Deadpool 2 Directed by David Leitch

Starring Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Julian Dennison, Brianna Hildebrand, Zazie Beetz and T.J. Miller
Deadpool 2 Directed by David Leitch
The first Deadpool wasn't all that good an action movie, but it was an excellent comedy — what it lacked in plot and action, it more than made up for with slapstick gore and goofy meta-humour. Deadpool 2, on the other hand, is comparatively straight-laced. Rather than skewering the superhero genre, it largely plays by the rules, and the result is a gripping action flick.

The movie takes a while to pick up steam: there's an unexpectedly sad turn of events right off the bat, and then we get a little more character exposition than is strictly necessary. Our hero, played by Ryan Reynolds, still speaks directly to the camera and obliterates the fourth wall with his self-referential wisecracks. His superpower is regeneration, and there's plenty of fun to be had in the way he can heal from even the most gruesome injuries, although we've seen these kind of gags before.

The story gains focus once our titular mercenary develops a bond with a troubled teenage mutant named Russell (Julian Dennison), resulting in some genuinely touching moments. While battling to save his young friend, Deadpool gets plenty of help from his peripheral X-Men buddies Colossus (voiced by Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), plus a new ally named Domino (Zazie Beetz) who is endlessly mocked for having the unglamorous superpower of being very lucky. Together, they battle Cable (Josh Brolin), a time-traveller on a murderous mission, à la the Terminator.

This ensemble of antiheroes combine forces for some truly gripping action sequences in the second half, including a white-knuckle street race through what is unmistakably Vancouver (although the setting is never explicitly identified) and an X-Force skydiving scene that is both visually stunning and laugh-out-loud funny. Throw in a hilarious Rob Delaney appearance as moustachioed odd-man-out Peter, plus a few fantastic cameos, and the result is that many of the film's best moments come from the supporting cast instead of the star.

Much like in the Marvel Studios universe, Deadpool 2 serves to unite superheroes into a cohesive narrative arc, setting the stage for plenty of cross-pollination in the future. Assuming that more films follow in the series, this sets the bar high.