Deadpool 2 ★★½

The first thing to say about this film for anyone like me that found the first one almost too obnoxious to stand is that while this one does still dabble plentifully in Ryan Reynolds nonstop Chandler Binging, and the wink to the camera referential humour, it feels at least to me to be less reliant on that stuff than its predecessor, and most of what there is comes early on (or in the end credits).

Some of the movies funniest moments (‘for The Human Centipede it was when those people signed onto that movie’) are still dabbling in that kind of terrain, but now an established cinematic act in his own right, this second Deadpool movie is far more able to exist in its own space, and plenty of its comic highlights are reliant less upon your having a wider knowledge of pop culture (assembling the team, the bit with the chapstick, etc.) The other thing to note is how in amidst all of the humour and insane, gory, action mayhem they manage to craft a pretty well put together dramatic story with genuine emotional heft. Most of the scenes still can’t make it to the end without a joke being cracked, but before they get there they do manage to execute some surprisingly effective stuff.

Continuing comic book cinemas recent mining of New Zealand cinema, Julian Dennison, star of Taika Waititi’s Hunt for the Wilderpeople, proves a suitably raging, lost emotional centre, with Ryan Reynolds, and Josh Brolin both riffing successfully off their established cinematic personas. The stars of Donald Glover’s Atlanta continue to transition to the big screen blockbuster as Zazie Beetz props the second half of the movie up with so much easy starry charm. The likes of Rob Delaney and Shioli Kutsuna impress in small but vivid roles, and there’s a host of cameos that make an impression too, with Matt Damon and Alan Tudyk proving particularly good.

The strength of the cast playing off one another is certainly one the films greatest qualities, the action sequences stay coherent, the soundtrack as wonderfully off kilter as you’d expect. Essentially, if you liked the first one you’ll be highly likely to appreciate this one too. it blends the same outright crassness with a genuine level of sincerity most effectively and proves a step up for me in just about every way.