As the Jackass of superheroes, Deadpool 2 (costarring Vancouver) barrels through its flaws with manic energy

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      Starring Ryan Reynolds. Rated 18A.

      A more fitting nickname for the big-screen version of Deadpool would be the Merc with the Mania. It’s not just the character himself, but the film series as a whole. While it entertains by upending the superhero genre with its erratic energy, there’s also something unstable and patchy about the whole endeavour.

      But that also goes with the territory—Deadpool is all about taking insane risks and this sequel overcomes its flubs by simply bulldozing through them with hyperactive pacing.

      While the previous film's bracing blast of freshness may be missing, there is an overall honing and ramping up of elements introduced in the first entry. What this installation also benefits from is being freed from the constraints of the previous origin-story premise.

      In this round, our chatterbox antihero is recruited by the X-Men to contend with an emotionally distraught, young mutant named Russell Collins, a.k.a. Firefist (Julian Dennison). The initially misunderstood, volatile lad is rebelling against abuse at an orphanage, which is actually a covert anti-mutant facility. However, he’s setting off upon a dark path, one that the part-bionic soldier Cable (Josh Brolin), from a future timeline, has travelled back in time to stop.

      While the underlying theme about revenge offers Deadpool an opportunity to offset his juvenile antics by demonstrating he has ethical values and a heart, simultaneously, it also undercuts his subversive nature with a conventional morality tale. But the screen is so crammed with distractions will anyone really notice?

      In fact, the meta-humour and pop-cultural references are so densely packed in that many jokes either zing past audiences or fall flat. Yet the sheer volume of them all keeps the screwball comedic rhythm hurtling forward and propelling the film's smartass, foul-mouthed appeal to the forefront.

      Like the dialogue, the cast is similarly cluttered with an excess of characters. Granted, many are introduced solely for comedic purposes, but others are also sidelined. For instance, the minimal screentime given to Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) and her girlfriend Yukio (Shioli Kutsuna) should have been allocated instead to further developing the cool Domino (Zazie Beetz) and her intriguing powers of probability.

      Reynolds remains among the best-suited (literally and figuratively) castings in the X-Men films, up there with Hugh Jackman for Wolverine and Patrick Stewart for Professor X. This film series’ CG interpretation of Colossus (voiced again by Stefan Kapicic) still hasn’t overcome its clunky artifice, and some of the other visual effects are surprisingly unconvincing.

      However, a character which does get a surprising amount of screentime is Vancouver, including many recognizable locations like the Lions Gate Bridge, the Granville Bridge, and even a bird’s eye view of Stanley Park.  

      This all said, while Deadpool has managed to stick out as the Jackass of the superhero pack, it does make one wonder: when you're simultaneously raising and lowering the bar in the realm of unpredictability, where do things go from here? 

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