While anybody with their finger to the pulse of modern pop culture could have told you that Deadpool was going to be a hit at the box office (it was an adaptation of a popular superhero with connections to the X-Men films and starring a likeable, A-list actor), nobody could have predicted just how good the movie was. Seriously, the first Deadpool was an absolute revelation the year that it was released, and everybody on its production made sure that it was the very best version of itself that it could possibly be.
It was the first modern superhero blockbuster to prove that the R rating was a viable option for the right franchise. No, it wasn’t the first movie to do this. Yes, movies like Blade, Spawn, Darkman, Watchmen, Kick-Ass, The Crow and multiple iterations of The Punisher not only exist, but typically did quite well for themselves commercially, often spawning a nauseating number of sequels. Deadpool, however, was the first in the post-Avengers world that we now find ourselves in and perhaps the most successful movie of its stripe to ever come out.
It was also the first superhero movie to really branch out from the kinds of movies that we’d simply assumed superhero movies had to be: the kind of light-hearted action-comedies that had become the industry standard following the success of Iron Man and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Rather, it was a raunchy, gross-out comedy whose action scenes typically devolved into gags instead of fist-pounding power fantasies. In the few short years that it’s existed, it has already served as the proof of concept for other movies of its stripe (namely Logan, a hard-R, neo-Western deconstruction of the entire superhero genre generally and the X-films specifically).
We are currently only a few short months away from the release of its highly anticipated sequel. The same cast and crew is back, as well as a few exciting additions that serve to round out the solid core cast presented originally. The movie has moved up from a relatively soft release date in February to a summertime spotlight that finally puts the movie in the big leagues. And the movie is evidently testing better with preview audiences that even the original movie did two years ago.
I can’t say what the future of this franchise will bring, but everything about it has been reassuring that the X-Men side-series isn’t just a one-trick pony. From the script to its marketing, the writing has been sharp, the direction cutting and the acting immaculate. Yes, there was the unfortunate departure of the first film’s director and TJ Miller’s subsequent sex scandal has cast the whole production in a rather unfortunate light by proxy, but every other thing has line up perfectly for this sequel, and that more than balances its production faults.
The only real flaw with the first movie was that it wasn’t given a budget that fully covered what it was trying to accomplish. That’s why, for instance, the movie feels oddly empty despite being such a heavy-marketed blockbuster: why there are so few X-Men in the mansion scenes (a fact that Deadpool himself comments on), why the action scenes are so low-key and why Colossus looks like something the early 2000s would have animated. If Fox so much as shored up those numbers and keep everything else the same, it’s no wonder why test audiences are in such high spirits.