Formula Works Well in Hilarious ‘Deadpool 2’

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CHICAGO – We could all use some laughs, and “Deadpool 2” blessedly delivers. The meta superhero Deadpool – who exists both as a anti-hero and actor playing him – provides the wisecracks in the midst of the mayhem he experiences, and entertains in a way that other comic book movies wish they could be.

This is R-Rated fare, and Deadpool is there to remind us that he was first out of the box doing that kind of superhero movie (one of the funnier running gags is his disdain at the film “Logan” copying the “R”). He was introduced in the comics way back in 1991, and emerged as a movie star two years ago, surprising and delighting new fans with the jokes, sick humor and winks at the camera. Ryan Reynolds does Deadpool to perfection, I could watch a stand-up comedy special with RR as that character for an entire movie. It is the superhero plot, shoehorned into the comedy, that actually weakens the film a bit – get back to the jokes – but the formula of combining comedy and heroics was a breakthrough, and has influenced all other films of the genre since coming on the scene. And also, it’s just damned entertaining.

Wade Wilson/Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) is back, and illustrates his return by doing an elaborate suicide bit at the beginning of the film. His fiancee Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) has been killed due to his sloppy work with a drug cartel, and he needs to end it all. But even after doing the deed he can self heal, and his X-Men buddy Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) gathers him up and takes him to headquarters to “reconfigure.”

In His Eyes: Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) in a Parody Gag in ‘Deadpool 2’
Photo credit: 20th Century Fox

He is convinced to help the X-Men, and takes on the case of “Firefist” (Julian Dennison), who is a troubled mutant. D-pool and Firefist are arrested in the process, and are sent to a prison that negates their powers. This is when the villain enters… Cable (Josh Brolin) is a time traveling assassin out to kill Firefist. Deadpool takes on the fight as redemption, and gathers a special team called X-Force, which includes a hero called Domino (Zazie Beetz) whose super power is Luck. They all could use some.

There are a ton more characters and plot, but suffice to say that Deadpool works because it’s never taken seriously. Ryan Reynolds is a treasure in the role, his snotty fratboy voice is perfect as a vehicle for putdown and hijinks. The film works as a regular movieland superhero movie – with a surprising bit of heart – and as a comedy where we’re all in on the joke. It makes for a strange and funny trip.

The gathering of the X-Force (“isn’t that derivative?”) is a highlight of the film. With names like Bedlam, Shatterstar, Zeitgeist and Vanisher (a Brad Pitt cameo), the team is hilarious. And as the cherry on their cake, they bring on Peter (Rob Delaney), who has no superpower but just responds to the ad. It’s just very funny to see a normal dude in an elaborate superhero vehicle plane talking about sunscreen, that is just can’t-miss material.

Domino (Zazie Beetz), The Hero and Cable (Josh Brolin) in ‘Deadpool 2’
Photo credit: 20th Century Fox

The plot gets in the way of all this, it’s as if the movie were a raucous school with the clowns running the show, and suddenly the headmaster comes in to spoil the party and gets everybody back to class. The first film had dark moments that spoiled the soup, this one has the Hero/Villain face off that requires another round of CGI set ups (“here comes a CGI fight”). Again, I wish the whole film would just be a flat out comic farce, but you have to serve the master of the Marvel Universe, and it’s a small price to pay for the rest of the antics.

Summer movie season is here! What is always strange is we start the measurement of summer film success through the box office. Does a film matter only when everyone else sees it? Bring that up at your next book club meeting. Wait a minute, “Book Club” the movie is opening this weekend as well. As Deadpool might say, “how meta.”

“Deadpool 2” opens everywhere in IMAX, RPX and regular screenings on May 18th. See local listings for IMAX/RPX theaters and show times. Featuring Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, T.J. Miller and Stefan Kapicic. Written by Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick and Ryan Reynolds. Directed by David Leitch. Rated “R” (Way before “Logan”) senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

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© 2018 Patrick McDonald,

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