Review: Deadpool 2 — the petulant, post-modern paladin we all need right now.
It has often been said that comedy is “tragedy plus time”. In many ways, humor is such a vital defense mechanism for all of humanity in dealing with and making sense of all sorts of tragic nihilism and events that otherwise have no discernible reason or rhyme in our universe.
That is not at all to say we should be making fun of tragedy, or otherwise trivializing it, but that it nonetheless is something that can be, in some measure, understood through humor, sarcasm, snark. Deadpool 2 does just that and does it very effectively.
Deadpool 2 has just that as its x factor as well, in bringing back the snarky superhero played by Ryan Reynolds, with his attendant 100 mile an hour punch-lines, barbed comments on the culture at large, and razor-sharp tongue, all nonetheless in the service of something greater. In this case, the personal tragedy that ends up defining our acerbic antihero Deadpool in this way is something he does not even seek to correct when the option of time travel is presented to him through Josh Brolin’s character Cable.
David Leitch (Atomic Blonde) directs this new installment of the motor-mouthed hero who can regenerate after his body is bruised beyond seemingly all help, a la the Monty Python “it’s just a flesh wound!” quote from a knight with no limbs — indeed, the natural results of this happening to Deadpool are brought to hilarious relief in the sequel after our hero’s run-in with the villain Juggernaut (also voiced by the insanely versatile Reynolds). Yet, Leitch’s most prolific contribution in the film is arguably its credit sequence, which sets the tone of scathing satire the film takes on everything from Ryan Reynolds’ well-publicized sarcastically bromantic jabs with Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, to Jared Kushner, Canada, and Deadpool not bringing his “rape whistle” amongst all the paintings of old dead white guys on the walls of Professor Xavier’s X-Mansion (“smells like Patrick Stewart!”) when our hero becomes a “X-Mentrainee” — not to mention Deadpool’s comparing himself to God. Twice.
Is it better than the original Deadpool? No, but it delivers on the fronts that matter: acting and the weaponised hilarity of our hero’s mouth — not to mention the always entertaining contrarian soundtrack — music like Air Supply and Cher played to scenes of satirically gratuitous violence is always something I find morbidly fascinating, whether in Reservoir Dogs (Stealer’s Wheel and the ear chopping), Scorsese’s work (think The Departed soundtrack particularly), or this.
It is through all these things that the character Reynolds brings to hysterical life and surprisingly profound depth is really the kind of hero we all need right now in this culture of news that seems to get more dark, down and dirty every damn day. Reynolds acting and delivery, coupled with some ruthlessly sharp writing, keeps us entertained throughout while constantly reminding us why Deadpool is Deadpool and what maybe we can all learn from him in dealing with that darker world around us — that we shouldn’t seek to correct those trying times that have defined us but as an alternative, probe them with some humor and a little bit of self-awareness.
Indeed, applying that lesson could make the whole world a little more sane.