After the massive success of the first Deadpool, it was only natural that there would be a sequel. This time around, instead of Tim Miller directing, David Leitch of John Wick and Atomic Blonde fame is brought in. Most of the original cast returns, as well as some new additions. The same writers are brought in as well, in addition to Reynolds being a cowriter. With this being a sequel to such a hugely successful and well-loved superhero romp like Deadpool, the filmmakers definitely had to step up their game to make a sequel that could stack up with the original. There was a ton of hype surrounding this film, between the teaser trailers, the announcement of Josh Brolin as Cable, and even a small teaser being shown in front of Logan. However, there were also some less-than-desirable things that happened behind the scenes, including Miller, Gina Carano, and composer Junkie XL leaving, as well as stuntwoman Joi Harris unfortunately dying performing a motorcycle stunt. Of course, there’s no way it could be better than the first as is often the case with sequels, but could this movie match the quality of the first one? In a word……YES, they certainly did!

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Following the events of the first film, our friendly neighborhood merc with a mouth, played again by Ryan Reynolds, is still working as a mercenary, going after crime bosses, sex traffickers, and drug dealers in the way that only he could. Things seem to be going well for him and his love Vanessa, once again played by Morena Baccarin, until a bad guy that Wade let get away comes back with his goons to take out DP and inadvertently killing Vanessa. Horribly grief-stricken, Wade decides to kill himself via massive explosion, but given his mutant healing ability, he can’t die. So, Colossus, once again played by Andre Tricoteux and voiced by Stefan Kapicic, takes him back to the X-Manor to get him to join the X-Men and hopefully help him get back on his feet. While there, he reunites with Negasonic Teenage Warhead, played by Brianna Hildebrand, and meets her new girlfriend Yukio, played by Shioli Kutsuna. DP, Colossus, and NTW then go to the Essex Orphanage after seeing a news report about a young boy named Rusty Collins, played by Julian Dennison, who has mutant powers and is in a stand-off with the police. DP manages to talk the kid down, but once Rusty tells him about how the staff at the orphanage mistreated and even tortured him, Pool starts shooting at the staff, only to get thrown in prison with Rusty. At the same time, a time-traveling cyborg from the future named Cable, played by Josh Brolin, travels to our time to eliminate Rusty for his own reasons. Through a series of events, Wade manages to get out of prison, and, not wanting to leave the kid to his fate, decides to put together a team to rescue Rusty before Cable kills him.

Much like the first film, Reynolds is the main driving force behind this film. Once again, he still delivers the same quips and referential humor as effectively as ever, but what makes things different here is that he’s developed more as a character. There are times where the movie gets pretty dark and serious, and Reynolds show that he can not only be funny, but can also show some tears and get really dramatic in some scenes. While Bacarrin doesn’t have much screen time in the film, she does pop up here and there from the beyond to help Wade figure out what he needs to do in order to be reunited with her. Likewise, Colossus and NTW, while still fun characters, aren’t given much to do until the third act. Once they are, they both really shine, especially Colossus in his major fight scene. Here, it’s a lot of the newcomers who are given a bit more of the spotlight, especially Dennison, Brolin, and Zazie Beetz as Domino, a fellow mercenary whose superpower is that she’s very lucky. All three of them fit into their roles perfectly: Dennison being equal parts funny, tragic, frightening, and sympathetic at times, Brolin playing Cable with such a scowl and dryness that he’s almost like a cyborg version of a character from a Clint Eastwood Western, and Beetz who has a lot of fun bouncing off the other characters and constantly showing DP how luck is absolutely a superpower. As I somewhat hinted at before, what makes this one especially different is how, for all the action sequences and crude/referential humor throughout, there are also some really emotional character-driven scenes that get very dramatic and luckily aren’t interrupted by a joke. This movie does a great job at balancing tone where so many others fail. Despite this, the movie still has plenty of great action sequences, especially around the middle of the second act when Deadpool and his team, known as the X-Force, have to board a moving prison transport that Rusty is in. With this being directed by the same people who made John Wick and Atomic Blonde, the action sequences are well-filmed and have a very real and gritty feel to them.

Of course, not every movie is perfect, and as much as fun as this is, Deadpool 2 is not without its flaws. For instance, as I alluded to before, aside from Reynolds, many of the returning cast doesn’t have a whole lot to do. Not to say that they’re reduced to being nothing more than cameos, but don’t expect there to be a ton of back and fourths between DP and Blind Al as with the first one. Also, and I never thought I would say this about a Deadpool movie, but at times, Deadpool can actually be kind of annoying. Granted, most of the time he’s still as humorous and fun as he was before, but there are moments where I almost wanted him to stop. If anything, there were times where I was more onboard with Cable since he was such a badass and Brolin played him so well. Even so, those moments are few and far between. And while I would normally complain about some of the cliches and extreme coincidences in the film, it’s still smart enough to recognize these as such and even pokes fun at them. So, all in all, is it better than the first one? No. Is it still an entertaining and all-around good time? Absolutely. Will this be as memorable and quotable as the first one? Maybe, but probably not as much. Should you still give it a chance? Well, if you liked the first one, then absolutely do it. Also, be sure to stick around through the credits cause there’s a mid-credits scene that is one of the best gags in the entire movie.

Once again, suck on it, Wolverine!