Comic book movies have us surrounded and resisting is futile. Hell, even our president thinks he’s somewhat of a superhero. So naturally, that opens the door — rather, breaks down a fourth wall — for the niche audience that likes to laugh at the tropes of comic book movies.
Deadpool 2 kicks off with Wade Wilson/Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) really having it all. Since his body regenerates wounds, making death impossible, he’s quite the mercenary. And he and his partner are ready to have a baby and start a family.
All of this changes when tragedy hits home. Wade realizes he needs direction. He needs to put his heart in the right place.
The heart and the soul aren’t in the same place, however. Sure, some of the one-liners of the movie are funny, because they’re true. Deadpool meets a mutant kid named Russell Collins (Julian Dennison) who’s given himself the name Firefist — you know, the kind of name only a 14 year old would think up.
Deadpool focuses on saving this kid from evil tendencies. But he thinks evil seems to be what he was destined for. He asks: “When was the last time you’ve seen a plus-size superhero?”
And it’s fair criticism. Somehow, in between fighting bad guys and saving the world, superheroes find a way to maintain a killer physique. And Deadpool 2 doesn’t stop at comic book movies. Early in the movie, a James Bond-esque title screen animation acts as a transition, but replaces all of the clichés — like women posing suggestively — with Deadpool.
The jokes do get tired, relying on the numbers game to make you laugh. Sure, a few lines directed at the lack of X-Men can get a chuckle — like how their campus is somehow vacant except for the same mutants from the first Deadpool.Yet the sarcasm of calling for X-Men to change their name to “X-People” just comes out like one of those annoying social media posts when South Eugene High School decided to change their mascot from Axemen to The Axe.
Besides dick jokes that make you wonder if Seth MacFarlane wrote the screenplay, the movie features ultra violence, amped up compared to the comic book movies it lampoons. The action scenes do get better when there’s less dependence on Deadpool’s inability to die, such as when Domino (Zazie Beetz), who has the power of luck, gets introduced.
But us mortals are really the lucky ones, because we deserve less. Our obsession with law, crime and the notion that we need a rich person to save us (like Elon Musk) should make us deserve Batman. We deserve someone who takes law into his own hands and mobilizes his wealth to do so rather than reflecting on the systemic causes of why his parents were murdered in an alleyway.
Deadpool 2 didn’t jump the shark — and I’m sure they’ll find a way to work that joke into the third installment. Despite the movie’s flaws, what we really need right now is a superhero like Deadpool. We all need someone to show us how ridiculous this whole comic book movie genre really is.