That said, I really liked the first Deadpool movie. I liked it far more than I expected to, in fact. A lot of that had to do with the fact that it was way more than what I was expecting. I knew to expect the basic tenets of Deadpool. I knew it would be fourth wall breaking meta commentary on the comic book superhero genre. I knew it would be raunchy and violent. I expected it to be at least somewhat funny.
But it was so much more. It exceeded expectations on every level. I did not expect it to be a charming, and actually somewhat moving, romantic comedy. In fact, I was so surprised that I probably rated it higher than I should have. I ended up giving it 4.33 stars. Having seen it again since, it’s probably more legitimately in the high 3 star range. But it’s still a good movie. It’s still so much more than it had to be.
This wasn’t that. Deadpool 2 wasn’t a bad movie. But it wasn’t a great one either. It was an ok movie. It was… exactly what it had to be. In fact, it was more or less exactly the movie that I thought the first one would be. It was transposing a Deadpool comic to the screen. It was fine… but it wasn’t much more than that.
When I reviewed the first movie I pointed out that one of the things that really made it work was that the limited budget forced them to make choices in the name of making a compelling story. The key example being that they wanted to include Taskmaster in the first film and literally couldn’t afford to. Which was great, because it meant that the film didn’t need to explain to a bunch of non-comic fans who the fuck Taskmaster was. This movie had double the budget and there are therefore cameos ALL THE FUCK OVER THE PLACE. As a comic book fan, I guess that’s kind of neat. There were a few laughs that I got because I’m me. And a lot of other fans will get and chuckle as well. If I was just a fan of the movie, though… I’d be aware of a lot of plot hammer cameos that literally go nowhere… and I’d be confused as to what they mean. That’s actually kind of the point. I’m sure it’s intentional. The film gives cameos so as to comment on the trope of overused pointless cameos… But it’s maybe too inside baseball. And it doesn’t go anywhere… the film literally goes “yes, here’s a gratuitous cameo. It’s gratuitous, see? It doesn’t do anything! See! See! See!!!” and it’s a little much. Especially when the cameo is of someone too obscure for the non-comic fan to understand… but blatant enough that they can’t ignore it. “Hey kids, it’s Black Tom Cassidy! Who’s that? Well we’re not going to tell you, but you better remember his name because you might want to google it when you get home.” And then when you get home and google it you’ll find out that there was really no reason for you to give a shit after all. The movie certainly doesn’t,
Yes… I know, that’s the point. That’s why they did it. That doesn’t change the fact that they did.
And that’s sort of indicative of the entire film. It was very on the nose. It opens with a neat little twist. And because of the way the film is constructed and the tropes it introduces you’ll be 100% aware of how the twist is going to be resolved pretty much as soon as it happens. And then several other plot twists happen that have the exact same way. The movie feels like it wants to have the emotional pull that the first film did, but since everything is so on the nose and so obvious as to where it’s going, you never really get the emotion appeal that the film wants you to. There are about three details that create the emotional center for the film… but since you’ll be pretty sure how they’re going to turn out the entire time, you’re left with a sense that there are no real stakes at all. Does the film NEED stakes? Not really. It could just be a dumb but fun superhero farce… the way Deadpool is intended to be. But since it wants to pretend that it is more than it is, it comes across as kind of vapid in ways that it shouldn’t.
That said, it is fun. I don’t want it to seem like this is bad. It’s not. It’s just… Deadpool. The cameos made me laugh. The action is amusing. The CGI is good enough. It’s got jokes. It has some commentary. For all it’s faults, it sort of works because it doesn’t HAVE to be any better. Deadpool being what he is, sort of allows the film to get away with some fairly stupid things that wouldn’t work in any other movie. But that pass only goes so far without there being more. It’s fine. And fine may be enough. And if you like Deadpool…or you’re just impressed by crassness in general… or gratuitous cameos… well, I guess there may be a little something extra for you.
★★½☆☆+[✝???⚾](2.5 out of 5 stars… plus Holy Shit Balls… if you’re into that sort of thing)