Director: David Leitch
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Zazie Beetz
Have I Seen it Before: Yep.
Did I Like It: Yes. Could have definitely been a drag, but it fires on all cylinders, and even… Well, give me a second on that thought.
Let’s start our discussion with a few questions. How many comedy sequels are just as good as the predecessor? I’ll wait. Like, maybe Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)? Debatable. Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)? I’d give a resounding, even combative yes here, but would you even place that series exclusively in the realm of comedy?
Let’s widen the lens a little bit. How many comedy sequels are even watchable? Ghostbusters 2 (1989)? Some would say no, but I think they’re wrong. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2014)? Again arguable, but it’s hard not to notice the precipitous drop in quality.
For each of these possible answers, there are just as many that are absolute train wrecks. Caddyshack II (1988). Blues Brothers 2000 (1998, for some reason). The Whole Ten Yards (2004). Analyze That (2002). More Fockers than you can shake a tree at.
Okay, now let’s ask the question that seems silly on spec: How many comedy sequels are better than their original?
Yeah, I’m having a hard time coming up with anything. Which makes this follow-up all the more miraculous. While the original Deadpool (2016) was a shock and a surprise, given that mainstream culture had next to no awareness of the character beyond a pale imitation injected into the perfectly forgettable X-Men: Origins: Wolverine (2009). But here, the manic sense of fun pulled directly from the source material is not watered-down and in fact intensified.
The beating, weepy heart of Deadpool/Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds, the sing movie star most in touch with his id) is on full display, miraculously giving him an emotional arc while still managing to keep his edge sharp. He defends abused kids, he loves the people around him fully, and still manages to teabag Josh Brolin in the process.
If the character does end up a casualty of Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox, that’d be a shame. A third movie would really be something else.