It is rare indeed when a sequel can top the first.
“Deadpool 2” is just as vulgar, violent, and as funny as the first, and then some. Almost everything about Ryan Reynolds’ third appearance (yes, third) as the Marvel super-anti-hero is everything fans of the first could want.
Reynolds is at his wisecracking best, but the movie — and its main character — have a lot more heart than it may seem on the surface. And while it doesn’t show very often, that is perhaps what makes the character’s genuine goodness, when it does come through, seem so genuine.
The movie itself is just as full of meta humor, poking fun at itself, comic book movies in general, as well as both the Marvel and DC universes. It does everything with a sincere tongue-in-cheek self awareness that allows even edgier ethnic and sexually focused gags to pass with barely a second thought.
To avoid spoilers, what I can say is that the film is full of intriguing casting choices, and the sidekicks pull their own weight, even the ones whose appearance is, shall we say, short lived.
The major supporting cast you know from the first are Morena Baccarin as Wade Wilson/Deadpool’s girlfriend, T.J. Miller as superhero-aware bar owner Weasel, Karan Soni as cab driver Dopinder and Brianna Hildebrand as the snarky X-Men trainee Negasonic Teenage Warhead.
“Deadpool 2” does a lot more than the first film to connect the character and his adventures to the larger Marvel universe he’s a part of in the comics.
Almost every gag pays off, and even when something in the film might be edging a bit close to cheesy overglorification, Reynolds and a snappy script bring it right back home again — often with the meta humor that makes this franchise work at on a level no other action comic has been able to achieve. “Big CGI fight scene coming up,” Deadpool says to the audience.
Josh Brolin is doing double duty at theaters right now, serving as villain Thanos in “Avengers: Infinity War” as well as the time-traveling baddie Cable in “Deadpool 2,” providing perfect fodder for Reynolds to insult Brolin in the heat of battle.
There are lots of other faces, some on screen for mere moments, leaving you wondering, “was that who I thought it was?” (“Yes. Yes it was,” is usually the answer.)
Some of the more notable are Terry Crews as Bedlam, Bill Skarsgård as Zeitgeist and Zazie Beetz as Domino, who form the core of Deadpool’s wannabe superhero team, the “X-Force,” which not only is exactly the play against the X-Men franchise that you think it is, but also has actual roots in the comics.
“Deadpool 2” is easy to enjoy on its own, and a good bit better if you’ve seen the first, but to really enjoy “Deadpool 2,” you’ll need a bit of knowledge of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the DC Universe and the X-Men franchise.
A word of warning, if it even needs to be said: "Deadpool 2" is rated R for a reason. Actually, it's rated R for several reasons. This is no kids comic-book action movie.
Suggested pre-“Deadpool 2” viewing includes “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” “X-Men: First Class” and 2017’s fantastic “Logan.” Bonus points if you’ve seen DC’s awful “Green Lantern,” starring Reynolds.
Like most Marvel movies, you should stay to the very end of the credits. “Deadpool 2” features one of the best post-credit scenes in film history, but you’ll want to bone up on that film history first to get the most out of it.