If you haven’t seen the first movie, which charted how gonzo mercenary Wade Wilson became Deadpool, good luck following this equally violent and potty-mouthed sequel. With its torrent of butt-foonery and CG viscera spliced with self-commentary and several hundred in-jokes, it’s seriously unforgiving of latecomers. If you’re not a fan, you may as well be living in a cave. And not the Batcave, obviously.
It kicks off with Ryan Reynolds’s super-antihero blowing himself sky high. His fiancée, Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), has been killed while he was taking down another batch of faceless goons and, grief-stricken, he’s attempting to end it all. Being indestructible, this proves tricky, though it does allow for a brief meeting with Vanessa in the afterlife where he learns that finding his heart is the key to being permanently reunited.
It’s so un-‘Deadpool’, you almost expect cinema’s most notorious fourth-wall-breaker to call a halt to proceeding and declare it a joke. Instead, the movie toes an unconvincing line between sweary glibness and sentiment as Deadpool tries to protect Julian Dennison’s (‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’) orphaned misfit from Josh Brolin’s terminator-from-the-future, Cable. The action comes thick and extremely fast, too. Director David Leitch (‘John Wick’, ‘Atomic Blonde’) presides over swathes of deafening, frenetically edited sequences: things explode, stuff flips. Sometimes things flip and explode at the same time.
Reynolds, who birthed this surprise hit franchise almost single-handedly, carries it with his usual deadpan charm. There are some giggly joys on offer, too. One, an ill-fated parachute drop to AC/DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’, features Rob Delaney (‘Catastrophe’) as Peter, an ordinary bloke whose superpower comprises mainly of having a moustache. But it’s a long movie and when its star isn’t on screen and cracking wise, the boundary-pushing shocks and endless self-references wear thin. Still, if you’re the Deadpool fanatic who recently had Reynolds’s name tattooed on his arse, you definitely won’t be grumbling.