t leave your seats when they start — there is yet some real fun to be had. (Also a blast: the film’s opening title sequence, which offers a variation on what the first film did.)
That “Deadpool 2” feels like such a natural extension of the first film isn’t surprising considering that writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick return from the first film.
Reynolds also gets a writing credit this time, and it understandable he would take more ownership with this sequel. The role is the perfect for him, and it’s great fun to watch him do his thing as this snarky angel of death.
While we’re on the topic of nice fits, if you’ve never seen the acclaimed FX series “Atlanta,” you might be surprised how much Beetz adds to the mix. No, Domino is virtually nothing like her “Atlanta” character, Vanessa, but this actress just demands you notice her work.
Meanwhile, Brolin is bythe-numbers but enjoyable as Cable. Fresh off his turn as the digitally rendered villain Thanos in the terrific “Avengers: Infinity War,” the actor has the weight on screen to serve as a counterbalance to Deadpool.
Even with decent acting and action, what sets the “Deadpool” movies apart from the superhero pack is, of course, the humor. While the constant references to the “X-Men” movie franchise can become a little tiresome, jokes that come at the expense of the movies resulting from partnership between Warner Bros. Pictures and DC Comics are pretty funny.
“You’re so dark,” Deadpool says to Cable at one point. “Are you sure you aren’t from the DC Universe?”
There are some actual emotional moments in “Deadpool 2,” but, for reasons that should be quite clear, they can’t be taken too much to heart — despite being well-directed by Leitch.
With so many sincere superhero movies out there, we should appreciate another one that can’t take any of them — or even itself — very seriously.
This image released by Twentieth Century Fox shows Josh Brolin in a scene from “Deadpool 2.”