As a moviegoer, one is eventually faced with the inevitable choice; do you laugh at the fart joke or don’t you? If you wish to be the kind of viewer who concentrates solely on film as an art form, then you probably can’t, at which point it’s best to not even bother with the Deadpool franchise. If, on the other hand, you’re not the least bit perturbed by the lowest common denominator, then come prepared to laugh your derriere off.
That’s not to say Deadpool 2 is nothing but an endless stream of fart jokes. In fact, if memory serves, there aren’t any actual gags about gassiness. Trouser browning, groin punching, and tons of penis related material, absolutely, but no actual fart jokes. Still, you get the idea. Any film where defeating one of the villains involves exposing his bare bottom and shoving something up it isn’t one that takes the high ground.
Now, let’s give Deadpool his due. The first movie actually had a few touching moments involving our hero’s undying devotion to his wife. Even amongst all the chaos and blue humor, this nod to normality (which always tends to reassert itself in these types of movies no matter how hard they try to be shocking) gave the first film an unexpected heart. That trend continues in Deadpool 2, though this time around the sentimentality is centered on the notion of the necessity of family.
It begins with an unexpected tragedy which causes Deadpool to seek solace with the X-Men. Very reluctantly, the world’s premier mutant super-group agrees take the merc with a mouth on as a trainee under the condition that he not kill anyone ever again. Naturally, Deadpool abides by this restriction for all of ten minutes into his first mission, at which point he opens fire in an attempt to stop a portly foul-mouthed young mutant with the regrettable name of Firefist from being arrested.
Disowned, depowered, and detained, Deadpool and Firefist become easy targets for Cable, a soldier from the future who has traveled back in time to execute Firefist before the boy can go full supervillain. Thanks to Deadpool’s intervention, Cable’s first attempt fails spectacularly. Unfortunately, the whole sorry episode convinces Firefist to team up with an unexpected, but much welcome classic X-Men villain. In a last ditch effort to save Firefist from a life of crime and/or death by Cable, Deadpool assembles his own team, X-Force, comprised of second-rate losers such as Domino, Shatterstar, and The Vanisher. Imagine their surprise when Cable himself shows up and wants to join.
Deadpool 2 is comic book simple and, thankfully, it never pretends to be anything else. The extra bloody action is appropriately unrealistic and over the top, the character development is as thin as the paper these heroes originally appeared on, and the jokes… well, it’s a Deadpool movie, isn’t it? This a film which features the most cringe inducing Basic Instinct parody ever. There’s nothing here that comes anywhere close to being highbrow. But that’s fine, especially if you’re the type of moviegoer who has decided that, yes, you actually can laugh at the fart joke.
Ah, but what if you’re a Christian moviegoer? Then the question becomes SHOULD you laugh at the fart joke? Simply falling back on WWJD isn’t really much help. The Bible doesn’t tell us anything about what Jesus found humorous for the simple fact that it doesn’t matter. The Bible relates only what we need to know for our salvation, and whether or not Jesus would have guffawed over the campfire scene in Blazing Saddles is of little consequence when it comes to saving our souls.
That leaves the Church to help out, and as usual, she puts most of the burden of the decision right on us as individuals. As we’ve mentioned often before, Pope Pius XII wrote in his encyclical Miranda Prorsus that those involved in the motion picture industry are “forbidden in conscience to present motion pictures that are contrary to faith and sound morals.” But when Hollywood lets us down and does produce such a movie (imagine that), then we as Christians shouldn’t go see it.
So, is Deadpool 2 contrary to faith and sound morals? Well, if you take Deadpool as the voice of moral authority in the film, then yes, no question. However, the movie itself never does that. The film is full of characters who continuously point out that (1) Deadpool is insane and (2) nobody in their right mind would, or should, do or say some of the things he does, especially if they want to get into Heaven (Spoilers: that’s actually a plot point). In its own way, the film really does have a moral center. It just also has the sense of humor of a bunch of thirteen year boys hanging out and telling each other to pull their fingers. If you find that kind of thing funny (and God help me, sometimes I do), then Deadpool 2 just might be for you.