Since tickets are going on sale today, 20th Century Fox has released a third and presumably final Deadpool 2 trailer. Yes, the title is indeed Deadpool 2. Of note, the film apparently clocks in at a reasonable 111 minutes, so rumors about a 135-minute and allegedly plotless sequel were either never true or fixed after a test screening or two. Again, if the final film works, none of this melodrama matters in the slightest. And if this third trailer is any indication, this seems to be a pretty solid comic book sequel.
To my pleasant surprise, I laughed out loud at several of the jokes, including a cheap but amusing dig at the DC Universe and the conversation about whether luck is a superpower (The Flash says “Yes!”). The film seems, on the surface, succeeding at giving us bigger action spectacle and grander villains (like Josh Brolin’s Cable) without sacrificing the self-aware meta-commentary that made the first film so popular. It’s no secret that I felt the first Deadpool got dragged down by its origin story tropes, so the hope is that this one goes “full Deadpool.”
Yes, T.J. Miller is still around, and if he is the glorified Q of this universe then doing anything about his recent (alleged) transgressions may prove challenging. I suppose they could take advantage of the film’s fourth-wall shenanigans and put a floating blue dot or an animated paper bag over his face. But, otherwise, I will again reiterate that the whole “swap out Kevin Spacey for Christopher Plummer” thing was a specific decision made by a specific filmmaker with a specific goal.
Anyway, Fox is selling this thing with all the confidence of a movie that presumably works. I wish they hadn’t eventually “devolved” into releasing conventional trailers filled with plot beats and jokes, but that’s the business. I love the first two unconventional trailers, but I’m also aware that had Fox continued that path then there’d probably be a bunch of trade posts accusing Fox of hiding a seemingly disastrous movie.
For example, yesterday’s Fallen Kingdom trailer was a little too spoilery for my tastes, but Universal/Comcast Corp. couldn’t have gotten away with hiding the second half when so much of the chatter revolved around “Is this all there is?” concerning the first trailer. I will argue that today’s 24-hour news cycle makes it harder for studios to play coy even with guaranteed hits. I mean I’m five days away from seeing Avengers: Infinity War and the filmmakers still can’t seem to shut up in terms of dropping coy hints and discussing the ramifications of allegedly unspoiled material.
And all to respect to Josh Brolin, but don’t tell people that you’re signed up for more movies as Cable until Deadpool 2 actually opens. But I digress. This is a winning trailer for what should be one of the bigger movies of the summer. Once again, the core question is whether or not Walt Disney wants this Fox-distributed flick to break out. There will be questions as to whether the Disney/Fox deal constitutes a monopoly and, at least on the theatrical side, having a summer dominated by Disney flicks and Fox’s Deadpool 2 isn’t going to help matters.
In the longterm, I would argue that Disney is probably (under their breath) rooting for Universal’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Paramount/Viacom Inc.’s Mission: Impossible Fallout and Sony’s Hotel Transylvania 3 to break big. And Deadpool 2 swings either way. If it bombs, then it’ll be that much easier to wipe the slate clean and reboot the X-Men franchise within the MCU. If it hits big, well, then I guess Ryan Reynolds’ Merc with the Mouth may be the last man standing. I’m sure he’ll mention it when the time comes.
Deadpool 2, directed by David Leitch and starring Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, T.J. Miller, Brianna Hildebrand, Jack Kesy and Stefan Kapičić, opens May 18, 2018. As always, we’ll see.