Deadpool 2

     Superhero Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds: The Hitman’s Bodyguard) is a regenerating mercenary who specializes in eliminating the worst of the worst: drug dealers, human traffickers and gang leaders. It’s a bloody business, but he’s having fun doing it. 

      The party stops when Wade encounters Cable (Josh Brolin: Avengers: Infinity War), a time-traveling soldier back from the future to kill 14-year-old Russell (Julian Dennison: Chronesthesia) because the world will be a better place without a kid abandoned and abused in a mutant orphanage run by a sadistic Bible-quoting headmaster who tortures children for their genetic differences. Wade isn’t so sure killing a kid is a superhero move. 

       Faced with a kid who may be beyond help and Cable’s nearly unstoppable determination, Wade assembles a team of super-powered people — plus one normal who saw the ad and signed up.

      Can Wade and his X-Force prevail?

      Vulgar, violent and wholly inappropriate for, well, anyone, Deadpool 2 is nonetheless great fun. Director David Leitch (Atomic Blonde) is a former stunt man who knows how to stage and shoot thrilling action scenes. He keeps the tone light and the fight scenes bloody, which is a perfect balance for a film that gleefully violates the basic rules of filmmaking and decency. 

      The real reason this film works is Reynolds. Seemingly born to play a smart-alecky mercenary who rattles off pop culture jokes, Reynolds is charming in all his profane glory. He manages to make murder for hire rather delightful. He gives Wade emotional depth paired with gonzo physical humor. Anytime the movie takes a writing shortcut or leans on cliché, Wade is there to call it out and remind the audience it’s just a movie.

      A host of fantastic supporting characters help Reynolds keep the tone light and breezy. The best is Domino (Zazie Beetz: Atlanta), a mercenary who has the amazing super power of luck. She can, without ill effect, tumble out of planes, take on armed men and rush into burning buildings. She also seems as attuned as Wade to the absurdity of the film they’re making. Brolin, on the other hand, is surprisingly flat as Cable. 

       Among other flaws, some elements rehash the first film, and a few of the scenes drag. Still, Leitch and Reynolds keep a pace too swift to complain for long. There’s always a new fight or joke just around the corner. 

        This is not a Marvel movie for young children, and you might think twice about taking your parents, though this reviewer’s mother loved it. There is orgiastic violence, disturbing male genitalia and enough foul-mouthed quips to fill a swear jar. For fans of the first Deadpool film or of wisecracking violence in your movies, this flick is well worth the ticket. 

Good Action-Comedy • R • 119 mins.

~~~ New this Week ~~~

Solo: A Star Wars Story

      Long ago in a galaxy far far away … Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) was a kid growing up under the thumb of an evil mob boss. Forced to steal and beg for food, Han dreamed of fleeing his planet with his girlfriend Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) and becoming a great pilot. 

      When Han does get free, he ends up a grunt in the Imperial Army, dreaming of the day he’ll be able to return to Qi’ra. To earn enough money for her rescue, he falls in with thieves who need one big score to get out of their life of crime.

       Will Han reunite with the love of his life? Or will he live a life of crime?

       We all know that the real love of Han’s life was Chewbacca. So it’s a good thing the Wookie is introduced fairly quickly in this film. With production problems, a director switcheroo and scripting woes, Solo: A Star Wars Story carries a lot of baggage.

       The good news is that new director Ron Howard has cobbled together a watchable popcorn flick, perfect for summer. Sure, there are plot and acting problems. Clarke, in particular, is poorly cast. But overall, following the origins of Han, Chewbacca and Lando (Donald Glover) is a breezy adventure through the galaxy. 

Good Action Adventure • PG-13 • 135 mins.