Deadpool 2 (2018)
Wade and his amazing friends…
The second go-around for the Merc with a Mouth brings more references and characters to please general and hardcore fans alike.
Starring Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Julian Dennison, and Zazie Beetz
Released by 20th Century Fox
Written by Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, and Ryan Reynolds
Directed by David Leitch
Two years ago, movie audiences worldwide were fully introduced to the fourth-wall breaking zaniness that's always uniquely injected into superhero stories by none other than Wade Wilson, aka Deadpool. With a nearly decade-long period of development hell stemming from the character's explosion in popularity after his first cinematic appearance in 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine, 2016's first Deadpool film broke ground by being the first major, big budget, hard-R comedic superhero film that was actually based on an established character from one of the big two publishers in comics.
Audiences and critics alike both ate it up, and after some early tumult concerning who would actually be helming the inevitable sequel, this summer we're treated to Deadpool 2. It's no secret that comics-based film sequels have increased in popularity and acclaim significantly over the past 15 years, with X2 and The Dark Knight both helping to show that sometimes sequels can be even better than their original installments. So ... does Deadpool 2 succeed at being more than what came before? Or, is it at least equal to its predecessor? Perhaps it's a misfire altogether?
Well, it becomes pretty clear within the first few minutes of the sequel's runtime that it's just good to have Wade back on the big screen again.
Deadpool 2 is not all that different in terms of either story or scope from its predecessor, but what it does do successfully by doubling down on the basic premise of the first movie is that it pushes the humor a little harder, while also more fully embracing a lot of the comic book origins of many of its characters.
The most obvious illustrations of this are in two new featured characters: the time-traveling Cable (played in another brilliant turn by Josh Brolin, fresh off his universe-altering turn in Avengers: Infinity War) and the luck-powered Domino (played by Atlanta's Zazie Beetz). Julian Dennison also turns in a satisfying performance as Firefist, with the same combination of humor and emotion that punctuated his starring turn in Taika Waititi's Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
When the jokes are flying at their hardest and fastest pace, Cable provides a surprising sense of balance as both a traditional "straight man" to Reynolds' character, while also proving to be a surprisingly faithful adaptation of the stoic figure found in the pages of X-Men comics. Domino is the next legitimate new X-Man introduced by the film, making clear how much of a powerhouse she is in a spectacular action sequence that helps beautifully explains just what it means to have "luck" as a superpower.
Reynolds' return, of course, ties the whole affair together. With his trademark quick wit and enough pop culture gags and self-referential superhero humor to have audiences in stitches, he also plays it down the middle in the surprisingly emotional moments that are present in several different moments throughout the brisk two-hour runtime.
While it's not likely that Deadpool 2 will make as many seismic waves in the superhero genre as the first film, it does follow the general rules of what constitutes a good sequel by being the same, but more.
Don't expect the wheel to be reinvented, and don't anticipate a necessarily brand new kind of experience from this sequel. Do expect to have a lot of fun, to see more Easter eggs than you'll likely be able to fully keep up with on a first viewing, to laugh a lot, and to see some pretty kick-ass characters come to life in new ways (Even characters that may have shown up at the movies before!). If you go in with the right sense of expectation, Deadpool 2 is likely everything it needs to be — and all you need it to be.
Don't leave until you see blood on the script. You won't be disappointed.
This review originally appeared at Movies.com.