Following the huge success of the first Deadpool movie, it wasn't much of a surprise to hear that a sequel was in the works. With David Leitch taking over as director from Tim Miller and numerous new characters being introduced, this looked set to be a very different follow-up.
Deadpool 2 opens on a relatively morose Deadpool who literally explodes himself before the credits even kick in and, right off the bat, you know you're in for a significantly more cartoonish outing. We're then shown what our favourite motor-mouthed anti-hero has been up to since the last time: taking out all kinds of bad guys by the dozens in inventively violent ways. This montage is already a lot more entertaining than most of the action presented in the original film so, chances are that, by the time the Skyfall-style opening titles kick-in, you'll be sold on this movie.
The plot sees a depressed Deadpool join the X-Men as a trainee for a bit before his edgier ways of dealing with baddies land him in the Ice Box, an isolated, maximum security prison for mutants. He reluctantly befriends troubled young mutant Firefist (Julian Dennison) before coming face to face with Cable (Josh Brolin), a time-travelling cyborg hell-bent on killing the kid. Deadpool hires the help of a few mutants, including Domino (Zazie Beetz), to form the X-Force and release Firefist.
The first Deadpool movie may have been a solid proof-of-concept but it was frustratingly nailed down by the fact it had to tell an origin story and had to mostly take place in bland, grey locations. Deadpool 2 is allowed to go all-out and it's all the better for it. As a character, Wade Wilson is given a little bit more depth, a character arc even, and Ryan Reynolds does an excellent job with the more dramatic moments as well as the visual gags and jokes, which are thankfully much sharper and funnier than the last time. There are playful nods to the likes of Logan, Avengers: Infinity War, the DC Universe, Flashdance, you name it. Plus some nifty cameos from familiar faces and classic characters from the comics.
With the exception of Negasonic Teenage Warhead, who is given little to do here, Deadpool 2 makes great use of its characters and Cable (along with another big name) makes a significantly more memorable and charismatic antagonist than Ajax. Few more minuses: the CGI on Colossus is, once again, disappointingly sub-par, we're still made to laugh at T. J. Miller's one-liners and the third act does drag a tiny bit, although that was somewhat by design.
Sequels aim to be bigger and better and, indeed, Deadpool 2 achieves this effortlessly. A vast improvement upon the first movie, this instalment is every bit as ludicrous and vulgar but it's also clever, funny, hugely entertaining and surprisingly endearing.
Tons of fun.