One of Deadpool 2’s best meta-jokes involves the capital-P Putting Together A Team portion of the movie.
It’s pretty thorough; there’s a jumpy montage of would-be team members interviewing for the job; the rousing pre-airdrop pep talk; and finally the grisly deaths of just about every character you’re introduced to, since none of them matter much to the franchise anyway. According to his Marvel Universe Wiki entry, Shatterstar—one of these team members, played briefly by Lewis Tan—“possesses superhuman abilities relating to the absorption of sonic and vibrational energy, as well as an intuitive learning capability, but these claims can not be substantiated at this time.” That is quite the collection of powers to have to explain on-screen, or even say aloud, to another person. “Basically I can do everything you do, but better,” Shatterstar says in the film, sparing you. Domino—played by Zazie Beetz, whom you may know as Van from Atlanta—can “subliminally and psionically initiate random telekinetic acts that affect probability in her favor.” She also gives you the CliffsNotes. Or Note. What’s her superpower? “I’m lucky.”
“Deadpool does not exist without what came before it, but by existing in the first place it reveals what a massive waste of time this all is,” wrote Sean Fennessey in his review, wherein he also describes Deadpool 2 as a movie that “sprays itself all over the place.” Both statements are a little harsh, as the truest ones tend to be. There are crucial differences, for instance, between Deadpool and a more shameless parody like Meet the Spartans—chief among them that Deadpool is great and not the abject worst—but both are full to bursting with quips that don’t make sense without their grim, sweaty, self-serious predecessors. There are limited directions you can go with a sequel after “full to bursting,” so naturally Deadpool 2 is just Deadpool, But MOAR. The pop-culture nods, the straight-to-camera looks, the jabs at other Marvel properties, and the references to the perfect curvature of Colossus’s ass move along at a much faster clip. Perhaps too fast. Or perhaps with better timing than the original, depending upon who you’re talking to.
Domino is slightly off that chaotic pace, and is played by Beetz (pronounced “Bates,” you’ll be shocked to learn) with the same ease and charm and low tolerance for your shit that she brings to Van on Atlanta. In fact, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that if Mass Appeal did an entry in its SUPER series featuring Van, Domino is the character she’d imagine for herself. She’s a hero whose power to materialize favorable outcomes for herself is limited only by her line of sight, from finding a big inflatable panda to land on, to having one of the henchmen she’s fighting accidentally decapitate himself. It’s like gaiety, but weaponized. “I think black women are often depicted specifically in terms of the struggle, and never having the privilege of feeling light at heart and feeling that release,” Beetz said in a recent interview. “And that’s a pretty cool thing to see on a screen.”
At one point in Deadpool 2, there’s a Say Anything bit where Deadpool stands contrite beneath yonder window, trying his best to get Colossus to come out of the X-Mansion and stop being such a dork. Or a wuss. Whichever. Both. In any case he’s blowing it, but Beetz, resting on the sill of a car window, reassures him, softly: “You’re doing greeeeattt.” The aside is funny because he is categorically not doing great, and also great because it’s on the more encouraging side of deeply cutting. There are some who would say Domino is the best thing about Deadpool 2, despite her being severely underutilized in it—I can’t recall how much screen time she got, but I’m sure that it wasn’t nearly enough. To that end, what everyone* on the internet seems to be in agreement on—which is probably the closest we’ll ever get to world peace—is that Domino needs the full solo-title backstory treatment.
(*Of course “everyone” here excludes those bellyaching about Domino appearing in the film as a black woman with vitiligo and an Afro instead of the chalk-white skin and straight hair they saw in the comics and in cartoons. Y’all only get half a bar: [long, sustained fart noise.])
A Domino movie would be truly awesome, which becomes clear the first time you see her fight, which is incidentally the first time you see her jump off of an overpass and into the latch door of a moving armored truck, which she then steers with no hands. Even better, Zazie Beetz has a three-picture deal with Fox to play the character, and at the very least seems interested in developing it. “[Domino] kind of doesn’t really care about anything at all, because she doesn’t have to,” Beetz said in a different recent interview. How might that apathy affect her? Could boredom make for an interesting conflict? What would happen if probability manipulation met reality manipulation, and—this is just a thought, I’m just asking—do you think Domino could take Thanos? I’d like some of these questions answered, but I’d also be fine with a totally different set of questions, so long as there’s a movie. But there has to be a movie. Give us the Domino movie, Fox.