Past the Popcorn provides South King Media with exclusive reviews of Theatrical and Home Video entertainment. We aim to dig just a little deeper than the surface of what we watch.

When the first Deadpool film hit theaters in 2016, it changed the perception of what a successful superhero film could be.  First, it carried a hard R rating, which paved the way for Hugh Jackman’s brutally violent farewell to the character of Wolverine in last year’s Logan.  It also proved that superhero movies could be comic and self-referential, without falling into the category of cheap parody.  By its nature, the sequel certainly will not be as groundbreaking as the first film, but Deadpool 2 does come with the same level of raunchy comic action blended with a surprising amount of heart that ultimately made the first film such a success.

As this movie opens, we learn that Wade Wilson, as the costumed mercenary Deadpool, has been making a living as an international assassin since the events of the first film while continuing to move the relationship forward with his fiancée Vanessa.  It is a good life, but when tragedy suddenly strikes, it throws the character into a self-destructive spiral.  The mutant Colossus is able to come pick up the pieces—literally—and brings Wade to Professor Xavier’s mansion where he tries to convince him that joining the X-Men and helping others might be just what he needs to get his life back together.  But his first mission as a trainee doesn’t go so well and he ends up in prison, sharing a cell with a young, fire-powered mutant named Russell.

At first, Wade wants nothing to do with Russell, but then all hell breaks loose when a part-man/part-machine warrior named Cable comes back in time from the future with the intent of murdering the young mutant.  After they are separated, Deadpool recruits a team of powered people—the X-Men B-team, if you will—to help him seek out and rescue Russell from the murderous Cable.  He calls his new team X-Force.

Ryan Reynolds’ shtick as Deadpool is definitely not as original as it was the first time out, but that does not make it any less funny.  Whether the jokes are raunchy or referential, they usually hit home.  The movie is loaded with references to all kinds of superhero films, so the more an audience brings into this film as far as pop culture knowledge, the more humor they are ultimately going to get out of Deadpool 2.  The references don’t stop at superhero movies, though, and fans of Taika Waititi’s 2016 film Hunt for the Wilderpeople will not only be thrilled to find that film’s breakout Julian Dennison playing Russell here, but also because the movie does not hesitate to re-use some of his best moments from that movie.

If the references were to fly over some people’s heads, though, the movie also has plenty of action to make up for it.  There is a terrific chase scene in the middle of the film as Deadpool’s newly recruited X-Force team attempts to break Russell out of a prison transport before Cable shows up to kill everyone.  The highlight of the X-Force team is certainly Domino, played by Zazie Beets.  Domino is a character with a unique superpower: luck.  Deadpool, of course, is the first to comment on how ridiculous that sounds, but the way the movie pulls it off is really terrific.  Another classic X-Men villain is introduced halfway through the film and he has a battle with Colossus that might feel like a dream come true for a fan of the comics or even the X-Men animated series.

The most important new character in the film is Cable, played by Josh Brolin.  The movie comes out just a few weeks after Avengers: Infinity War, in which Brolin plays that film’s big bad Thanos, and you can bet that they made sure to squeeze a reference to that in this film.  A lot of actors were rumored for Cable, but after seeing Deadpool 2 it is difficult to imagine anyone else as it feels like it is a role Brolin was meant to play.  And that’s a good thing, too, since he is apparently signed on to play the character at least three more times.

The fact that Deadpool 2 has a wicked sense of humor or solid actions scenes may not come as much of a surprise, but where the movie really sneaks up on you is its unexpected level of heart.  Like the first film with its surprisingly effective love story, Deadpool 2 focuses its heart on family.  That may seem overdone by now thanks to the Fast and the Furious and Guardians of the Galaxy movies, but it is the sly way it sneaks up on you in this movie that makes it feel fresh and unique.

Determining whether or not Deadpool 2 will be for you is easy.  Anyone who enjoyed the first film is sure to find the sequel equally entertaining as it is very much more of the same.  For the same reason, anyone who found to first film to be offensive or problematic will probably find this one to be even more so and might prefer to stay away this time around.  This sequel is right on par with its original, which in a world filled with underwhelming sequels, that’s a clear win for Deadpool 2.

Deadpool 2 opens today at the AMC Kent Station 14, the AMC Southcenter 16, the Century Federal Way, and Regal’s The Landing 14.

Find tickets and showtimes on Fandango.
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