Deadpool 2 reviews: Ryan Reynolds' Merc is 'sharper, grosser,' and 'manic'
Deadpool is officially back and, according to critics, he's dialed his movie sequel up to 11. That's a reference to 1984's This Is Spinal Tap. Like many of the jokes from Deadpool 2, if you get the nod, you'll enjoy the chuckle. If you don't, it might not be "worth the time it takes to process," writes David Edelstein of Vulture.
Deadpool 2 — the sequel to 2016's R-rated, fourth wall-breaking money-maker with Ryan Reynolds — has largely been hailed by critics, coming in at an 82 percent on Rotten Tomatoes with the first wave of reviews released. Yet, as EW's Leah Greenblatt writes, "There's a numbing sameness to the casual bloodshed here that makes the viewer almost long for the relative calm of the first film's lengthy pop culture digressions."
"It's in Deadpool's DNA to channel the wild id of a 12-year-old boy — a very clever one who happens to love boobs, Enya, and blowing stuff up. Which is dizzy fun for a while, like eating Twinkies on a Gravitron," she continues. "Eventually, though, it just wears you out."
Directed by David Leitch, the guy who turned Charlize Theron into a super-spy butt-kicker in Atomic Blonde, directs Deadpool 2. The non-spoilery premise is as follows: Wade Wilson is enjoying his life with Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) when Cable (Josh Brolin), a time-traveling mutant with a sci-fi gun and bionic arm, pops into his reality on a mission to assassinate a young fire-hurling mutant name Russell (The Hunt for the Wilderpeople breakout Julian Dennison). So the Merc with the Mouth assembles a super-team to take him down: X-Force, which includes the "lucky" mutant Domino (Zazie Beetz).
Read more reviews below.
Leah Greenblatt (Entertainment Weekly)
"Deadpool 2 might not be exactly the sequel we need, but it feels like the one we deserve. If the first outing was a scrappy, self-referential riff on the noble tropes of superherodom, the second is all that again, squared: a mega dose of meta (or is it a meta dose of mega?) rolled in radioactive goo and stuffed inside a cinematic piñata of fourth-wall breaks, severed limbs, and Yentl jokes."
Andrew Barker (Variety)
"In almost every respect, this sequel is an improvement on its 2016 predecessor: Sharper, grosser, more narratively coherent and funnier overall, with a few welcome new additions. It's a film willing to throw everything — jokes, references, heads, blood, guts, and even a little bit of vomit — against the wall, rarely concerned about how much of it sticks. Plenty of it does, plenty doesn't, and your enjoyment of the film will be entirely dependent on how willing you are to ignore the mess left behind."
John DeFore (The Hollywood Reporter)
"With Reynolds' charismatic irreverence at its core, the pic moves from bloody mayhem to lewd comedy and back fluidly, occasionally even making room to go warm and mushy. On the latter front, the filmmakers walk a fine line between embracing Deadpool's mock-everything appeal and needing to make Wade a credible, emotional human. Whenever it threatens briefly to slip into corniness, though, the movie regains its balance."
Alonso Duralde (The Wrap)
"All movies are a challenge to make, but there's something specifically tricky about crafting a comedy sequel like Deadpool 2. If you stray too far from the original movie that people loved, you risk alienating the fans. (Even if, like Gremlins 2: The New Batch, you eventually become a cult classic.) The ultimate goal is repetition with enhancements: the best comedy sequels, like 22 Jump Street, give you the same stuff all over again, only upping the ante so as to justify their existence. And somewhere in the middle lies Deadpool 2, which never betrays the promise of the first film; it just doesn't build on it, choosing instead to replay the greatest hits. If you're a fan of those hits, of course, then you'll enjoy this encore, but anyone who wasn't amused by the first go-round isn't going to hop on board for this entertaining but by-the-numbers do-over."
