I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction (FreshFiction.tv) as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.
Jared McMillan // Film Critic
Rated R, 118 minutes.
Director: David Leitch
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Julian Dennison, Morena Baccarin, Zazie Beetz, Leslie Uggams, Brianna Hildebrand, Stefan Kapicic, Karan Soni, T.J. Miller, Bill Skarsgård, Terry Crews, Rob Delaney, Lewis Tan and Eddie Marsan
DEADPOOL was a breath of fresh air when it debuted in February 2016. The overwhelming barrage of superhero formula started to grow stale until the Merc with a Mouth came to shatter box-office records like car windows. Deadpool’s appeal comes from the fact that he is a full-blown vigilante, not trying to hide behind a moral code to justify his actions.
Vigilantes need to have an unhinged element because they are, for lack of a better word, sociopaths. Their sanity should be questioned because of the Messiah complex they adopt, thinking they are the solution to mankind’s evil.
Wade Wilson, however, is a mercenary struggling with his sanity. In the first installment, it showed his need to recover identity after being chemically altered by the villain. Because his sanity is askew, there is no need for rules, and he has nothing to lose. Without the confines of identity, he is free to be untethered from the normal framework of the superhero subgenre.
The movie-going masses responded, amounting to a worldwide box office of over $780 million. Studios love a winner, so it’s a no-brainer they green lit DEADPOOL 2. The real question is if would meet expectations or just become too much of a good thing.
The movie opens with Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) in the midst of an existential crisis. He is still a mercenary, taking out the worst of the worst in over-the-top fashion, while growing his relationship with Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). But ol’ trouble finds Deadpool and gets him to reevaluate the circumstances of his mortality in the form of Russell (HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE’s Julian Dennison), a teen mutant with pyro abilities, and Cable (Josh Brolin), a soldier from the future looking for revenge.
Without getting too much into detail and spoiling a lot of things, it’s safe to say that DEADPOOL 2 is a great follow-up to the original. In many ways, it’s more refined in its structure. A lot of pre-production talk revolved around the changing of directors, with Tim Miller stepping away from the sequel. However, bringing in an established action veteran in David Leitch (ATOMIC BLONDE) allows for tighter direction during the action set pieces, which give greater impact to both violence and humor.
Furthermore, the script by Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick and Reynolds establishes a better story without the origin stigma needing to be attached. This story involves Wilson growing with his new identity, mainly through ideas of family and maturity. The key is to keep this growth in the background while giving the audience what they want: ultra-violence and rapid one-liners. While Deadpool is destroying environments and the fourth wall, the story unfolds naturally to show our hero evolving.
In a way, the story directly reflects the experience of watching DEADPOOL 2. At first, we get a lot of the same jokes, same hits from the first installment, so much so that it gets to being on the verge of stale. However, once new characters are introduced, it allows for new ideas to bounce off and create a new, better environment for the movie to evolve. It becomes what a superhero movie is supposed to do, which is having the plot points directly reflect what is going on internally with the protagonist. Meeting Russell, the formation of the X-Force, his need to use his reckless abandon as a defense mechanism leads to a better appreciation of the character’s struggle/redemption.
The movie achieves balance as Deadpool does, but keeps the violence, quips, and in-jokes cranked to 11. DEADPOOL 2 gives everything that’s demanded of it and more, including one of the best end credits sequences ever, keeping the franchise going and making it better in the process. It’s one of the best action movies of the year, as well as one of the funniest comedies of the year.