Lame of Reference: Deadpool 2

Pop culture references can be fun, and can even generate a few laughs here and there, but how many people would pay $18 to watch a two-hour long episode of "Family Guy" on an IMAX screen?

In “Deadpool 2”, our favorite, “merc with a mouth,” (Ryan Reynolds) is once again having a rough go of it.  The film starts with a scene in which he attempts suicide, and the entire first act involves him breaking the 4th wall in an attempt to explain why.  From there, he and his B-squad of X-Men characters (including a fun one named “Domino” whose superpower is good luck) go on an hour and a half long “reference spewing” adventure to save a kid named Rusty (Julian Dennison of “Hunt for the Wilderpeople”).  This puts them in the path of Cable (Josh Brolin), a soldier from the future who is hell-bent on killing the boy, and you can probably guess why.

This movie is okay, and I probably liked it a lot more than I should have.  It has just enough (barely) there as far as plot and character development are concerned to keep from being offensive (Deadpool has a decent arc, as does Cable).  There are also quite a few genuinely funny moments, the best ones coming when the film isn't dependent upon beating you over the head with the pop culture references mentioned above (remember the baby hand from the original? it’s outdone here).  The problem is that when you have a decent laugh 10 to 15 times over the course of a 2-hour long film, and that film is trying to make you laugh every 2 or 3 minutes, it isn’t quite awe-inspiring.  By my calculations that would be, at best, a 20% joke (are references to pop culture really jokes?) hit rate.

I’d imagine fans of the first will be fine with this sequel, and I suppose I’d recommend it to the average moviegoer.  I just wish it had as many real character moments as the first one did.  At this rate “Deadpool 3” is bound to be just a bunch of sketch comedy scenes strung together like an episode of “Saturday Night Live” than a real film with a cohesive narrative.  Then again, maybe the story doesn’t matter in these movies.  After all, does anyone care about the character or plot details when they watch an episode of “Family Guy”?

Grade: C