Jen Yamato (The Los Angeles Times)
"It's not easy to capture lightning in a bottle twice, and it's even harder to push boundaries when you're playing it safe. In Deadpool 2, the manic antics fly fast, but the franchise loses its edge as wise-cracking antihero Deadpool goes dadcore, attempting to infuse standard-issue four-quadrant studio blockbuster beats into what was once a revolutionary R-rated premise. Of course, superfans of the fourth wall-breaking Marvel Comics character will be delighted to see Ryan Reynolds' Merc with a Mouth back on the big screen, slicing up baddies and roasting everyone from his enemies (this time around it's futuristic soldier Cable) to his frenemies (Hugh Jackman's Wolverine) to his own studio, 20th Century Fox, just as he did in 2016's surprise smash Deadpool."
A.O. Scott (The New York Times)
"The script, by Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick and Ryan Reynolds (who once again plays the title character), is loaded with winky, fourth-wall-piercing eruptions of meta, the kind of humor that can make even the slow-witted and literal-minded feel devilishly clever. Works for me, I guess. But this sequel to the R-rated, X-Men-adjacent surprise blockbuster of 2016 works maybe a little too hard in the service of a dubious cause."
Kate Erbland (IndieWire)
"Deadpool had a sense of humor about itself, but its sequel finds a way to make those jokes truly funny. Still, it's rough going at first. The first act rips by at a frenetic, uneven pace, hopscotching through at least four different set-ups that could spawn its own full-length feature. As soon as it seems that Deadpool has settled into one path — high-stakes mercenary work, gunning for revenge after a shocking tragedy, wallowing in his self-pity, even joining up with another famous mutant crime-fighting team — Deadpool 2 zings off on another tangent. By the time the film settles into its primary storyline, the narrative suffers from a certain amount of whiplash, and it's only after about another 20 minutes that the audience has some sense of where the hell this is going."
Matt Singer (ScreenCrush)
"Leitch and writers Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, and Ryan Reynolds try to shoehorn in a half-hearted anti-violence message that is among the funniest (and most hypocritical) things in Deadpool 2. (You gleefully bask in the slaughter of dozens, then try to suggest that there's a 'better way' than killing someone who did something awful to you? Yeah no.) Still, there's some genuine warmth in the end of this film, and it works a lot better than it should. As Deadpool 2 unfolds, we come to see that beneath the wisecracks, it is very sincerely about the importance of family in everyone's lives. Deadpool talks tough and mostly works alone, but he realizes he needs other people to keep him sane. We need them too, if only to tell Deadpool to shut up every once in a while."
David Edelstein (Vulture)
"We've reached superhero saturation point, and Deadpool 2 is less a satire of that condition than a symptom of it. It has zero suspense — it's too hip, too meta, for suspense. The action is brutally edited and mostly undistinguished — a surprise, given that the stuntman turned director, David Leitch, devised amazing, close-in, faux-single-shot fights in his last film, Atomic Blonde. But he's out of his element with such pro forma CGI, which not even Deadpool's CGI jokes can redeem. Although this is primarily a comedy (with gore), Leitch doesn't hang back and let the actors develop a rhythm, the way Taika Waititi did in the Hope-and-Crosby-like Thor: Ragnarok. He just whomps away. But dull-witted direction wouldn't matter if the script (credited to Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, and Reynolds) were more consistent."
Peter Travers (Rolling Stone)
"Despite a tendency toward elephantitis in story and scope, not to mention blatant franchise pandering, Deadpool 2 still plays like the runt of the comic-book litter. We mean that as a compliment. Wade Wilson, a.k.a. Deadpool, is, now and forever, a bad boy who can't shut the hell up. This former Special Forces operative turned mercenary still has his swinging-dick swagger and a need to giggle in the face of things that might make him cry. The killer has always been a tragedy wrapped up in farce, and while Wade has a superhuman healing power (goodbye cancer!), his emotions still feel genuine and rubbed raw. Yes, the Canadian actor admittedly sucked at the superhero game when he introduced the character in 2009's self-serious X-Men Origins: Wolverine. But by this point, Deadpool is Reynolds' spirit animal, a role he wears like a second skin. No one could play this wiseass assassin better."
Deadpool 2 opens in theaters this Friday.