‘Deadpool 2’ director thrilled movie resonates with audiences

‘Deadpool 2’ director thrilled movie resonates with audiences
Fox
Ryan Reynolds and director David Leitch on the set of "Deadpool 2"

As the film’s audience and the box office numbers can attest, there’s ample room in the movie marketplace for R-rated superhero adventures like director David Leitch’s “Deadpool 2,” an outrageously entertaining sequel to the 2016 worldwide blockbuster “Deadpool.”

The great thing is, Leitch, as well as star Ryan Reynolds — who also co-wrote the sequel with the original film’s scribes Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick — have proven there’s much more to the film than Deadpool/Wade Wilson’s humor that made the original such a blast. The four creatives realized there was a lot of room for the narrative to grow with “Deadpool 2,” which makes the film not only one of the best of the year so far, but arguably better than the brilliant film from two years ago.

One of reasons for that, Leitch believes, is apart from the irreverent and vengeful nature of the title character, Deadpool/Wade is a real person who feels pain like the rest of us.

“There’s something about the blue humor and subversive nature of ‘Deadpool’ that, it has to be rated R and it has to be naughty, but it doesn’t mean that it can’t have a heart — a beating heart — and a soul and a moral message,” Leitch said in a phone conversation Wednesday from Los Angeles. “I think that’s what makes it unique. It’s something that you don’t find in anything else, and that’s what makes it such a breath of fresh air.”

Now playing in theaters nationwide , “Deadpool 2” finds the mutant affectionately known as the “Merc with a Mouth” on a mission to save a young and rebellious mutant. Russell (Julian Dennison) must be saved from the crosshairs of Nathan Summers/Cable (Josh Brolin), a time-traveling cyborg who comes back from the future to eliminate him. Deadpool isn’t about to go it against Cable alone, though, recruiting fellow mutants like Domino (Zazie Beetz) and a handful of others to form the X-Force.

Despite the enormous success of the first “Deadpool” film, it became immediately clear from the very beginning that Leitch, Reynolds and company weren’t going to rest on their laurels and coast on the waves for the sequel. The opening scenes show, as Deadpool suffers an unspeakable tragedy, that the film was willing to not only break the mold of its predecessor, but it was going to have to obliterate it to move the story forward.

“It wasn’t a matter of ‘Can we go there?’ We had to go there,” Leitch said. “We wanted to access the character’s humanity and keep the stakes insular and about Deadpool. It wasn’t about global stakes and world-ending consequences. He’s a relatable, flawed human like all of us. There’s a wish-fulfillment part that of him when he says all the raunchy stuff that we wish we could say and there’s the bumbling nature about his political correctness, but at the end of the day, his heart is huge. If you play into that emotion and people love him, they’ll go on the journey with him and all his wisecracks and irreverence. Without that, he’s just a grating a–hole.”

Even though the next film for Deadpool/Wade is “X-Force,” fans will be excited to know that there’s more of “Deadpool 2” on the way, either in the form of an extended theatrical cut or in all likelihood, as part of the home video release of the film. Leitch said there’s an additional 12 minutes of the film fans will see, which is a significant amount of footage that will be interspersed throughout the original cut.

“In terms of the additional footage, I feel the movie speaks to you in postproduction and the movie that we presented theatrically is the best version of the film. I really do believe that,” Leitch said. “There’s a pace to making a film and a pace to the storytelling and you want the audience to be constantly falling forward, and getting their dose of drama and narrative and subverting it with a laugh. You find a rhythm and with this movie we did and I’m really proud of it.”

However, when the success of movie allows a director the opportunity to add back in footage they toiled so hard to get in the first place, it hard not to go for it.

“As a filmmaker, there’s a cathartic process where you have all these things you worked so hard to get during production that you have to let go,” said Leitch, who is currently in pre-production on his next film, the “Fast and the Furious” spinoff “Hobbs and Shaw.” “You feel like, ‘Man, we shot 15 hours that day! We’re going to cut that scene? We can’t cut that scene!’ and then you have to cut it for the scene for the betterment of the movie and that’s part of the process.”

Still, Leitch said, it will be fun to show the additional footage for fans who would love to have more material. And while Leitch realizes it’s a tricky proposition to add footage back into a film, he assures fans that it won’t alter the story that fans are loving now.

“I don’t think it changes the narrative, but it changes the flow of the film maybe a little bit,” Leitch said. “If you’re already a fan of the theatrical cut, you’re going to love this one. There are some more jokes, there are a couple additional scenes and a little more action, but it’s not exhaustive in any way. It’s actually in the spirit of everything else that’s going on. There were just some jokes that we loved as a creative team that we wanted to share with audiences as we move forward.”