On this episode of Fresh Films, the guys revel in the hard-R hilarity of what will either be the start of Fox's next big spin-off franchise (X-Force) or the beginning of the end for their decades-long X-Men expanded universe.
[Céline Dion - “Ashes”]
Marco Cartolano: What’d you think about the Céline Dion song?
Marcus Galeano: Oh yeah the opening... Yeah they didn’t laugh at the James Bond homage. I thought that was really funny and no one laughed in my theater.
Elliot Kronsberg: I mean they did that in the last movie, the credits where…
Marcus: Well yeah, but it wasn’t the super stylized Albert Broccoli presents... I thought the one they did here was really funny. I also enjoyed the “holy shitballs” in the climax. Did you guys get this one?
Marco: Yeah. I don’t think my audience understood that they were doing that.
Marcus: Yeah. I don’t think they did cause someone told me about it beforehand.
Marco: So welcome to Fresh Films, we’re a podcast devoted to reviewing new films that have come out in Evanston. I’m Marco Cartolano.
Marcus: I’m Marcus Galeano.
Elliot: And I’m Elliot Kronsberg.
Marco: Today we’re going to be reviewing the newest superhero film…
Elliot: Deadpool 2.
Marco: From Fox. One of their last films before they get into a merger. So, this film is the sequel to Deadpool, which was the highest grossing R-rated film of all time. Is it still that?
Marcus: What would have surpassed it?
Marcus: Oh no, I don’t think It did. No, cause they made a joke about it in the movie where it’s like, “Only Passion beat us domestically but internationally we got ‘em.”
Marco: It got a lot of attention for being a very crude, comedic sendup of superhero films at a time when there’s so much of them. So Deadpool 2 comes out and it has the mantra basically “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” It’s still a lot of meta-jokes, a lot of crude sexual humor, kind of a similar “let’s not take this too seriously” aesthetic as well. This film is directed by David Leitch, so he is one of the directors of the first John Wick movie and Atomic Blonde. So he’s known for these cool action set pieces and this is his biggest film to date, and they do reference that he was one of the directors of John Wick in the opening. Kind of in a very sick way.
Marcus: It wasn’t that sick. It was funny.
Marco: I don’t know, people really care about dogs.
Elliot: It’s not like it was a cat.
Marcus: Or a snake.
Elliot: Or a rabbit.
Marcus: Or a lizard.
Elliot: Or a person.
Marco: So this film is about Deadpool, who has hit an emotional low point, ‘cause of events...
Marcus: His wife gets capped in the first ten minutes, and they telegraph it a lot, so it’s not a spoiler.Elliot: So Deadpool, he’s doing great at the whole bounty hunter, mercenary business. He’s killing a lot of bad guys, he’s got a loving relationship with his wife, and they’re thinking about having a kid. And then she dies and he tries to kill himself, but of course, he’s Deadpool and he can’t die because of his crazy healing factor. And instead he kind of joins the X-Men for a sec.
Marco: As a trainee.
Elliot: And, in his first mission, he meets this kid, and through a long, convoluted chain of events, they end up in prison. And this time-traveling mutant named Cable comes to kill the kid, and Deadpool has to stop Cable from killing the kid and also rescue the kid from going down a dark path.
Marcus: It’s like Looper. Remember Looper? It’s like Looper.
Marco: So the kid is played by Julian Dennison, he was in Hunt for the Wilderpeople, directed by Taika Waititi, who directed Thor: Ragnarok. And Cable is played by Josh Brolin, who of course was just Thanos.
Elliot: And of course Deadpool is played by Ryan Reynolds, most famous for being Green Lantern in the 2011 Green Lantern film. The other major-ish character in the film, in my opinion, is a relative newcomer. Her name is Domino, and her superpower is that she’s very lucky. And they make fun of that in the film because how do you visualize luck as a power? They end up with a really cool sequence of her being lucky and managing to…
Marco: Cause a chain of events that leads to a lot of mayhem and destruction.
Marcus: But never is it inflicted upon her to where she’s ever in peril. She’ll just be striding through traffic – none of the cars hit her. Maybe a car hits a pole, and then that stops a convoy that she’s trying to hunt down.
Marco: And she’s played by Zazie Beetz, from Atlanta. So when you go into this film, you don’t really watch it for the plot. You want to see a bunch of jokes, you want to see the humor, maybe a cool action scene or two. You want to have a good time with this film, and humor is subjective, but I think it’s entertaining. I won’t say that any of the jokes are the funniest, most original jokes you will ever see in a film, but they do a good job making fun of superhero movies, of making meta-jokes at easy targets, and they keep a good, jokey rhythm so that you’re having a good time. They also get a lot of mileage out of making fun of how self-serious Cable is.
Elliot: You’d be self-serious too if you watched a little bastard with firehands kill your whole family.
