To the uninitiated, dwindling though they may be, Deadpool can be a lot to take in. The goofiness. The violence. The utter disregard for the fourth wall. He’s not exactly Batman or Iron Man, and he’s so much more than a brief synopsis of his power set can communicate. The original Deadpool film knew that, both financially and narratively, and thus hedged its bets accordingly. The scope of the first film was relatively small, smartly comprised of largely a single action sequence cut up by flashbacks, and the story, for all its protagonist’s quirks, was very conventional superhero origin stock.
Deadpool eased audiences at large into the world of Wade Wilson, carefully guiding them through his transition from a charming, sassy Ryan Reynolds-type to a Looney Toon burn victim assassin. As such, it leaned on some achingly familiar tropes, presumably in an effort to make the unfamiliar a little more palatable. But that was 2016. Now, Deadpool is pretty much familiar to everyone and their grandmother. He’s Deadpool! That lovable, R-rated hybrid of Bugs Bunny and Wile E. Coyote who violently slashes and shoots his way through the world.
But Deadpool 2 still seems overly concerned with nerfing its hero, insisting on reminding us over and over again that the Merc with a Mouth is also a hero with a heart. For all the sass Deadpool slings in his all-out war on marketing, a disproportionate amount of his second movie is concerned with pathos and soul-searching and melodrama that feel like they’re present more to check a box than to elicit any real emotion from the audience. To be blunt, there’s a lot here that comes off as filler.
Now that Deadpool is a cinematic establishment unto himself I expected Deadpool 2 to offer audiences a less-traditional film for its less traditional-hero. Ryan Reynolds is still an absolute embodiment of the character and this movie is hilarious and fun, but its insistence on unnecessarily reminding the viewer that Wade Wilson is more than sass and headshots over and over again holds it back.
When it comes to Wade Wilson’s secret heart of gold, less it most definitely more.