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Ce­line Dion has never been cho­sen to sing the theme song to a James Bond movie, but she gets as close as she ever might to singing a Bond song with Ashes, her lat­est power bal­lad fea­tured over the open­ing cred­its of Dead­pool 2.

Ce­line Marie Claudette Dion, first of her name, of Charle­magne, Que., has pre­vi­ously lent her iconic pipes to songs off the sound­tracks of clas­sic films like Beauty and the Beast (it’s the tit­u­lar song!) and Ti­tanic (My Heart Will Go On) to great ef­fect: the tracks both won the Os­car for Best Orig­i­nal Song in 1991 and 1997. And even when the films haven’t been great (Up Close and Per­sonal, 1996), the songs have been hits for Dion (Be­cause You Loved Me, also an Os­car nom­i­nee). That’s her power (of love).

So, yes, that Ce­line. And, yes, that Dead­pool.

It’s all down­hill from the cred­its, though. Not be­cause the movie doesn’t make good on a prom­ise to do ex­actly what it sets out to, but be­cause it does ex­actly and only that. Dead­pool 2 is an en­tirely pre­dictable af­fair that, at 120 min­utes, spoils it­self.

(But also, how do you top Ce­line?)

We find the an­ti­hero (Ryan Reynolds, in a role that fits him as well as the tight red and black suit does) on a world­wide tour of sorts. Since his last foray onto the big screen, Dead­pool, whose su­per­pow­ers are re­gen­er­a­tion and sar­casm, has be­come a hit­man, and an ef­fi­cient one at that. Se­ri­ously, the body count in this movie must be some sort of record. There’s even a mon­tage of Mr. Pool on an in­ter­na­tional killing spree set to Dolly Par­ton’s 9 to 5. But when tragedy strikes, he’s in­vited to be an X-men trainee, but their motto — bring­ing peo­ple to jus­tice with­out killing them — doesn’t re­ally mesh well with Dead­pool. Though he is not an Avenger, his modus operandi has al­ways been aveng­ing.

The prob­lem with Dead­pool 2 is that it thinks it’s a send-up of more pop­u­lar and pol­ished su­per­hero movies like Avengers, when in fact it is a symp­tom of them. At times, it even ex­hibits signs of the generic su­per­hero flick it pre­tends to mock: the line “kids give us a chance to be bet­ter than we used to be” is ut­tered with­out irony twice in the movie. Even the premise has been done sev­eral times be­fore. A rag­tag group of mis­fits who come to­gether to help save the world (or part of it) from a young mu­tant named Fire Fist who is de­vel­op­ing a taste for de­struc­tion. There is the gi­ant, mus­cly metal­lic man robot named Colos­sus; a time-trav­el­ling mer­ce­nary, called Cable (Josh Brolin); and Domino, a woman whose su­per­power is just be­ing lucky (a su­per cool Zazie Beetz).

The film’s urge to con­stantly re­mind view­ers of how cool it is (via end­less voice-over and tongue-incheek commentary) only high­lights the fact that Dead­pool is not nearly as clever as it thinks it is. As a char­ac­ter, Dead­pool is crass and a jerk, you see. Oh, and also, he knows it. That’s the punch­line to the joke, again and again. A bet­ter com­edy about an un­like­able, un-kil­l­able lead al­ready ex­ists, and it’s called Death Be­comes Her.

Dead­pool 2 does try its hand at other jokes — to mixed re­sults. Most are stale, the kind that have been around the in­ter­net for years (like how come you can’t get a Mcrib year-round), while oth­ers are very in­side base­ball and could go over the heads of ca­sual fans (like when Dead­pool signs “Ryan Reynolds” on a ce­real box fea­tur­ing Wolver­ine). The gems are few and far be­tween, but it must be stated that they are de­light­ful when they do arise, like Dead­pool’s ob­ses­sion with Bar­bra Streisand’s film Yentl, and how Papa Can You Hear Me sounds a lot like Frozen’s Do You Want To Build a Snow­man?

More of­ten than not, how­ever, the jokes are in the spirit of be­ing funny rather than ac­tu­ally hi­lar­i­ous: when Dead­pool, mock­ing po­lit­i­cally cor­rect cul­ture, sug­gests the X-men be re­named X-peo­ple, a char­ac­ter shoots back that he is Xhaust­ing. What a great self-own.

Upon deeper re­flec­tion, the duo of Ce­line Dion and Dead­pool ac­tu­ally makes per­fect sense. Like lis­ten­ing to the diva’s songs, you think, surely, by the third act, it can­not get any higher or cra­zier. But it does! The difference is Dion’s per­for­mances are X-quisite, X-cit­ing even, while Dead­pool’s is just X-ces­sive. ∂∂

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