Josh Brolin Takes on Ryan Reynolds in R-Rated Marvel Mutant Sequel.


The foul-mouthed, forth-wall breaking, merc with a mouth, is back in a sequel that Deadpool himself declares to be a “family film”.  Of course this is far from being true in the traditional sense, and anyone with children who is thinking about seeing Deadpool 2 should know that the film is a hard-R rated film.  If you saw the first film, however, the sequel is on par with that one in terms of content, which no one should mistake for being family friendly.

For Deadpool 2, writers Rheet Reese and Paul Wernick return, adding star Ryan Reynolds to their writing team, while losing the original director Tim Miller for David Leitch who directed last year’s Atomic Blonde and previously shared directing duties on John Wick.

Reviewing this film without delving into any spoiler territory is going to be pretty tough, so I’m just going to cast a wide-net and speak generally so that everyone can enjoy the film to its fullest.

Wade, a.k.a. Deadpool, is back, balancing his life of taking out criminals in his own special way, while racing home to be with his girlfriend Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), who is ready to start a family.  Wade finds himself in prison after trying to be an X-Men recruit, complete with the shirt advertising it, where he tries to calm down a teenage boy named Russell (Julian Dennison from Hunt for the Wilderpeople, itself a good prerequisite for Deadpool 2) who is about to destroy a home for foster kids.

While in prison, Wade and Russell are targeted by Nathan Summers, a.k.a. Cable (Josh Brolin), a soldier from the future equipped with a cyborg-like arm, a bag of weapons and tech, and a personal vendetta to settle that hasn’t actually happened yet.  When Wade’s antics go to far, he can no longer count on Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) or Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) to help him since he won’t play by the X-Men’s rules.

So, to fight Cable and protect Russell, Wade forms X-Force, a collection of bad guys that include Domino (Zazie Beetz-Atlanta), a girl whose superpower is that she is really, really lucky.  Wade quips, “that’s not very cinematic”, as the film shows that it is quite cinematic.  Zeitgeist (Bill Skarsgard- It), Shatterstar (Lewis Tan- Iron Fist), Bedlam (Terry Crews- Expendables 3), The Vanisher (Gustaf Skarsgard), and Peter (Rob Delaney) who has no superpowers but just thought it’d be fun.  Assisting Wade again is his friend and bartender Weasel (T.J. Miller), Blind Al (Leslie Uggams), and his cab driver Dopinder (Karan Soni).

While just as much fun as the original, Deadpool 2 is a somewhat darker story-line in some ways.  Wade doesn’t break the forth wall as often, but the cultural references continue to be dropped with rapid-fire, and are surprisingly current as you can see in the trailer when Deadpool chastises Cable by calling him Thanos (who is also played by Josh Brolin in The Avengers: Infinity War).  There are jokes aplenty from everything from James Bond to the DC vs. Marvel argument.  The biggest subject of ridicule is the character of Wolverine and his infamous farewell in last year’s film, Logan.  The two end credit scenes (or during-credit scenes), may bring out the best laughs and set up for what might come next.

Ryan Reynolds has found the character that he is meant to own.  This has been proven apparent by the way he more or less auditioned for the part, the chance to do it his way, and to make it an R-rated film that fell more in line with the comics that it is based on, and less like the portrayal of Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which also starred Reynolds in the role of Wade.  Since the first film had lots of success, the question has been how well the sequel can live up to the monstrous expectations.  Fortunately, it does.

Deadpool 2 benefits from the consistency of its supporting cast from the first film, having the same writing team, and by adding a strong actor to portray Cable.  Josh Brolin knows exactly how to play the role of Cable, not as an over-the-top shallow individual there to simply antagonize Deadpool, or be the brunt of Wade’s jokes.  Instead, Brolin presents him as a compelling character who has believable motives for his wrath, that is able to generate true sympathy from the audience, proving to be a formidable foe for Deadpool and his new X-Force team.

Deadpool may not unseat The Avengers from the top of the box office, but it will be close, especially for those who are fans of both franchises and who are in real need of a pick-me-up after the heaviness of Infinity War.  If the 20th Century Fox and Disney merger finally goes through, Deadpool could see himself eventually in that world, and Brolin might find himself straddling the collective fence of both properties.  In the meantime, however, Ryan Reynolds is building his own extended universe, on his own terms, and having a blast.