Deadpool 2 faced an uphill battle from the start — following up an R-rated comic book movie with a fourth-wall breaking gimmick, yet trying not to seem derivative of the original.

It succeeded.

There wasn’t a ton of new things in this movie but Deadpool 2 was able to play off the jokes in the first movie, adding to some and referencing others, while also adding a lot of fresh material and three of four great new characters that can play roles in the X-Men universe moving forward.

The movie starts out with Deadpool mocking Logan and the death of Wolverine. He then lies on some canisters of gasoline and says he will not let Logan one-up him and he will die too in his movie.

We then see flashbacks where Deadpool is pulling his best Punisher routine and killing all the bad guys. However, Deadpool messes up one time and loses something very important to him, which causes him to kill himself — blowing himself to pieces.

Of course, Deadpool has his regenerative abilities and wakes up in the X-Men mansion where he sees Colossus, who came and saved him.

The relationship between Deadpool and Colossus in the first movie was great and it just gets better in this film with Deadpool letting the big Russian mutant know that he recognizes love when he sees it. Deadpool also throws in some inside jokes concerning the X-Men movies and comics, sees Negasonic Teenage Warhead and her new girlfriend, a mutant named Yukio, and decides to become a member in training of the X-Men.

That doesn’t last long after he kills a man in front of Colossus and the police (for a very good reason by the way) and ends up going to mutant prison called the Ice Box with a kid named Russell who tried to torch the orphanage he lived in — both wearing collars that cancel out their powers.

Believe or not, that was just the setup. Soon, a man from the future arrives named Cable with the mission to kill Russell and Deadpool sets out to save the kid by trying to fight and beat Cable.

The rest of the movie shows the conflict between Deadpool and Cable, the forming of a new superteam called X-Force, and the final confrontation with Russell and a very special surprise mutant villain.

The jokes all hit and worked well. Ryan Reynolds has mastered the character of Deadpool in a way that only Hugh Jackman could with Wolverine. There is no way that someone else can play Deadpool without comparing it to Reynolds’ performance. Ryan Reynolds is Deadpool.

Likewise, Stefan Kapičić is perfect as the voice of Colossus and the scenes with him and Deadpool together just about steal the movie. Josh Brolin is also great as Cable, and his stern personality is just as great of a polar opposite from Deadpool as it is in the comics.

The casting of both Deadpool movies was just spectacular.

With that said, special praise goes out to Zazie Beetz, who took the character of Domino and made her different, but possibly better than even the Marvel Comics version. Beetz was the breakout star in this movie and she has to be back for an X-Force movie in the future.

I won’t say much about X-Force except to mention that their setup and payoff was masterful.

Deadpool 2 could have just tried to keep telling the same jokes as the first movie. However, Ryan Reynolds has made it his mission not to screw up this time and the jokes were fresh, funny and never felt like they were repeating things from the first movie.

It made fun of the comics, the X-Men movies, other films (Goonies and Say Anything is good examples), and pop culture in general. The movie also had a surprising amount of heart, which made it more than just an action comedy.

Deadpool 2 succeeded when it could have failed, and that makes it very similar to the first film in the series. Fox has struggled in their efforts to make Marvel movies, but Deadpool is an unmitigated success.

On a side note, the Deadpool 2 mid-credit scene is posisbly the best of any Fox movie and rivals the best of the Marvel movies. It is perfection.