Deadpool 2: X-Force Boogaloo!

Deadpool is probably my favorite X-movie. Much like the first installment, I saw its sequel with The Wages of Cinema’s Jack & Korey, who will become rich & famous from inventing jam brittle. This time they let me collaboreview Deadpool 2 with them. Much like Syfy’s Happy!, this is another adaptation that’s difficult to review because I legitimutantly liked it that much. Ryan Reynolds & his returning screenwriters (Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick) have impressed me once again! This was directed by Atomic Blonde’s David Leitch. It’s kind of hard to discuss it without completely spoiling it anyway, so let’s cut to the chase!

As with his first film, Ryan Reynolds is perfect as Deadpool. He brings the bathos & the pathos. His suit’s not identical, but it doesn’t deviate from what makes a DP costume look great. It even works caked in ash to simulate his Uncanny X-Force outfit. Wade’s got a red Vespa! This outing his subtitles are properly yellow. (UncannyXMen.net finally made a profile for Deadpool, which is remarkable considering all his origin retcons & guest appearances!)

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Hollywood learned something!

Have I mentioned how much I dislike Josh Brolin? They should’ve cast Stephen Lang as Cable! Actually, I don’t hate Brolin as Cable. He doesn’t ruin the movie for me, although he could’ve used some shoulder pads. In some scenes his eye doesn’t glow, which is confusing. His forcefield & the way he summons his rifle could be uses of his telekinesis, although probably not since he has to manually reach for other things like pistols.

In the first movie, the screenwriters had to cut characters once the budget was slashed. Since the first one made all the money, they’ve added all the characters! Many of them are part of Deadpool’s X-Force team. Then they die almost instantly like Milligan’s & Allred’s incarnation of X-Force! This is kind of mean-spirited yet hilarious. I guessed that’d happen once I figured out Zeitgeist was on the team. Seeing Terry Crews as Bedlam makes me wish he’s been cast as the lead in Captain Marvel Shazam! Vanisher’s power is teleportation not invisibility. American flatscan Peter W. is probably not Brit mutie Pete Wisdom.

As the sole survivor of X-Force besides Wade Wilson, Domino steals the show! I’m not just saying that because I had the honor of living with a wondercat named Domino! Zazie Beets is so charismatic. Protagonists generally have luck powers to begin with, so hers are extra cinematic. They perfectly adapt her serendipity ability Rube Goldberg-style.

My biggest gripe that’s not fixed by time travel is that they killed Black Tom Cassidy without letting him blast anything with his shillelagh! He’s Juggernaut’s BFF, so I’m disappointed they didn’t get to team up. They could’ve solved this by making the vengeful mutie kid Black Tom instead of Firefist since their powers are similar anyway. Black Tom’s are naturally better since they require a shillelagh. There was even a draft of the screenplay where he was a primary antagonist. I’m also sad Shatterstar died without getting to sword fight anyone, but at least we know Mojoworld exists in the movies! Get me a Mojo movie pronto!

If I were writing this movie, I would’ve paused the narrative so Deadpool could explain Cable’s origin with the magic of flowcharts! I have been informed that summarizing convoluted continuity with a straight face is comedy gold! Learning about characters that may never exist in live action like Mother Askani is educational too. (They kind of have to include Stryfe as The Big Bad of the proper X-Force movie if Disney lets them make it.)

The plot is similar to X-Men: Days of Future Past but I liked it more here. It does the superhero sequel trope where the protagonist is depowered, but they made a point of power dampening collars reactivating Wade’s cancer. Usually I hate movies where the superheroes waste my time fighting each other instead of the real villain, but I was surprisingly okay with that taking up much of the run time Deadpool was originally an enemy of Cable’s for years. While there’s an obligatory BvS: DoJ joke, I would’ve made it the reason Cable joins forces with Wade instead:”Save … Madelyne.” “WHY DID YOU SAY THAT NAME?” (Grodd forbid they attempt to streamline it by substituting Jean Grey for The Goblyn Queen!)

Much like Avengers: Infinity War, this too omits literal Death as a love interest. Some dudes just wanna bone Death, Hollywood! At least Vanessa, who is still not Copycat, substitutes for her here. (When her ghost warned him his heart wasn’t in the right place, I thought it was literal foreshadowing for the climax.) Her fridging before the opening credits left a bad taste in my mouth. There are plenty of Deadpool comics that are tragic & feature unsuccessful suicide attempts, so that’s great to include for non-fans that insist Deadpool only exists for cheap jokes. It’s just the cause that feels too hacky. That’s why this time the writers are acknowledged as “The Real Villains!” Morena Baccarin is so charming that removing her early is so upsetting, which is probably the intended emotional response. Fortunately Deadpool averts her death via time travel at the end so I can retroactively enjoy the whole movie (aside from forcing me to ponder predestination paradoxes). It has its temporary death cake & eats it too without drawing it out over two films.

