MOVIE BUFF-ET: Action hinders the still hilarious ‘Deadpool 2’

20th Century Fox

O.K., “Deadpool 2” is likely everything you wanted in a sequel to the original film and more, but it is also a bit less.

The film is a filthy, funny, fourth-wall breaking attack on your senses just like the first time, but the sequel is not quite as inventive, and the narrative fails to unspool as smoothly as the original that caught everyone by surprise with its assault on the 2016 box office.

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While Ryan Reynolds gives another hilarious performance as the Merc with a Mouth, the bombardment of jokes, one-liners, and knowing non sequiturs fail to hit as hard or as on target as they did in the original, which was directed by Tim Miller.

David Leitch (“John Wick”) directs this time out, and with his background in stunt coordination, the action is ramped up, and in and of themselves the set pieces and mayhem are thrilling. However, they kind of get in the way of the character development and even some of the jokes, which fail to land as well as they did in the original movie.

The secret to the original film’s success was that it had heart and soul along with the jokes and action. I missed some of that in “Deadpool 2” which introduces us to a gaggle of fun characters, who unfortunately we don’t get to know as well as we would like because of too much action for the sake of action.

For some viewers, that will be a plus, but it’s a shame to introduce characters like Cable (Josh Brolin) and Domino (Zazie Beetz) but not get to know them except for their shallowest “action figures” stereotypes.
Brolin and Beetz are charismatic and deadly fun in their roles, but I wanted to know more about who they were.

With that said, the movie is still a thrill ride that had me laughing throughout. The movie may not be as inventive or as substantial the original, but it was still a whole lot of fun. It’s hard to believe there will be a much funnier comedy out this summer.

Not spoiling anything, but there are a series of additional scenes following the start of the credits that simply must not be missed. They aren’t just add-ons but actually the uproariously funny conclusion of the movie.

In a true meta sense, one of those scenes is somewhat touching when considering the death of Margot Kidder, who played Lois Lane in “Superman: The Movie” and three other films. Those who remember the conclusion of the 1978 classic will instantly get the connection.

(R) 2 hrs.
Grade: B

The Classic Corner

The Grapes of Wrath

Based on John Steinbeck’s classic novel, “The Grapes of Wrath” is a stunningly strong movie both the depths of humanity both good and evil, and the courage it took to survive during one of the most desperate times in the United State’s history.

The 1940 film, directed by John Ford, tells the story of the Joad family, who lose their Oklahoma farm during the Great Depression and then decide to make their way to California on Route 66 to work as migrant farmers.

The struggle was real, and the film is earnest and heartbreaking portrayal of that period. The movie solidified Henry Fonda as a star with his role as Tom, an ex-con who is hoping to make good for himself and his family with a new start out West. Joad’s experiences inspires him to become what we might call today a social justice warrior.

Though the film is stark and follows’ Steinbeck’s Nobel Prize winning work closely through the first half, the film’s story deviates from the source in the second half, and concludes a bit more optimistically.

The climax of the film includes two inspiring monologues one by Fonda and another by Jane Darwell as Ma Joad that alone make the film worth watching.

Darwell won an Academy Award for her work, as did Ford for his direction. Fonda was nominated for Best Actor, but his good friend and former roommate James Stewart took home the Oscar for his role in “The Philadelphia Story.”

Turner Classic Movies will air “The Grapes of Wrath” Monday at 7 p.m. CT.