There’s been a lot of news surrounding the future of the X-Men movies since I wrote my Logan post. Most of it remains unclear as to how the movies will move forward. Long story short, Disney is working to buy most of 20th Century Fox. With it, they’ll take back the X-Men franchise, the Fantastic Four, and distribution rights to the original Star Wars trilogy (Fox still owns those rights). While they’ll definitely continue making X-Men movies, there are several questions. Will they straight up reboot the movies, or will they find a way to continue them? Will they keep making R-rated Deadpool movies? Because they’ve outright stated that they won’t be releasing nearly as many R-rated movies with Fox’s properties, yet they said they’d consider R-rated X-Men movies if there was a market for them. You could even say that the upcoming limited PG-13 release of Deadpool 2 could be Disney testing the waters.
One thing’s for sure, there are at least two more 20th Century Fox X-Men movie on the way, too far into production to be cancelled. New Mutants and Dark Phoenix. But we’re not here to talk about that. We’re here to talk about the most recent X-Men movie release, Deadpool 2.
Also, I updated my list of the X-Men movies in my order of personal preference to include Deadpool 2.
The first Deadpool was a real breath of fresh air that the X-Men movies desperately needed. Instead of worrying more about the Director’s personal take on the franchise, or trying too hard to please general audiences and losing a lot of the substance behind the comics, Deadpool clearly doesn’t care. I mean that in the best way possible. It’s first and foremost, a comedy. It’s a comedy with great action scenes, a surprisingly dramatic story, and even a couple scenes that feel like their straight out of a horror movie. Somehow it all works. It’s also by far the most faithful live action adaptation we’ve ever seen of the X-Men franchise, starring a character who was never officially a member of the X-Men, even if he would like to believe differently.
Deadpool 2, released in May of 2018, continues that trend. The first movie was seen as fairly risky, being the first R-rated superhero movie based on a relatively mainstream character. It earned $783 million, beating out the previously highest grossing R-rated movie, Passion of the Christ, and on a $58 million budget. With that smashing success behind them, Deadpool 2 received a larger budget of slightly above $100 million. It didn’t earn quite as much, but it still earned $734 million worldwide, making it the second highest grossing R-rated movie of all-time. Earning back around 7 times your budget always means you did fairly well.
Compared to the first Deadpool, Deadpool 2 feels bigger, with more characters appearing from the comics, more ambitious special effects and bigger action set pieces. Most noticeably, Colossus looks a lot more convincing than he did in the first, with his face even modelled after voice actor Stefan Kapicic. It brings in an X-Force team, even if it’s treated as a big joke. It introduces Cable, the time traveling mutant son of Cyclops and a clone of Jean Grey (it’s a long, convoluted story that will probably be simplified for the movies, if they ever explain it at all). But most importantly, it keeps the same general tone, comedy and faithfulness of the original comics.
Ryan Reynolds is as great as ever as the title character, and why wouldn’t he be. He’s made it clear in the past that he’s a huge Deadpool fan, and it was his hard push for the movie that made Deadpool possible. He perfectly portrays the character as a moderately insane mercenary who clearly uses humour to hide his pain. Josh Brolin joins the cast as Cable, and he brings the perfect amount of gruff and toughness to the role without going overboard. The two of them play off each other nicely, almost as if they were born to play Cable and Deadpool together. Like how the first movie brought back an obscure character like Teenage Negasonic Warhead (whose role is expanded this time round), Deadpool 2 brings in a re-imagined Firefist, played by New Zealand actor Julian Dennisan. Then 15-year-old Julian does a great job at portraying a young, arrogant and very angry teenager, who could just as easily become a supervillain as he could be a hero. Rounding out the main cast is Zazie Beets as Domino, who is not only very good in the role, but she’s almost as entertaining as Deadpool himself.
As great as the cast is, I wouldn’t quite call Deadpool 2 as good as the original. Thanks to the bigger budget, the action scenes are more ambitious, and they’re also exciting and well-choreographed. There are still plenty of great dramatic moments, most notably when Deadpool hits the very definition of rock bottom at about the half-way point. You also care about Firefist’s journey, and there are several points where it looks like he’s beyond recovery. However, in a lot of ways it kind of feels the same. Part of what makes the first Deadpool work is that it felt so fresh. Deadpool 2 doesn’t quite feel as fresh. The climactic fight in particular feels a bit too similar to the original. Both climaxes feature Colossus fighting another very strong opponent, Deadpool fighting to save someone he cares about (even if the context is very different), and at least some of the heroes’ victory is based on personal choices and luck. There’s even the same joke with something stuck through Deadpool’s head that makes him act all weird. Even the final kill is treated as a joke in both movies. Sure, throwing in Cable and Domino helps mix things up, but it still feels a bit too similar.
While I don’t like this one quite as much as the first Deadpool, I still really like this movie. It’s an easy recommendation to anyone who enjoyed the first. At the same time, if you can’t stand a movie full of R-rated toilet humour, fourth wall breaking and you’re not into the idea of a lot of bloody action that’s more often than not treated as funny, you’ll probably hate both movies. It’s a very entertaining movie, but for a certain kind of crowd. Deadpool and Deadpool 2 both work because they know their audience and they really don’t hold back.
Critics usually agree with that sentiment, giving this movie an 83% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with an average score of 7/10, compared to Deadpool’s 84% rating. Richard Roeper gave it 3.5 out of 4 stars, jokingly calling it the best sequel since Godfather II. The New York Times on the other hand gave it a negative review, complaining about its cynical tone and claiming that Deadpool’s rage feeling fake and dishonest.
There’s also an extended cut of the movie that comes with the Blu-ray release. Before writing this post, I watched both the theatrical cut and the extended cut, one day after another. My thoughts are … they’re about the same overall quality. The extended cut features a longer, more drawn out and more entertaining opening. Some of the jokes are funnier, and a couple of the dramatic moments are drawn out. On the other hand, the climax doesn’t work quite as well, with weak music choices and a couple jokes that don’t land all that well. The best version of the movie would probably be somewhere in-between the theatrical and the extended cut. Of course if you’re a fan of the movie, it’s definitely worth checking out the extended cut at least once.
There’s not much else to say without spoiling several huge reveals in the movie. If you like the first Deadpool, you’ll like this one. If you don’t, then you won’t. If you haven’t seen either, start with the first Deadpool movie.
Two X-Men movies are slated for release next year, with Dark Phoenix releasing in May, and New Mutants releasing in August. After that, the future of the franchise isn’t entirely clear. Personally I hope they still do an X-23 movie, or at least bring her into the next Deadpool/X-Force movie. My next movie post will be about Solo: A Star Wars Story. After that, it’s time to try and organize the Pixar movies in order of my personal preference, and then I’ll do the same with the Bond movies, along with hopefully a post where I try to decide which Bond actor is my favourite. Next year, I hope to do a blogathon for all of the MCU movies, timing it so that I get to Avengers: End Game right as it releases.