Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Zazie Beetz, Brianna Hildebrand, Julian Dennison, Bill Skarsgard, T.J. Miller, Terry Crews, Rob Delaney, Lewis Tan, Jack Kesy, Eddie Marsan, Shioli Kutsuna, Stefan Kapicic,
Written by: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, Ryan Reynolds, based on comics by Rob Liefeld, Fabian Nicieza
Directed by: David Leitch
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence and language throughout, sexual references and brief drug material
Running Time: 119
Date: 05/18/2018
IMDB

Deadpool 2 (2018)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Shooting Dirty 'Pool'

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The R-rated sequel Deadpool 2, which opens Friday in Bay Area theaters, is the eleventh film in Marvel's X-Men series, which means that it follows the tenth, Logan, one of last year's best films.

Surely, a silly, self-aware comedy sequel is no match for that remarkable, powerful elegy. However, in true Deadpool style, Deadpool 2 opens with a hilarious sequence directly, defiantly, referencing Logan.

In one fell swoop it acknowledges its predecessor's greatness and asserts its own worthiness. After all, even a profound life is meaningless without some laughs now and then.

Our hero, Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), also informs us — in the midst of an army of bad guys being shot and burned alive — that Deadpool 2 is a "family" film.

He does not mean to bring the kids. He means that, in this film, Deadpool finds some people he can call his tribe, people he can connect with. And this simple idea elevates Deadpool 2 past a simple, snarky lark to something that touches the heart a little.

Without giving too much of the film's early surprises, Deadpool's fate becomes entwined with that of a young mutant, Russell (Julian Dennison, from Hunt for the Wilderpeople).

Russell has been abused at the hands of a mutant-hating minister (Eddie Marsan) and Deadpool decides that he must rescue the lad.

Unfortunately, the time-traveling killer Cable (Josh Brolin, every bit as good here as he is as Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War) has arrived with his sights on Russell.

So Deadpool forms his own team, which includes the amazing Domino (Zazie Beetz); her superpower is luck. That's not a superpower, you may say. Oh, yes it is. Domino is so darn cool she deserves her own movie.

Two representatives of the X-Men also return from the original Deadpool, Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), accompanied by good joke about where the other X-Men are during all this.

Finally, Russell enlists the aid of someone too, and it's a surprise. (Hint: he's big.) And, Howard Hawks-style, former adversaries team up to face a greater foe.

Deadpool 2 plays like a YouTube video review of itself, with snarky commentary about how some bit of knowledge might have been useful in the first act, comparisons of "that moment when things hit rock bottom" with the same moment in Cool Runnings, announcing a big CG battle, or offering: "that's just lazy writing."

Happily, and more so in this sequel, Reynolds — who has a co-writing credit here — has found a fine balance between firing off snappy, vulgar, perfectly-timed one-liners and the source of pain that causes all this humor to spring up.

His humor is a defense mechanism, and in this film he lowers it just enough to get to know — and to like — the guy inside the red-and-black suit. The mask's two white, oval eye-spots move just a little, and are amazingly expressive in a minimalist way.

The director here is David Leitch, a former stuntman who worked without credit on the terrific John Wick and whose first official directing credit was Atomic Blonde. That film was slick and fast and great-looking, but eventually grew exhausting.

Deadpool 2 is more evenly paced, and — even though it runs 11 minutes longer than Deadpool — never feels flabby or tired. It's lean and tightly coiled, ready to pounce but unafraid to pause.

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