Deadpool 2 Brings The Subversion...
Deadpool 2 could be described, in many ways, more of the same. Wade Wilson smashes the fourth wall as he tells a story lightly twisting familiar genre tropes (even those the writers weren't aware of), but what distinguishes it is a considerably greater sense of purpose. The sequel is so much of what many people expected from the first, but that it failed to deliver on.
On a granular level, the specific jokes are stronger - Wolverine is speared more violently than X-24's tree impalement, the Marvel jokes aim deeper than acknowledging Thanos, and the DCEU's recent downturn is brutally addressed - and its riffing on the framework of a superhero movie are actually novel; the X-Men cameo is self-justifying, Brad Pitt pays off a painfully specific Interview With A Vampire reference, Matt Damon Dickie Greenleafs his way in, and Frozen gets one of its deepest critical analyses.
The key here is that at no point in development does Deadpool 2 feel like it was held back by uncertainty or wariness on the part of the studio or filmmakers. After the first movie proved the brand, Deadpool can do anything (except, it seems, have Hugh Jackman cameo), and so everything is stepped up to a level where the irreverence is so utterly dominating the movie becomes semi-subversive by its near-blatant ignorance. To end with a full admittance that the X-Men timeline can never make sense and wholeheartedly embracing that is on a whole other level to allowing Colossus a bit-part.
...Yet Wade Wilson Can Still Be Emotional
But there's something more targeted too. Deadpool was the origin story, but Deadpool 2 isn't just the standard sequel; it doesn't hone in on "Part 2s" - the "no Deadpool 3" joke from the trailers is absent - nor time travel, but rather the idea of the team-up movie. The film directly tackles aspects of Deadpool's source - Rob Liefeld's problem with drawing feet and fetishizing of fanny packs - and the notion of an uber-badass X-Force by bringing out some lesser, on-paper-cool heroes before offing them in the most humiliating fashion imaginable. Again, this isn't too far from the genre as standard - the nearest reference point for the X-Force massacre is Iron Man 3's Mandarin twist - but altogether we have a movie far more interested in pushing the limits.
That all of this is achieved with the film still able to deliver a story of genuine emotion, with Wade forced to face loss as an immortal being in stark terms, is particularly impressive. It did require the writers "fridging" Vanessa, putting her through a similar cliched love interest plot as before, but method-be-damned, the cathartic payoff as Deadpool accepts his heart being in the right place is certainly striking. In fact, for all the creative tightrope walking of making a jokey movie serious, the film could have almost used more of this mortality play to better power Wade's morality exploration; the restraint for most of the movie is paradoxically one of the weakest areas of confusion.
It's easy to see why both Deadpools have gained round-about similar attention. For all the upscaling, they are operating in a similar ballpark. However, under Tim Miller and a $60 million budget, the concept had a ceiling. David Leitch's effort is a more strongly directed film, for the most part confident enough in its pure offerings there's no need for a disjointed timeline or promises of being different. It just was. Deadpool 2 is a "bigger and better" sequel that by actually filling a key gap is bigger and better.