For Deadpool 2 to approach coherence, you must have seen Deadpool, Logan, a couple of X-Men, and maintain a working knowledge of the corporate and contractual absurdities that make Deadpool's Marvel Universe distinct from the X-Men's and both distinct from the Avengers'. If you've ever feared, watching the superhero movies, that there might be a test later, I have to warn you: This is it. This sequel finds a studio and its star committing to hyper-violent self-referential comic-book buffoonery. They've crafted both an extravagant franchise blockbuster and its own Mad Magazine parody. Almost everything you either loved or gritted at in the original is here expanded, refined, sometimes even invigorated. Its giddier in its mayhem, more gratuitous in its splatter, more confident in its mixing comedy and superhero pathos. The fights are more elaborate but somehow less engaging, with much of the chump-killing too fast to follow, despite John Wick's David Leitch serving as director. The jokes, though, are better and the relationships more interesting.
The difference between Deadpool's parody of itself and what Mel Brooks or Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker might have done is that, for all its (often funny!) irreverence, Deadpool never dares assail the high seriousness of superhero movies. That said, it's morally incoherent. After some inspired nonsense (surprise cameos; a strong team-building sequence; an ace comic set piece involving a Fast & Furious-style heist plan), Deadpool and Josh Brolin's Cable, attempting to prevent a teen boy from killing, slaughter dude after dude themselves. They're joined by winning newbie Domino (Atlanta's Zazie Beetz). Here's death to prevent death, death as punchline and dance sequence, death without consequence even as the script insists nothing could matter more.