Is Deadpool 2 better or worse once you realize it is more a ZAZ parody like Hot Shots! than the sort of Marvel blockbuster typified by Avengers: Infinity War? Both Deadpools work pretty well as parodies of the current crop of superhero flicks, with the sequel maybe being a bit too on the nose with its nonstop string of call-outs. Trying to have it both ways weakens the movie’s overall effectiveness as either; it makes fun of the superhero genre’s cornucopia of overused tropes while also relying just as heavily upon them (more so even than Marvel’s best entries).
The movie opens with a “surprise” tragedy intended to increase the dramatic stakes while also drilling that pathos for laughs through a title sequence that doubles as a sendup of recent Bond films. The rest of the movie sees Ryan Reynolds’ Merc With a Mouth battling another time-traveling Josh Brolin, the once and future Thanos who is also the MCU’s lovably gruff mutant cyborg, Cable—I always envisioned this character as more of an exasperated Tommy Lee Jones type—to save a pyrokinetic teen named Russell (Hunt for the Wilderpeople’s Julian Dennison).
John Wick’s uncredited director David Leitch takes over for Tim Miller, and Deadpool 2 features some top-notch fights, especially when the movie’s surprise guest busts out of prison and goes up against Deadpool’s X-bestie, Colossus. Writers Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick and star Reynolds show no loyalties when it comes to jokes. Knocks on the undeservedly hated Batman v Superman and its DC brethren are to be expected; they even find room to own Reynolds’ DC failure. Logan and the rest of Marvel’s stable are given the humorous middle finger.
With so many comic bullets flying, some are bound to find their target, but these writers are more Imperial stormtroopers than sharpshooters. Superheroes often take themselves too seriously, but these over-muscled guys and gals can take a little good-natured lampooning. In his initial outing, Deadpool seemed to be the character best suited for such mocking; it is as much his superhero power as is regeneration. While Deadpool 2 is more of the same, the sequel edges dangerously close to the hypocrisy of unaware self-mockery.