Deadpool 2 review: a slightly nihilistic gag-fest with more hits than misses

The original Deadpool was a bit of a miracle. It sounded terrible on paper but seemed to work in spite of itself, then went on to make a small fortune at the box office and convince industry pundits everywhere that superhero movies had to have swearing now.

The thing is, the script for that film was tinkered with for like a decade. Writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick have said it was a product of endless refinement, shearing away any flab until the result was swift and satisfying.

Deadpool 2, by comparison, was banged out in a year or so, and comes with massive franchise expectations. On that second front we get a few X-Universe favourites, including time-travelling soldier Cable. But refined it is not, and by the midway point the sheer volume of comic book references, new characters, and general carnage starts to feel a bit exhausting.

The good news is NZ’s Julian Dennison is great. He’s one of the few cast members who gets to play pathos as well as comedy, and he nails it. And Zazie Beets owns all of her screen time, playing someone whose superpower – luck – makes her a bit like a walking Final Destination movie.

New director David Leitch brings some of his Atomic Blonde style and a splash of John Wick’s fight choreography, but can’t keep the movie from feeling unwieldy. Like, there’s so much stuff in it I don’t have space in this review to talk about the title character (whoa, meta).

It’s often very funny, but periodically Deadpool 2 has to drop the ironic facade and shoot for real emotion, and here it stumbles. Mostly though, it’s a slightly nihilistic gag-fest with more hits than misses. And it’s already given us one of the comedic highlights of the year, in the form of this gif of Rob Delaney skydiving.

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