Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds attend a special screening of "Deadpool 2."

PA Images/Sipa USA

Movie Review: 'Deadpool 2'

May 17, 2018 - 10:00 pm

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Just when the Marvel Comics universe seemed about ready to take over Hollywood in all its self-important, action-adventure glory, along came 2016's "Deadpool," Marvel's first R-rated offering, to show us that even a comic book-inspired superhero thriller could be just as funny, if not funnier, than a comedy.

Come to think of it, this was a comedy.

And we're reminded of that in the sequel, "Deadpool 2," which brings back the title character in the form of Ryan Reynolds, who set us straight in the original.

"I may be super," he said then, "but I'm no hero."

It was a subtle distinction that placated, at least temporarily, those of us who felt superheroed and spandexed out at the time.

Like its predecessor, "Deadpool 2," the 11th installment in the X-Men film series, is a hyper-violent, self-aware, and just about constantly witty thriller featuring perhaps Marvel's most unconventional anti-hero.

And while it may not look like a comedy, the jokes, bits, gags and one-liners come at us with machine-gun rapidity.

Reynolds, whose comic presence is embedded in every frame, plays Wade Wilson, who, to deal with his cancer, subjected himself in the first film to an experimental process. As a result, he gained accelerated healing powers, disfigured facial skin, an unstable mind, a talkative tongue, and a demented — some would say inspired — sense of humor.

So Deadpool is Wilson's alter ego, an indestructible, motor-mouth mercenary, a sardonic and psychopathic killing machine, and a relentless wisenheimer dishing out suffering to those who deserve it.

Like the original, the sequel is a self-contained spoof of its genre.

This time around, Deadpool/Wilson, who has come to grips with his facial disfigurement and found love (with Morena Baccarin), forms a team of mutants dubbed the X-Force to protect a young mutant (played by Julian Dennison) from a time-traveling soldier named Cable, played by Josh Brolin.

Ex-stunt master David Leitch, who directed last year's "Atomic Blonde," takes over the directorial reins from Tim Miller, and works from a screenplay by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick — the duo who wrote the original — as well as Reynolds, who also served as a producer.

Leitch's stunt background may account for the parade of frenetic action scenes, some of which seem to go on forever. That said, they are certainly well executed, even while Reynolds is busy breaking the fourth wall and/or spewing pop culture in-jokes.

You could describe the plotline as being on the skimpy side, but given the snark and in-joke quotient, it hardly matters.

And Reynolds' casting in the anti-heroic title role is, dare we say it, perfection. 

While the film qualifies as one of those sequels that slightly tops its predecessor, it's very definitely aimed squarely at a target audience that has already seen "Deadpool." So, to say that returnees will have more fun than franchise newbies is to understate the case by plenty.

So we'll give it 3 stars out of 4. Fans of the irreverent, subversive, manic and very funny "Deadpool" should be once again squealing with delight at "Deadpool 2."