Mild spoilers from ‘Deadpool 2’ will be discussed.

From director David Leitch, one of the two guys who put Keanu Reeves back on the action-star map with the 2014 knockout “John Wick,” comes the highly-anticipated follow-up to 2016’s “Deadpool” in the aptly-titled “Deadpool 2.” Reeling fans of the anti-hero’s first outing back for more naughty and nuanced hijinks, the sequel finds its central “merc with a mouth” battling his own demons — as well as a time-traveling assassin — to deliver a satisfying and raunchy adventure.

Following the death of his fiancé Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) falls into a deep depression, one that quickly brings him to take his own life. After failing to do so, Wade is approached by X-Men Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), who bring him along to subdue a dangerous mutant child (Julian Dennison). After securing the child, Wade encounters time-traveler Cable (Josh Brolin), who seeks to murder the child in order to save his family in the future. As the abilities of the child become more and more unstable, Wade is forced to draw together a rag-tag team of heroes to stop him, including Domino (Zazie Beetz), Bedlam (Terry Crews), and Peter (Rob Delaney).

After the fantastic acclaim for the 2016 hit from director Tim Miller, there was no doubt that a sequel to “Deadpool” would quickly see the light of day. After Miller was unable to return, there stepped in “John Wick” and “Atomic Blonde” filmmaker David Leitch to snatch up the reins of the outlandish series. With star Ryan Reynolds eager for more meta-humor and blasphemous action as anti-hero Deadpool, the prospects of a sequel quickly came to fruition in this month’s “Deadpool 2.” Even as it threatened to retread familiar territory as its glamorous and gory predecessor, Leitch’s follow-up managed to elevate itself with not only some much-needed character development but also a slew of phenomenal action sequences. While still just as raunchy and unashamed as the first, “Deadpool 2” sought to deliver something far more profound.

While it might be difficult to see the profound qualities of a silly, no-holds-barred comic-book venture such as this, some of the best elements of “Deadpool 2” were found, unsurprisingly, in its characters. While I’ll delve into the particulars of the cast soon enough, one of my favorite things about the film found itself in the troubled path of its protagonist, Wade Wilson. As the first film sought to introduce us to the infamous anti-hero who effortlessly breaks the fourth wall as the self-aware joker that he is, “Deadpool 2” pitched us further into the character’s true motivations, delving into the one thing that makes him tick — that is, his own suffering. As the film kicked off with the untimely death of Wade Wilson’s love Vanessa, just as the first film took her captive, the actions — and much of the humor — of the character found themselves as a product of the main character’s own trials of being a hero. While it might be all fun and games to watch Ryan Reynolds crack jokes beneath his red mask, I’ll give props to the film for giving itself time to get a little serious with its jocular star.

The suffering of Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool was matched almost equally with that of Josh Brolin’s time-traveling bounty hunter Cable. While Brolin may have already taken the summer by storm with his role as big bad Thanos in May’s “Avengers: Infinity War,” the actor managed to bring some of his best work to this film as well. Even while he was mocked up with a robotic arm and one glowing eye, Brolin knocked it out of the park as one of the film’s most compelling characters. As for the rest of the cast, with Brolin’s partial antagonist forcing Wade to string together a whole new team of heroes to match that of the X-Men, the introduction of the X-Force managed to propel a worthy assortment of performances all around. While it was nice to get more from the chromed-out do-gooder Colossus and Brianna Hildebrand’s snarky Negasonic, the likes of Zazie Beetz’s Domino and Julian Dennison’s Firefist offered enjoyable roles for the sequel.

With jokes aplenty, a viable cast of characters likely to spawn their own franchises and a slew of unexpected surprises, ‘Deadpool 2’ managed to do what any good sequel should — expand on its main characters and storylines, all while delivering an exhilarating premise all its own. Taking liberties with its ever-shifting narrative to always keep the audience guessing, the film offered up a dark, screwball action-comedy likely to match the 2016 hit.

‘Deadpool 2’ is now playing in theaters everywhere. 

 

Poster Courtesy of 20th Century Fox and Marvel Entertainment

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