With the release of Deadpool 2 finally upon us, the reviews are in. The movie is the sequel to 2016’s irreverent X-Men spin-off, which surprised many by not only becoming the highest grossing R-rated movie of all time, but also the most successful movie in Fox’s X-Men franchise. So what do the critics think of the follow-up?
For the most part, reviews are positive. Deadpool 2 currently has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 82%, which is slightly worse than the first movie’s 83% score. In terms of other films in the X-Men series, it sits behind the highly acclaimed Logan (93%), but way ahead of 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse (48%).
Most critics agreed that, for better or worse, the new movie hasn’t attempted to change the originals’ winning combination of irreverent humor and gory, over-the-top violence. The Deadpool 2 review from GameSpot’s own Michael Rougeau said the film “mostly works for all the same reasons that the original did. Reynolds carries the movie on his back–although this time around he should have shared the load a little more evenly with some of his talented co-stars. But Reynolds’ Wade Wilson is just as charming as ever, in his own twisted way, and Deadpool 2 delivers the laughs, action, and gruesome maimings that fans want.”
Uproxx’s Vince Mancini stated that the movie’s willingness to abandon many of cliches of modern superhero movies was extremely refreshing. “It may not be as naughty as it thinks it is, or subversive in any real sense, but it does jettison many unwelcome now-standard attributes of superhero films that became convention almost without us even noticing,” he said. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone agreed, describing the movie as a “a grab-bag of humor, sorrow, sensation and silliness” that “throws everything it has at you until you throw your arms up in happy surrender.”
There was praise for the cast too, in particular Zazie Beetz as Domino and 15-year-old Julian Dennison, who plays a young mutant called Russell. Bruce Demara from the Toronto Star said Dennison delivers “a very strong performance here, [which is] raging, pain-filled, and believable,” while Scott Mendelson of Forbes described Beetz’s performance as “delightfully droll.”
Nevertheless, not everyone loved the movie, and some critics felt the movie’s constant irreverence actually made for lazy filmmaking. “It’s also a cheap way of asking us to let the production off the hook,” argued the Village Voice’s Alan Scherstuhl. “I can understand why fans might laugh, but I’m obliged to ask: Wouldn’t less lazy writing without a self-exonerating joke prove more satisfying?”
Similarly, Jen Yamoto of the LA Times argued that there was “a tedium to the sort of repetition that merely rehashes and recycles the same wink-wink barbs that worked the first time around–but also a relatable, even pitiable humanity in the film’s desperation to be liked.”
Deadpool 2 is in theaters from May 18.