The Best Worst Superhero Returns in Deadpool 2.
Ryan Reynolds' wisecracking still packs a punch, and the film's meta sendup of blockbuster tropes flips the bird at Hollywood.
2016's Deadpool revitalized the Marvel format: What could easily be another archetypal blockbuster, Deadpool introduced a type of grit and naughtiness to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Rated R, filled with suggestive jokes, and jam-packed with dismembered bodies and decapitations, Deadpool isn't an ordinary superhero franchise; it breaks the fourth wall and then some, barreling its way through superhero tropes and providing an abrasive alter-ego compared to Marvel's more wholesome offerings.
Everyone is in on the joke, so when Deadpool's girlfriend is killed 10 minutes in, it's only fitting that the opening title sequence nods to her unexpected passing—but, given the nature of Deadpool, a franchise that has always served as a meta-commentary on the superhero industry, its unintended sequel has a way of showing all the strings being pulled to keep the show running.
Where exactly can you take a franchise like this? There are only so many gags about X-Men and the movie's humble budget ($58 million) that can be made, and there's plenty of that in this film, including a scene where Deadpool opens a door in Xavier's mansion revealing X-Men's better-known heroes. Deadpool 2 has plenty of fun disrupting X-Men origin narratives, even poking fun at Wolverine's/Logan's recent departure from the silver screen.
But even as a stand-alone action flick, Deadpool 2 is a serviceable blockbuster without writer-producer-star Ryan Reynolds, whose wisecrack performance redeems 2011's ever-disappointing Green Lantern. Finding his niche as a jokester in a red padded suit, Reynolds steals every scene; his comedic timing and puppyish antics give life to a character that would otherwise be a jackass-y burn victim incapable of dying.
For an anti-hero, Deadpool is quite lovable. He meanders around, picking fights and making obscure film references. He drinks and smokes and makes friends with taxi drivers. He's like Peter Parker's older, cooler, and unemployed step-brother. It makes for entertaining chaos, with Deadpool usually initiating some type of violent action sequence where he's shot multiple times, dismembered, or torn in half. You'll see some of the most brutal action sequences in Deadpool 2—the choreography is smoother, faster, more creative, and chaotically paced. Everything that elevated Deadpool from other shoot 'em up action flicks is here in Deadpool 2, injected with steroids and Red Bull: shifty, fourth-wall-breaking action sequences; dubstep; inappropriate sexual innuendos; the self-referential mythology of Marvel's interconnected family of superheroes—now we can add gags about Deadpool's regenerating body and baby legs to the mix.
Deadpool 2 also benefits from a small cast, something recent Marvel offerings (Infinity War and Thor: Ragnarok) avoid like the plague. Bigger isn't always better and Deadpool 2 utilizes its supporting characters sparingly, killing them off moments after introducing them: A comedic highlight comes after Deadpool enlists his own team of heroes (reductively) named the "X Force," most notable, Zazie Beetz's Domino (whose powers of "luck" make for a lighthearted addition to Deadpool 2's whimsical unseriousness).
When Deadpool and his team of misfits go off to save a young mutant orphan, Russel aka Firefist (Julian Dennison), the movie shows its more endearing and family-oriented sentiments. The bad guy and Deadpool's stoic foil, Cable (Josh Brolin), is determined to stop Russell since he's seen, in the future, just how destructive his powers are to society, and more specifically, his own family. Still sassy, profane, inappropriate, and wildly fun, Deadpool 2 proves it's a notable franchise in its own right. Ryan Reynolds' wisecracking still packs a punch, and the film's meta sendup of blockbuster tropes flips the bird at Hollywood. And it's still refreshing to see a superhero who actually doesn't care—so many of the others do, and they aren't as fun.
POP⚡DUST Score: ⚡⚡⚡⚡
Shaun Harris is a poet, freelance writer, and editor published in avant-garde, feminist journals. Lover of warm-toned makeup palettes, psych-rock, and Hilton Als. Her work has allowed her to copyedit and curate content for various poetry organizations in the NYC area.
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No relation to the senator from California, James Harris played a stereotype of an African "savage" for white wrestling audiences.
James Harris, better known by the ring name "Kamala," passed away on Sunday at the age of 70, after contracting COVID-19.
Harris was a professional wrestler for over 30 years for both the WWF and WWE. At 6'7" and around 400 pounds, Harris was referred to as "the Ugandan Giant" or even "the Ugandan Headhunter"—though he was in fact born in the small town of Senatobia, Mississippi in 1950.
For a man of his size, he was remarkable for his agility and athleticism, leaping and dodging around the ring with speed that made him thrilling to watch in arena matches through the 80s and 90s, against the likes of superstars like Hulk Hogan, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Andre the Giant, and the Undertaker.
MAY 17TH-19TH | What's coming to theaters this weekend?
A bad super hero, a bad book club, but a good love story? Might be all you need this weekend at the movies.
In Popdust's column, Box Office Breakdown, we aim to inform you of the top flicks to check out every weekend depending on what you're in the mood to enjoy. Looking to laugh? What about having your pants scared off? Maybe you just need a little love? Whatever the case may be, we have you covered. Take a peek at our top picks for this week…
It's back and just as wild as the first time around, though you'd never get that from the description online. The world's worst super hero is back and this time in order to take on the troubles of the world, he needs a little help from his friends. He works to assemble a team that will be able to help him fight off trouble in the city (and of course still look young and hot in due time as the franchise continues). Get ready for as much action as there are laughs in this sequel.