I haven’t been fully onboard with labeling Deadpool as pansexual since his love interests are always women & nearly every homoerotic moment is basically a “no homo!” joke. He’s more flirtatious here, so it’s up to you to decide whether he’s sincere or not. When Cable said Wade reminded him of his dead wife, I thought the conclusion could be the two of them finding catharsis as a non-subtextual romantic couple. The film is not that bold. (Cable does not hook up with Domino or cameoing Irene Merryweather either.)

Negasonic Teenage Warhead & Yukio are the first to be canonically homosexual in an X-movie! Now that wasn’t so hard, was it? Apparently she’s a new version of the character loosely adapted in The Wolverine. I’m glad whoever is in charge of X-movie continuity is still crushing it. Shatterstar is bisexual in the comics, but it’s not confirmed before he’s gruesomely killed here.

Firefist is such a dumb name that it circles back to being great. If Rusty Collins had used it more often in the comics (or been as much angsty fun as Julian Dennison), maybe he wouldn’t still be dead. His girlfriend, Skids, isn’t included even though her codename would be an easy joke. Black Tom is there just for his name to be a punchline. If they’d given him his blackthorn, he could’ve been a font of “got wood” jokes too. Wade never calls Shatterstar “Shatttybuns” or “William Shatnerstar” either.

Juggernaut chasing Shadowcat is my favorite scene in X-Men: The Last Stand. (I don’t loathe it as much as everybody else because I’m astounded it didn’t turn out so much worse given its behind the scenes chaos.) I was delighted to see an even better version of Cain Letsfucksomesshitup Marko living up to his legal middle name in this much better movie. I would’ve loved it even more if Vinnie Jones had returned to voice him. The credits bill Juggernaut as “himself.” This time they acknowledge he’s Professor X’s wicked stepbrother (his real name isn’t subtle when written in reverse order), although he still seems to be non-magical in this movie. (I don’t know how they negated his powers if they couldn’t get a collar beneath his helmet.) If he he was powered by The Ruby of Cyttorak, he’d be much harder to stop. Before that, he gets to inflict some wonderful carnage. Him tearing fanboying Wade in twain is fantastic! They even remembered to let him fight Colossus this time.

Along with the stinger for X-Men: Apocalypse, this has the second movie reference to Mr. Sinister. He secretly ran an orphanage in the source material, so The Essex House For Mutant Rehabilitation is more appropriate than Essex Corp. (I wonder if that throwaway line in Legion’s second season about a Mr. Sunday massacring Mi-Go monks was originally going to be another one.) If that Gambit movie never escapes Development Hell, these Easter Eggs might never hatch.

While the original only had one, this boasts three original songs! Will any of them be Oscar nominees? “Ashes” works as both a tie-in music video throwback & a 007 style intro montage parody. (Watch the end credits for the other two.)

Much like the first film, the omnipresent marketing is on brand. Even the trailers that don’t break the fourth wall or teach painting keep plot points & characters concealed.  Deadpool is so happy to shill for a frozen food company I’d never heard of before!

It’s refreshing to get another X-movie that’s neither a period piece nor primarily set in a dystopian future. Even better, the eradication of mutantkind isn’t the conflict! The X-Men are even treated as superheroes, which I would’ve appreciated even more if they hadn’t let Magneto off the hook for global destruction as Apocalypse’s horseman. Wade does call out the 1960’s originals as a lousy metaphor for racism. His teeny trainee jersey evokes the cover where he donned a shrunken uniform.

Like the prior film, this is more of an X-Men movie than the serious ones because it goes full comic book. Always go full comic book. (Actually go even further on the fan service because I’m insatiably greedy.) Even though some of the characters were essentially plucked from a hat, the filmmakers show a lot of love to the source material. Gail Simone, Rob Liefeld, & Gerry Duggan (who just wrapped a stellar stint on the Deadpool comics) get shout outs. Its remix of homages warmed my nerdy heart. There’s an Alpha Flight sight gag! It gives everyone personality & something to do so they’re memorable even when their parts are glorified cameos. You’d think that still wouldn’t be rocket science for movie adaptations.

So I enjoyed Deadpool 2 a lot despite my quibbles. This is a great sequel that’s not content to merely reheat the original. I’m overjoyed the studio let them have even more free reign after the first became a bona fide blockbuster. Its maximum effort went a long way.

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“You were only supposed to tear my ticket! AARRRRRGGGHHHHH!!!!!!”

 Riverdale, Gotham, Arrow, Agents of SHIELD, & The Flash just had season finales too. Look for a humongous review of those coming up later this week!

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