After the success of 2016's "Deadpool," a flawed but entertaining film, it was obvious that the massive success of this R-rated movie would result in a sequel.
Keeping the screenwriting team of the previous film, but with a noticeable director change, original helmer Tim Miller had artistic differences with star Ryan Reynolds, this sequel doesn't deliver the freshness of the original, instead, the result is actually quite disturbing.
Reynolds joins the writing team for "Deadpool 2," and because of that, we feel the creative freedom of new director David Leitch all but sucked out of his hands. Leitch, the director behind the first John Wick and Atomic Blonde, is very much at ease with the action here but "Deadpool 2" is a film that is scared to evolve its ideas and take the next artistic step forward. No, this sequel strains in its attempts to outdo the original, but its failures are noticeable.
It doesn't help the film has a budget twice that of its predecessor, and so, there's more of a smoothness to the delivery here than in the gritty, meta world Miller created just a few years back. The violence is cleaner, the film more meta and, yet, the plot very much follows in the tropes of by-the-books superhero storytelling. Falsely subversive and, ultimately, very politically correct, this sequel loses sincerity for an abundance of cynicism.
You can tell Leitch wasn't part of the original. The effortless joys of the original replaced here with too much for nothing, a product that falls into the grueling accumulation of below-the-belt jokes that are not only humorless but don't do much to advance the plot.
On the other hand, Leitch is much more comfortable with creating action sequences, choreography that sometimes feels pleasantly delivered, with decent editing and rhythmic sense of timing. And yet, it feels like the worst movie of Leitch's career. "Deadpool 2" is dark but dull, the film is visually stimulating, yet also quite poor and ugly in its imagery.
Alas, it is a bitter disappointment. Much more cynical and cumbersome than its predecessor. If it gains in Leitch's narrative efficiency and control of action it loses the sheer madness, but sincerity that Miller brought to the original.
However, the biggest surprise in "Deadpool 2" might just be how it enters the ranks of politically correct cinema and is a superhero movie much like its PG-13 counterparts. [D]