“Deadpool” was gleefully naughty in the way that it shook up the comic-book-movie genre in 2016, raising the violence to a hard-core level and featuring a smart-mouthed, smut-mouthed hero.
It raised the bar for these movies — or lowered it, depending on how much decorum you demand of your superheroes — and we are better for it, thanks in large part to Ryan Reynolds being a perfect match of talent for the material.
“Deadpool 2” is not a perfect film, but it’s almost a perfect follow-up to such irreverence: It’s one of the funniest movies you’ll see this year, visually spectacular and consistently entertaining.
For pure summer fun, this is a fizzy-mixed-drink-on-the-patio kind of movie compared to the solemn nature of “Avengers: Infinity War.”
Deadpool was this era’s first R-rated hero based on a Marvel Comics character, featuring an outrageous Reynolds playing Wade Wilson, an unconventional anti-hero “bad boy” of the Marvel lineup.
He was a former Special Forces soldier with a nonstop mouth who, through unusual circumstances, was forced to undergo “mutant experimentation” a la the “X-Men” world.
There was the seeking of revenge against those who wronged him, saving the woman he loves and a giant battle in the end, but many of the other standard-movie rules were tossed out the window.
That’s the new standard in “Deadpool 2” from the very beginning, with tragedy taking away the only thing this ego-driven man has ever loved more than himself.
These are movies that aren’t afraid to shake things up, making what happens as unpredictable as what sex-tinged profanity will next come from Wade’s mouth.
Or whose head will go flying across a room, sliced off by Deadpool’s blade.
This is in-your-face entertainment.
It can’t match the innovative feel of the first film, and there’s not the depth of plotting here, but rather a barrage of entertainment blasts.
There are so many pop-culture references in the humor that the movie is like a cinematic meme generator, and there are so many ’80s soundtrack ballads amid the violence to keep you off-balance that you will eventually surrender to the silliness.
This is the type of explosive superhero movie that makes songs by Air Supply and Cher seem like perfect choices.
How many times did I laugh out loud? I lost count early on.
At its core, the story becomes about family in its many forms, as Wade seeks some kind of connection amid his loss and amid the X-Men team and an angry young mutant who needs guidance.
Guidance from Wade seems dangerous, but that unpredictability in storytelling is part of what makes the film so enjoyable.
That and battling a time-traveling mutant named Cable (Josh Brolin) who shows up seeking his own vengeance and other surprise appearances, from cameos to featured players, that will delight fans.
Returning writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick repeat their success by not repeating themselves. This is no cookie-cutter superhero film.
This film is again created in such a way that you don’t have to be a reader of the comics to enjoy it, but those who are should appreciate Deadpool’s introduction of the “X-Force” team of heroes.
The team’s initial appearance in the movie makes for one of the most hilarious and disgusting things you will see on film this year.
There is much to love in the X-Force character of Domino and in the killer portrayal by Zazie Beetz (of FX’s “Atlanta”) of this lucky lady and in the return of the couple of low-level X-Men who show up (again, as Deadpool deadpans, as if “the studio couldn’t afford to pay more X-Men”).
They are again perfectly stone-faced foils for Deadpool’s joker style, whether that be obscene, inappropriate gestures or self-deprecating jokes.
That Wade/Deadpool can so easily laugh at himself is one of the biggest reasons for the success of a high-concept creation like “Deadpool 2” and this character.
From the star to all those supporting players to the audience, we are all in on the joke, and that is the epitome of feel-good summer fun.