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Deadpool 2 Early Reviews: The Sequel is Bigger, If Not Really Better

The first wave of Deadpool 2 reviews have hit the 'Net. With Deadpool director Tim Miller not returning and the movie blatantly setting up X-Force, fans have had fair reason for concern about Ryan Reynolds' filthy mouthed superhero sequel. The original Deadpool's success was partly a matter of circumstance, arriving seven years after Reynolds' debut as Wade Wilson in the woebegone X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Miller's film was a breath of fresh air for the X-Men series when it hit the scene, so it was always going to be tough to bottle lightning a second time.

The first Deadpool 2 social media reactions dropped late last Thursday, showering the film with praise and building hype for its theatrical launch this week. Early buzz from those screenings is that the second Deadpool succeeds in being more ambitious while doubling down on the original movie's fan service and R-rated violence, courtesy of director David Leitch (John Wick, Atomic Blonde). Even Wolverine himself, Hugh Jackman has (cough) begrudgingly celebrated Deadpool 2 as a "work of genius."

Related: Fans Love Deadpool 2's Post-Credits Scene

Getting the first Deadpool off the ground was a labor of love for Reynolds and he's not letting up the effort on the sequel. He even shares writing credit with returning Deadpool screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick and continues to go out all out in his efforts to market Deadpool 2 ahead of its release. Now critics have weighed in with their thoughts on the film. For more on that front, check out these SPOILER-FREE excerpts from some of the first reviews for the sequel (click the links for the full reviews):

Molly Freeman - Screen Rant (Score: 4/5)

All in all, Deadpool 2 showcases everything a Deadpool movie could be, with fantastic action, uproarious humor, and just enough drama to balance everything out. In fact, Deadpool 2 is so much more a complete vision of a Deadpool movie that the first film retroactively feels somewhat lesser in comparison, like a proof of concept experiment (with little confidence behind it) or extended test footage reel... Ultimately, it pays off with a Deadpool sequel that is bigger and better than the first film.

Meg Downey - CBR (No Score)

At the end of the day, this is going to be a movie in which your mileage is going to vary a lot depending on how bought in to the Deadpool brand you already are. Stripped of the boring motivation, the awkwardly handled emotional stakes and the obviously curated-by-committee gags Deadpool 2, is a fun movie that’s at its strongest when it really allows the ensemble cast to shine. With any luck - maybe Domino can share some of hers - the stumbles here are only temporary and non-fatal, and future Deadpool outings will play to those strengths instead of resting on the laurels of safety and convention that it wants so desperately to thumb its nose at.

Matt Goldberg - Collider (Score: B-)

Deadpool 2 is a weird movie. On the one hand, it’s the film you expect it to be: raunchy jokes flying at you non-stop paired with gory violence... But on the other hand, buried beneath all the F-bombs and superhero references is a real story about Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) learning to fight for someone other than himself and opening up his heart. It’s the kind of earnest storytelling that the rest of the movie would seem all-too-eager to mock. This gives Deadpool 2 a case of tonal whiplash where you’re laughing hysterically at the devil-may-care jokes only to have to pump the brakes and care about Deadpool’s emotional arc.

Alonso Duralde - The Wrap (No Score)

The best comedy sequels, like “22 Jump Street,” give you the same stuff all over again, only upping the ante so as to justify their existence. And somewhere in the middle lies “Deadpool 2,” which never betrays the promise of the first film; it just doesn’t build on it, choosing instead to replay the greatest hits. If you’re a fan of those hits, of course, then you’ll enjoy this encore, but anyone who wasn’t amused by the first go-round isn’t going to hop on board for this entertaining but by-the-numbers do-over.

Andrew Barker - Variety (No Score)

At its best, the film resembles nothing less than an ultraviolent Looney Toons spinoff, with Reynolds once again going full Bugs Bunny behind either a mask or a mountain of makeup - his extremities all akimbo, his rapid-fire comic patter usually landing on just the right side of obnoxiousness. At its worst, there’s something mustily mid-’90s about its self-congratulatory rudeness, its sensibilities lying somewhere between a Farrelly brothers film and a Mountain Dew commercial... No matter how far “Deadpool 2” thinks it’s pushing boundaries, it makes sure that even when a gag falls flat, the joke is always on you.

Leah Greenblatt - EW (Score: B)

Deadpool 2 might not be exactly the sequel we need, but it feels like the one we deserve. If the first outing was a scrappy, self-referential riff on the noble tropes of superherodom, the second is all that again, squared... There’s a numbing sameness to the casual bloodshed here that makes the viewer almost long for the relative calm of the first film’s lengthy pop culture digressions. It’s in Deadpool’s DNA to channel the wild id of a 12-year-old boy — a very clever one who happens to love boobs, Enya, and blowing stuff up. Which is dizzy fun for a while, like eating Twinkies on a Gravitron. Eventually, though, it just wears you out.

Fionnuala Haligan - Screen Daily (No Score)

Deadpool 2 doesn’t alter the formula. It’s staked, as before, on the potty-mouth one-liners of Deadpool/Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), delivering a snarky rapid-fire adolescent diatribe which is very hit and miss, but pretty good-natured underneath all the outrageousness... While Deadpool 2 delivers the gags and the gun-shot geeky Marvel insider references, the plot could have done with some more finesse. It’s all crammed around the need to [create] a new team of warriors confusingly called X-Force... If Superhero fatigue is ever going to set in (which seems alternatively inevitable and unlikely), it’s going to be here.

Josh Spiegel - /Film (Score: 3/10)

Much like its predecessor, Deadpool 2 is less a movie than a smirky, feature-length meme generator. Though the sequel has a new director and some new cast members, Deadpool 2 is unsurprisingly doubling down on what made the first film such a big hit, including jokes about exactly how big of a hit at the box office it was, as well as plenty of other fourth-wall-breaking moments. Considering that the original was successful, it’s somewhat predictable that this sequel is going to the same well of snark and glib ultra-violence, but this is just as obnoxious as its predecessor, if not more so.

Based on the first wave of reviews, Deadpool 2 does indeed double down on everything that made the first movie a hit; whether or not that's a good thing is where critics disagree. Some critics are even admitting to being won over by the Merc With a Mouth's antics the second time around, after being not so impressed with the first Deadpool. Others drive the point home: if Reynolds' shenanigans as Wade Wilson weren't your cup of tea two years ago, chances are they won't be in the sequel either (especially with the Deadpool-O-Meter being turned up to 11).

So far, the Deadpool sequel's detractors and supporters seem to agree that Reynolds' future X-Force costars Cable (Josh Brolin) and Domino (Zazie Beetz) are standouts, which bodes well for the future of the franchise. The sequel is at 85% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes after 49 reviews tallied, with an average score of 7.1/10. Those numbers are bound to fluctuate as more reviews pour in, but at this point it's pretty close to what the original Deadpool earned (83% Fresh with an average score of 7/10). Between that and Deadpool 2 now tracking to open bigger than its predecessor, the Deadpool brand seems to be in good shape at the moment.

MORE: Ryan Reynolds Tried to Make Deadpool Before Origins

Source: Various [see the links above]

Key Release Dates
  • Deadpool 2 (2018) release date: May 18, 2018
  • X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Feb 14, 2019
  • Gambit (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019
  • New Mutants (2019) release date: Aug 02, 2019
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Deadpool 2 Early Reviews: The Sequel is Bigger, If Not Really Better