deadpool 2 list

Dear diary, I never thought it would happen to me – I never thought I would like Deadpool 2. And yet here we are, with me left feeling confused as well as amused. How did this happen?

Let me be blunt: I hate the first Deadpool. Hate may sound like a bit of a strong word, but it’s the truth. I watched the first Deadpool stone-faced, confused as to just what the hell so many people were raving about. To hear many of my peers and colleagues tell it, Deadpool was the funniest, most subversive comic book movie ever made. But it just left me feeling as if there was some sort of elaborate con going on, and I was the mark.

Often, when I confess my disdain for Deadpool to others, they act as if I just confessed some terrible, unforgivable crime. “How can you not like Deadpool?” they ask. “It was so funny!”

Was it, though?

With all this in mind, I went into Deadpool 2 with very, very low expectations. I never go into a film hoping to hate it – I want every film I see to be great, folks – but I wasn’t expecting much from Deadpool 2. Lo and behold, I was treated to a pleasant surprise: I liked Deadpool 2. In fact, I downright enjoyed it.

To be clear: the film has problems. The script is threadbare in terms of plotting and character development, and the humor is never as biting or subversive as it thinks it is. And yet, Deadpool 2 is an improvement on the first film in nearly every single way. So if you’re like me, and not a fan of the first Deadpool, here are five specific things that might make you end up enjoying Deadpool 2.

deadpool 2 director

Better Direction

One of my least-favorite elements of the first Deadpool (besides everything) was Tim Miller’s flat, pedestrian direction. On a purely surface level, Deadpool was an ugly film, awash in grays and muted tones. Miller, who came from a visual effects background, directs without style or flair. He’s the definition of a point-and-shoot filmmaker – someone content to set a camera in place and little more.

Deadpool 2 traded Miller in for John Wick and Atomic Blonde director David Leitch, and boy, what a difference it makes. Leitch knows exactly what a film like this needs: style, and lots of it. Deadpool isn’t a gritty, down-to-earth drama. It’s a silly-as-hell comic book movie about a character constantly making jokes while stabbing people with swords. That’s the type of material that lends itself to excess, and Leitch is talented enough to get that. On top of all that, Leitch is superior to Miller at shooting sight-gags and other visual queues that pay off in a big way.

 

Negasonic Teenage Warhead deadpool 2

The Action is Superior

Another bonus of replacing Tim Miller with David Leitch: the action on display is greatly improved. Again, Miller’s background is in visual arts, so a lot of his action scenes looked like dull, CGI-laden nonsense that was cooked up on a computer via previz.

Leitch, in contrast, comes from the world of stunt coordination. Because of Leitch’s stunt background, he’s been able to stage truly stunning action sequences in flicks like John Wick and Atomic Blonde, and he transfers that over to Deadpool 2. The sequel is loaded with action sequences, and in Leitch’s hands, they look fabulous. There’s a lengthy truck chase sequence that, despite all its defiance of gravity, feels somehow grounded in the real world. It all makes for a highly entertaining film.

 

deadpool 2 jokes

The Jokes Are Funnier

Here’s a running joke from the first Deadpool: the villain’s name is Francis. That’s it. That’s the joke. He has a dumb (?) name. Hilarious! (No, it’s not.) The jokes in the first Deadpool are spaced out, and almost uniformly unamusing. I can’t even recall most of them, save the Francis one. Deadpool 2, however, takes a joke-per-minute stance, where Ryan Reynolds’ Merc with the Mouth is constantly throwing-out one-liners. It can be exhausting at times, but ultimately, it all works out because the jokes are actually funny. I’m not going to sit here and recount the jokes, because there’s nothing un-funnier than some dumb bastard quoting someone else’s jokes. But suffice it to say, the humor – much of it consisting of in-jokes about other comic book movies – is rapid-fire and consistently amusing. It’s never as funny as it thinks it is, but it’s funny all the same.


deadpool 2 domino

The Supporting Characters Are Great

While Brianna Hildebrand’s Negasonic Teenage Warhead in the first Deadpool was kind of fun, the bulk of the other supporting characters were duds. Deadpool 2 fixes that. First up, it gives Deadpool a whole team of characters to bounce-off. On top of that, it gives him a sort-of-partner (in crime fighting) in the form of Domino, played to perfection by Zazie Beetz. To be clear, Domino is a bit of a thin character as-written. But Beetz brings such energy and charm to the part that it really doesn’t matter. She looks like she’s having fun up on the screen, and that fun is contagious. Then there’s the film’s kind-of-villain, Cable (Josh Brolin). Again, like Domino, Cable isn’t really fleshed-out in the script. But Brolin, with his 2% body fat and permanent frown, brings his own skills to the part to make Cable worth spending time with.

The best of the new characters, however, is Russell, AKA Firefist, played by Ricky Baker himself, Julian Dennison. Deadpool’s mission to protect Russell helps him grow as a character, but the real treat is watching Dennison act rude as hell. To be perfectly frank, Dennison is literally playing his character from Hunt for the Wilderpeople again, only this time with superpowers. And you know what? I’m fine with that.

 

deadpool 2 list

It Leaves You Wanting More

After I finished watching the first Deadpool, I was content to never, ever see a Deadpool movie again. “It would be pretty cool if they didn’t make a sequel to that!” I thought. But as the credits rolled on Deadpool 2, I had an alarming thought: “I’d like to see another one of these.” That’s right – I’m actually looking forward to another Deadpool film. Because by the time Deadpool 2 ends, it’s settled into a very nice groove, and it’s established its many characters as one cohesive unit. I wanted to see them all together again, in more stupid-but-entertaining adventures. And perhaps that’s Deadpool 2’s greatest achievement.

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