Marcus: I’ve been watching clips from the original Deadpool, just like a couple of the more memorable scenes I remember. The plot was definitely weaker and there were fewer emotional moments in the film, but it was sort of as if their scarcity and just their punctual nature made them more biting and it endeared itself more to an audience. This film, it takes too much time with the emotional stuff. We didn’t come here for that. We came to watch Deadpool be a jackass and make us laugh. Which is kind of the way the emotional beats worked in the first one – it’s sort of as if he makes you laugh ‘cause he says all these asinine things, but when you see him break down or have an emotional moment, it’s sort of like a tears of the clown kind of thing. But in this one, the emotional stuff just goes on and on and on, and it’s very formulaic. I’ve seen that done better elsewhere, and they just drag it on too long and it becomes tiresome.
Marco: Yeah, I think that especially at the first act, it’s a lot more of them trying to set up Deadpool’s character arc and his emotional state at the expense of jokes and action.
Marcus: In theory, that’s what you should do with a film, but the first one is just so much more entertaining because they don’t doddle with things of that nature.
Elliot: A lot of the time with the emotional moments, I was waiting for the joke.
Marcus: Yeah, me too.
Elliot: I thought it would end in some joke, and then it was just a somber moment.
Marcus: A great example of that is at the end where Deadpool just won’t die, even though he should be. I was half expecting – in the second or third time he does the fake out – for Cable to say “Ok, fuck this” and he just takes the collar off and saves him. And by the way, isn’t all the emotional stuff invalidated in the post-credits scene anyway?
Marcus: Yeah, so it especially feels futile because it’s almost as if – why was that even there if it doesn’t mean shit anymore cause you saved everybody? That does bring me to the post-credit scene which is probably the greatest post-credits scene in the history of film as far as I can tell. It is fantastic.
Elliot: That is what all the promotional material said and I was waiting till the end. And I was like, “That’s it?” I mean the first Deadpool movie had an after-credits scene where it was Deadpool as Ferris Bueller, and I was like, “Oh that’s clever.” Because Ferris Bueller, it’s like the greatest post-credits scene up to that moment and probably for a while afterwards. It kind of invented the inventive post-credits scene.
Marcus: They do something very inventive here and it’s very funny.
Elliot: I don’t think it’s as inventive as Ferris Bueller, or the first Deadpool spoofing Ferris Bueller.
Marco: So while there is this unevenness, especially in the first part, where the tone goes a little too much into the mopey, emotional, serious side, I think they got better for the third act because Julian Dennison and Ryan Reynolds play off well against each other and those beats are centered around them more than with Morena Baccarin and Ryan Reynolds. Partially because the emotional beats in the beginning are a lot more forced and are there to set the plot up more so than to happen organically.
Marcus: They feel less telegraphed.
Marco: I think it rebounds in the second and third acts when they do focus more on the humor and more on setting up critiques of the superhero films. So he has his team, the X-Force – he builds them up and it has a really funny payoff.
Marcus: Oh, that was fucking gold.
Elliot: I mean, I was just laughing at the fact that he came up with the X-Force name because he’s like…
Marco: “I’ve always been disgusted by the sexism of the...”
Elliot: “We’re like the X-Men, but gender neutral.”
Marcus: When he calls Cable a racist.
Marco: The Cable’s-a-racist thing is one of my favorite recurring jokes.
[Air Supply - “All Out of Love”]
Elliot: Alright, so do we want to move on to our final thoughts? Marco you can start if you like.
Marco: I watched Deadpool 2 after a pretty shitty week, in all honesty. And I think that it was the sort of fun, inconsequential movie that’s nice to watch after you’ve had some stress in your life. It’s enjoyable, there are jokes that are funny. Everyone knows how to amp up the weirdness and the humor of the scenarios. It’s not a very evenly paced film, it gets a little slow at the beginning. I don’t think the action scenes are quite as memorable this time around and you’re not really going to get anything new if you’ve seen the first Deadpool film. But I think the quality holds up for a sequel. It’s not as good and as special as the first Deadpool, but it’s still funny. I’d recommend it.
Elliot: Alright. Marcus, what do you think?
Marcus: I sort of feel as if all the aspects that make the first Deadpool good – the comedy, the action the occasional emotional moment – I feel as if with all of those it’s a slight downgrade from the first, but still good enough to be enjoyed and worth your time. I’d say go out and see it. It’s fun.
Elliot: Alright, I guess it’s my turn now. I enjoyed the film quite a bit. I don’t know if it lives up to the first one in terms of the action or the humor. It is a lot more emotional. But I think it brings three really good supporting players to the film – Cable, Firefist and Domino – and I especially enjoyed Julian Dennison and Zazie Beetz as Firefist and Domino respectively. I really hope that they come back in later films, whether that’s Deadpool 3 or X-Force or whatever iteration this becomes. Overall, it’s a funny film, there are some good jokes, some good references. If you liked the first one I think you owe it to yourself to see what these guys have gotten up to. So this has been Fresh Films, from NBN audio. You can catch us online in the audio section of NorthbyNorthwestern.com or on Apple Podcasts. If you like this episode, go ahead and subscribe. This has been Elliot Kronsberg.
Marcus: Marcus Galeano.
Marco: Marco Cartolano.
Elliot: See ya.
[Cher - “If I Could Turn Back Time”]