Funny se­quel over-de­liv­ers

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - INSIDER -

Dam­aged, dis­fig­ured, dis­in­hib­ited — it’s tempt­ing to de­scribe anti-su­per­hero Dead­pool in purely patho­log­i­cal terms. The for­mer Spe­cial Forces op­er­a­tive is the liv­ing, breath­ing, pro­fan­ity-hurl­ing em­bod­i­ment of toxic mas­culin­ity, al­though to be fair, he ex­hibits no such ugly be­hav­iour to­wards his long­time girl­friend (Brazil­ian ac­tress Morena Bac­carin).

And therein lies Dead­pool 2’s in­ter­nal co­nun­drum; as a film that’s aim­ing to de­liver a de­ci­sive liver punch to al­ready-fa­tigued genre con­ven­tions, it’s hob­bled by some fairly con­ser­va­tive DNA.

This scat­ter­gun se­quel to the sur­prise 2016 hit is about as sub­ver­sive as a mid­dle class teenager who tests his par­ents’ bound­aries to break­ing point while still ex­pect­ing to sit down each night to a home- cooked meal. And that’s pretty much its target au­di­ence.

Wade Wil­son (Ryan Reynolds) is one of those reck­less, re­lent­lessly wise­crack­ing trou­ble­mak­ers who can crack even a care­worn teacher.

What he lacks in social skills, he makes up for with his twisted sense of hu­mour and flu­ency in pop­u­lar cul­ture.

The gags in Dead­pool 2 come so thick and fast they de­mand re­peat view­ing (neat mar­ket­ing trick) to catch the ones that were drowned out by the sur­round­ing ex­plo­sions.

Not all of them work, but in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Reynolds, fel­low screen­writ­ers Rhett Reese and Paul Wer­nick main­tain an ex­tremely im­pres­sive bat­ting av­er­age.

Af­ter an ex­plo­sive WTF! be­gin­ning, this hotly an­tic­i­pated se­quel lit­er­ally and shame­lessly flogs the premise that su­per­heroes are in­vin­ci­ble.

Hav­ing lost his rea­son to live, Dead­pool tests his mirac­u­lous healing pow­ers to grotesque phys­i­cal lim­its — dis­mem­ber­ment, im­pale­ment, im­pos­si­ble skele­tal re­arrange­ments.

Many of these sce­nar­ios — such as the rib­ald se­quence in which his legs grow back — chal­lenge the con­ven­tions of com­mon de­cency to boot.

Dead­pool 2 is helmed by David Leitch (Atomic Blonde) who was once upon a time Brad Pitt’s stunt dou­ble. He calls in the credit here.

Leitch co-di­rected the ul­tra­vi­o­lent 2014 ac­tion drama John Wick, which is play­fully ref­er­enced in the open­ing cred­its — and Dead­pool 2 ex­hibits the same blood­thirsty ki­neti­cism, but de­liv­ered in a more car­toon style.

Josh Brolin’s Ter­mi­na­tor-like vil­lain is suit­ably charis­matic, in a ma­chine-like, al­pha male kind of way.

And Dead­pool’s ac­ci­den­tal side­kick Rus­sell (Hunt For The Wilder-peo­ple’s Ju­lian Den­ni­son) — an over­weight Kiwi teenager who is mer­ci­lessly ribbed for his un­for­tu­nate moniker Fire-fist — is an even more un­likely su­per­hero than the ti­tle char­ac­ter him­self.

But the film’s stand­out new re­cruit is Zazie Beetz’s Domino, a kick-ass, self­suf­fi­cient fe­male, AfricanAmer­i­can char­ac­ter whose sexy su­per­power is luck.

The se­quel was never go­ing to match the sur­prise ad­van­tage of the orig­i­nal film, and at times the self-can­ni­bal­is­tic na­ture of the ma­te­rial strains. Taken on its own terms, how­ever, Dead­pool 2 al­most over-de­liv­ers.

SCREEN­ING NOW

Ryan Reynolds plays Dead­pool in the se­quel to the 2016 orig­i­nal.

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