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MOVIE REVIEW: 'Deadpool 2' earns R rating with violence, profanity and dark humor

By DAN LYBARGER Special to the Democrat-Gazette

This article was published May 18, 2018 at 4:30 a.m.

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Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), Marvel’s snarkiest and most violent super-powered costumed mercenary, returns to the screen spewing sarcasm and Grand Guignol-worthy quantities of blood in David Leitch’s action comedy Deadpool 2.

Deadpool 2

88 Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Zazie Beetz, Julian Dennison, T.J. Miller, Brianna Hildebrand, Leslie Uggams, Lewis Tan, Terry Crews, Eddie Marsan, Morena Baccarin

Director: David Leitch

Rating: R, for strong violence and language throughout, sexual references and brief drug material

Running time: 1 hour, 59 minutes

Cable (Josh Brolin) is a dark assassin from the future who trades insults (and more) with the title character in Deadpool 2.

As a fan of the first Deadpool movie, I was alarmed when, a week before the press screening, a publicist's note indicated the sequel was "rated PG-13." But the charm of the first film lay in its "good taste be damned" attitude! Fortunately, that was just a typo.

If anything, the sequel is more violent, profane and funny-disturbing than the first: a Grand Guignol flecked with absurd notes -- such as a scene of a maimed Wade Wilson aka Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) hobbling along on baby legs.

All this mayhem and sarcasm might get old had screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (sharing credit with Reynolds) had nothing to offer other than insolence. Thanks to the first movie, they don't have to explain how and why Deadpool can recover from normally fatal injuries (he mutated after an experiment cured his cancer but made him look as if he had run into a waterfall of burning gasoline), so they can spend more time telling the story.

While director and former stuntman David Leitch (John Wick, Atomic Blonde) delivers what severed body parts and explosions the movie demands, he also occasionally gently pulls on a viewer's heart strings. And what would be unrelievedly bleak in a more naturalistic setting is mitigated by the fourth-wall-breaking Deadpool's more or less constant reminders that it's only a movie. With his athleticism and unerring timing, Reynolds was obviously born to don Deadpool's apparently smelly catsuit.

There are other amusingly offbeat mutants. Zazie Beetz almost runs away with the film as Domino, a mutant whose gift is luck. Essentially, she simply has a knack for avoiding danger by being a step or two ahead of it.

She's also endearing because she has little patience for Deadpool's unceasing banter.

On to the plot: "The Merc with a Mouth" has physically recovered from an ill-fated assignment, but his emotions are another story. Behind the vulgar bon mots is broken heart that even his superpowers have difficulty fixing.

He joins the X-Men and tries to stop an angry teen mutant named Russell (Julian Dennison, Hunt for the Wilderpeople) from using his gift for fire-starting. Russell and Deadpool are misfits even in the mutant community, and the situation gets worse when both wind up serving in a prison where their powers are neutralized.

The sensitive lad doesn't enjoy hearing Deadpool's alternate wisecracks and bleats of self-pity. The two may be confined, but they're not safe. An assassin from the future named Cable (Josh Brolin) breaks into the prison and tries to kill Russell as Deadpool tries to talk him out of it. With the mercenary's limited social skills, that's a nearly impossible task.

Just as Deadpool has powers but can hardly be considered a hero, Deadpool 2 is far more entertaining because Cable is a sympathetic antagonist. He has a very good reason for wanting to stop Russell from reaching adulthood, and Brolin brings just enough shading to the role to make him more than a straight man to Reynolds. While the gag credits in the first film informed us the movie featured "A British Villain," the interplay between Reynolds and Brolin is far more entertaining.

Unlike that other terminator from the future (yes, there are jokes about it), Cable has an emotional life, which causes Deadpool to ask, "So dark. You sure you're not from the DC universe?"

MovieStyle on 05/18/2018

Print Headline: Into the 'pool!

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