Northampton Press

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Movie Review: ‘Deadpool 2’: Meh

Thursday, May 31, 2018 by Paul Willistein pwillistein@tnonline.com in Focus

“Deadpool 2” is a cesspool of graphic violence, gross profanity, snarky nihilism, and terrible puns.

We might be able to forgive everything but the terrible puns.

Then again, any film that pokes fun at singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran is a plus.

Not that much of a plus, mind you.

Ryan Reynolds is back as Wade Wilson, aka Deadpool.

Just about everything and everybody is fair game for sarcasm in “Deadpool 2,” including Fox TV Network’s “Fox and Friends,” ironic since 20th Century Fox is the movie’s distributor. The film is like a cinematic stand-up comedy, improv or sketch comedy. The screenwriters should get jobs at “Saturday Night Live,” which can use some good politics-free zone comedy writers.

Even characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) are figures of fun in “Deadpool 2,” including Logan, one of the most fully character-developed superheroes of the last decade (“X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” 2009).

“Deadpool 2” is 11th in the X-Men series. Director David Leitch (“John Wick,” 2014; “Atomic Blonde,” 2017) and screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (“Deadpool,” 2016), and Ryan Reynolds are bankrupt of story ideas. That won’t stop them from emptying the pockets of MCU fan boys and fan girls worldwide on their way to the bank. “Deadpool 3” is in development.

The plot in “Deadpool 2,” which has to do with a maximum security prison, a truck convoy carrying prisoners, and an orphanage with a staff of alleged pedophiles, makes little sense. The screenwriters resort to time-travel in a failed attempt that makes the “thick plotten” all the more.

Of course, it’s all for laughs. That’s a big part of the problem with “Deadpool 2,” which breaks “the fourth wall” (as on the theater stage when an actor is in direct address to the audience) as Ryan Reynolds does in and out of character. To cite a few, he points out, “Not a CGI fight”; suggests, “Google dubstep”; jokes about the melodic similarity between “Papa Can You Hear Me” in the 1983 Barbra Streisand film, “Yentl” (a scene is shown) and “Do You Want To Build A Snowman?” from the animated feature film, “Frozen” (2013), and makes that Ed Sheeran joke.

One of the few contemporary actors who can pull this off is the eminently likeable Ryan Reynolds, who has a, ahem, deadpan delivery as Deadpool, who we see as much without his mask as with, revealing his almost unbearable to look at scarred face.

Actually, I thought there would be Deadpool twins since the movie is called “Deadpool 2.” Just kidding.

The film-makers give their audience what they want: snide humor, mega-action, and horrific violence.

The director missed the joke boat by not including a scene with the giant Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man from “Ghostbusters” (1984). That could have been a real melt-down.

The soundtrack is an ironic mix tape straight out of “Guardians of the Galaxy” (2014). In “Deadpool 2,” we’re treated to, among other sardonic gems: “Take On Me,” A-Ha; “All Out of Love,” Air Supply; “We Belong,” Pat Benatar, and “Escape (The Pina Colada Song),” Rupert Holmes.

“Deadpool 2” has more ”Easter Eggs” and in-joke pop culture references than a week of TV’s “Jeopardy.” It’s exhausting. Many are hilarious, and are unleashed faster than a chase scene in “The Fast and the Furious” (2001). It almost makes me want to see “Deadpool 2” again to get all the jokes. Almost.

Memorable in supporting roles are Josh Brolin (Cable), Morena Baccarin (Vanessa), Julian Dennison (Russell Collins, aka Firefist), and Zazie Beetz (Domino).

The fight scenes and chase scenes are chockful of spectacular mayhem that will please the most ardent MCU fan. Nonetheless, this is clearly a film not for pre-teens or children. “Deadpool 2” is crude, rude and lewd.

After the credits roll for “Deadpool 2” and I depart the multiplex to mull what I just saw and what it all means, I say, to borrow an expression from my son’s Millenial generation: “Meh.”

“Deadpool 2,” MPAA rated R (Restricted Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. Contains some adult material. Parents are urged to learn more about the film before taking their young children with them.) for strong violence and language throughout, sexual references and brief drug material; Genre: Science-Fiction, Action, Comedy; Run time: 1 hr., 59 mins.; Distributed by Twentieth Century Fox.

Credit Readers Anonymous: Stay for the “Deadpool 2” credits and see Ryan Reynolds reading the screenplay for his flop movie, “Green Lantern” (2011). Yes, that’s Brad Pitt in a cameo (don’t blink) as Vanisher. The movie is dedicated to stunt woman Sequana Harris, killed in a motorcycle accident during filming. She wasn’t wearing a helmet. Stunt person professionals criticized the film-makers for circumstances surrounding Harris’s death.

Box Office, May 25: “A Star Wars Story” opened at No. 1, with $84.4 million for the three-day Memorial Day weekend, dropping “Deadpool 2” to No. 2, with $43.5 million, $208.2 million, two weeks.

3. “Avengers: Infinity War” dropped one place, $17.3 million, $622.5 million, five weeks. 4. “Book Club” dropped one place, $10.1 million, $32.3 million, two weeks. 5. “Life Of The Party” dropped one place, $5.4 million, $39.4 million, three weeks. 6. “Breaking In” dropped one place, $4.3 million, $35.9 million, three weeks. 7. “Show Dogs” dropped one place, $3.3 million, $10.9 million, two weeks. 8. “Overboard” dropped one place, $3.1 million, $41.6 million, four weeks. 9. “A Quiet Place” dropped one place, $2.4 million, $180.1 million, eight weeks. 10. “RBG” stayed put, $1.3 millon, $5.9 million, four weeks.

88. Director-actor Dan Roebuck’s Lehigh Valley-filmed “Getting Grace” rose four places with $1,385 on two screens, $217,524, 10 weeks.

Unreel, June 1:

“Adrift,” PG-13: Baltasar Kormákur directs Shailene Woodley, Sam Claflin, Grace Palmer, and Jeffrey Thomas in the Adventure Romance. A young couple sails into love and a hurricane. The film is based on a true story.

“Action Point,” R: Tim Kirkby directs Johnny Knoxville, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Johnny Pemberton, and Susan Yeagley in the Comedy. A daredevil opens up his own theme park.

Two Popcorn Boxes out of Five Popcorn Boxes