Usually when Deadpool falls back on a tired trope, he turns to the camera and milks it for comedic effect. When he dives in front of a bullet, the next words out of his mouth are to make sure the cinematographers caught it in slow motion--that kind of thing. That lets Deadpool have his bloody cake and stuff it in his disgusting gob hole too; these movies can rely on silly superhero tropes, as long as Deadpool breaks the fourth wall and plays it up. "Woo! Superhero landing!"
But when that latter part doesn't happen--when the punchline never comes--it becomes hard to tell the difference between Deadpool and any other cliché-laden superhero sequel. That's the biggest problem with Deadpool 2. In its opening moments, Deadpool 2 resorts to a trope so tired and off-putting that it sets the rest of the movie on a clichéd, MacGuffin-laden path to blandness. It defines Deadpool's motivation for the whole movie. Even worse, the exact same trope motivates Cable, which is just plain bad writing. It's a double cliché of doom for Deadpool 2.
Luckily, Ryan Reynolds' Merc with a Mouth is still hilarious, irreverent, and irritatingly irresistible. The character, tone, and humor haven't changed from the original, so if you liked Deadpool the first time around, chances are you'll like Deadpool 2 as well, despite its flaws.
To explain much of Deadpool 2's plot would spoil it, but suffice to say things don't go well for Wade Wilson from the start. Like in an Iron Man sequel, the "hero" spends a lot of this movie wallowing and feeling sorry for himself, although Wade's version of that involves a lot more dick jokes than Tony Stark's. Eventually he recruits the other members of the X-Force, faces off with Cable (Josh Brolin), and meets up with Julian Dennison's character Russell, who calls himself Fire Fist--a nickname Wade is quick to make fun of.
Deadpool 2 is full of bait-and-switches. Characters you think are going to be important wind up not mattering at all. The X-Force--Terry Crews' Bedlam, Bill Skarsgard's Zeitgeist, Rob Delaney's Peter, and Lewis Tan's Shatterstar--aren't featured nearly as heavily as the trailers led us to believe (except, thankfully, Zazie Beetz's Domino, the freshest part of the whole film). Brianna Hildebrand's Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Stefan Kapicic's Colossus get about as much time as they did in the first Deadpool, while the newcomer to their crew, Shioli Kutsuna's Yukio, is onscreen for about 20 seconds total.
On the other hand, seemingly minor additions to the cast, like Dennison's Fire Fist, are actually integral to the plot, and not necessarily to the movie's benefit (Dennison is sometimes funny, but he's playing against type here, and it doesn't always work).
Deadpool 2's overarching plot doesn't really work. It relies too heavily on those aforementioned tropes, and on top of that it forgets to give you a reason to care about much of what's happening. Wade has his own goals in this movie, but they're actually counter to what you'll want to happen as the viewer, especially after a particularly conspicuous MacGuffin gets introduced partway through. Cable and Domino are undeniably cool, but like the other new characters, they have very little depth. At most, we get to know their basic motivations (if that).
All that said, Deadpool 2 is still hilarious. The character's best jokes always come from breaking the fourth wall and making references to other superhero movies and characters. Deadpool 2 pokes fun at the DC movies universe, Infinity War, the other Marvel movies, the other X-Men movies, and even certain previous Ryan Reynolds superhero roles. There are some extremely fun cameos, and the introduction, through Cable, of time travel into Deadpool's "continuity" (such as it is) makes for a collection of fantastically clever gags.
The action is still a stylish blast to watch, too, especially when the new characters get involved. Domino's power of "really good luck" lets her practically glide through action scenes without a scratch, while Cable makes good use of his "Winter Soldier arm," as Deadpool refers to it. The Merc himself uses his own regenerative body in horrifying new ways, including breaking his own arm in multiple places to put someone in an uncomfortable headlock. At one point he has to re-grow his entire bottom half, and he spends a whole scene "shirt-cocking it." If you're having trouble picturing that, think Winnie the Pooh.
Overall, Deadpool 2 mostly works for all the same reasons that the original did. Reynolds carries the movie on his back--although this time around he should have shared the load a little more evenly with some of his talented co-stars, particularly Beetz and Brolin. But Reynolds' Wade Wilson is just as charming as ever, in his own twisted way, and Deadpool 2 delivers the laughs, action, and gruesome maimings that fans want.
|The Good||The Bad|
|Meta jokes and fourth wall-breaking are hilarious||Relies heavily on boring, clichéd tropes|
|Deadpool is charming in his own twisted way||The overarching plot doesn't really work|
|Cable and Domino are cool as heck||New characters aren't explored enough|
|Action is a stylish blast|