Review: 'Deadpool 2'

This meta mutant sequel establishes Deadpool as the most cartoonish of all cartoon heroes
'Deadpool 2' maxes out on fourth-wall breaking and absurdist mayhem.

As if it were Honest Movie Trailers: The Movie, the second installment in the Deadpool franchise leavens the hit-making Marvel mix of fight scenes, flashbacks and explosions with dick jokes. Our protagonist, Wade (the ultra-bro, Ryan Reynolds), was a mercenary.

He was left with a complexion like a Costco cheese pizza after a forcible gene-scrambling experiment intended to cure his stage 4 cancer. Now he's the killer Deadpool: hooded, cross-sworded, armed and ludicrous.

His superpower is bouncing back after extreme dismemberment and preposterous mayhem—Deadpool is the most cartoony of cartoon heroes, the one who owes the most to Chuck Jones and Tex Avery. He clowns before a long-gone fourth wall. At one point he describes a clue as "a huge steaming bowl of foreshadowing." The baseball goes so inside that there's even a reference to the way cartoonist Rob Liefeld drew figures with Dumpster-sized chests and skinny footless legs like a Danish modern coffee table.

Deadpool's frenemy here is Cable (James Brolin), so thoroughly ripped from The Terminator that Deadpool even calls him "John Connor." Strangely, Brolin's jaw is a little scarier without the CG chin-augmentation he had in Avengers: Infinity War.

The highlight is a Vancouver super-truck rampage with Deadpool at the wheel, upside down and ass-forward. He's helped by the movie's standout Zazie Beetz as Domino, who has a new kind of superpower, supernatural luck: nothing ever falls on her head, even when it's raining automobiles.

Other highlights include the parody of the Skyfall titles, Julian Dennison of Hunt for the Wilderpeople as a kid mutant who may turn killer, the oil portrait of Karl Marx on the walls of the Xavier Mansion, and the longest demise since Bugs Bunny staged one for Elmer. Deadpool 2 isn't as overfilling as the first. And from a nerd standpoint, it had a little more respect for the chrome giant Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) than its predecessor.

The downside is that Morena Baccarin, who gave the first Deadpool a strong romantic twist, is mushy here. She wants to be a mom and spends her time in the movie in a sort of heavenly purdah. When she says, "The baby factory is open for business," the line goes beyond cute and into the realm of something written by someone a little unsure of how babies are made. (Me, I know how. I just don't know why.)

Deadpool 2
R; 119 Mins.

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