Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) is a superhero at the end of his tether, and he's going to tell us why. As he blows himself up and is ripped to pieces, what could possibly have driven him to such a drastic action, especially as technically his superpower is that he cannot die? It all goes back to his relationship with his girlfriend Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), for he inadvertently placed her in peril with all his vigilante actions that took him around the world in the search for the worst of humanity - so he could remove them from the picture. But on returning home to Vanessa, and after hearing she wanted to start a family, cruel fate intervened, meaning Deadpool would have to change his plans...
You have to really mess up a superhero movie not to give it a sequel, and while Reynolds made Green Lantern which was grudgingly accepted at best, yet was offered no follow-up, Deadpool was a true blockbuster which apparently surprised its parent company Marvel who had to have their arms twisted to even make the film in the first place. As it had been a pet project of Reynolds, and the fans were clamouring for him to take the role of the fourth wall-breaking mercenary, maybe it seemed too niche, but somehow after all those deadly serious superhero efforts it struck a chord in the audience who flocked to see it and comfortably made it one of the biggest successes of 2016.
Although the received wisdom goes that once a popular genre entered its parody phase it was more or less doomed as a mass entertainment, that did not appear to be the case with Deadpool, and the year a more serious entry in Marvel's universe, Avengers: Infinity War, cleaned up at the box office, the trick here was that no matter how irreverent it was, it continued to adhere to the rules of the style while making fun of them. Therefore there may have been a joke every thirty seconds or so, more in some stretches, but the fact remained it contained the big setpiece action and lessons to impart to its characters, and by extension us in the audience, that every example of its type employed.
Said message set out in the first twenty minutes, which was something to do with family - Deadpool calls this a family movie - and how we are here to guide future generations to do their very best for the world and themselves, not give into hate and feelings of violence and revenge. Something it was none too subtly implied the older generations did daily, as the notion that the folks older than the millennials were outright despising the views of their younger citizens was what fuelled an unexpectedly sincere plea not to let that hate and denigration turn into a cycle, a vicious circle that merely generates a self-perpetuation of despicable behaviour. If that sounded out of place in what was supposedly a silly comedy, it was accurate to say many fans preferred the less weighty shenanigans of the original.
But really, you could take or leave all that, for there remained all those gags, the script (co-authored by Reynolds), was littered with jokey references to other properties and pop culture that flattered the viewer they were smart for getting them. Although not every one prompted a laugh, the hit rate was not too bad, with the willingness to aim for truly daft humour over anything wittier perhaps more akin to blowing raspberries at any other superhero flicks, but pretty funny all the same, and the star's abrasive charm was assuredly well-deployed, as you would hope he would have his persona all in hand by now. He was supported by a willing cast who were all in on the joke, just as well, Josh Brolin performing double duty for Marvel by showing up here as the time-travelling Cable, here from the future to destroy a little kid (Julian Dennison) who was abused at a mutant cure facility (a thinly veiled dig at anti-gay "cure" camps). Should the kid grow up, he will be a force for enormous evil, but Deadpool believes he can be saved with the right words, and always having the right thing to say is a superpower of his too. Yes, it was a bunch of fights linked by quips, but for a bigger, more profligate sequel, it succeeded as far as that went. Music by Tyler Bates.