The character of Deadpool traces its comic book origins back to the early 90’s. If you happen to have a copy of The New Mutants #98, hold onto it – it’s bound to continue to increase in value. Why? It introduced the character of Deadpool and though it’d take nearly three decades to bring the character (successfully, no thanks to you, X-Men Origins: Wolverine) to screen; they got it right. Finally. 2016 saw the predecessor, the aptly-named Deadpool, break box office records for an R-rated film. Ryan Reynolds was born to play the role (again) and the film wasn’t afraid to make fun of itself…or anything or anyone else. With its success, everyone knew a sequel was inevitable. Hell, stick around for the closing credits and they even tease it along with a major character – Cable. Well, the wait is over and here we are. Is Deadpool 2 more of the same or did they manage to do what most sequels do and screw it all up by trying to make it “bigger and better?”
This time around we find a more stable Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) and he’s out to stop a time-traveling antagonist from the future by the name of Cable (Josh Brolin). So, yeah, they didn’t lie – Cable really is in this movie! Deadpool realizes that he can’t go at this alone and instead assembles a ragtag team of mutants (his first attempt doesn’t go so well, but it does give us a blink-and-you-miss-him cameo of a major Hollywood star). Among them is Domino (Zazie Beetz), Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) and her oh-so-cute Yukio (Shioli Kutsuna). The group soon learns what Cable’s goal really is: to stop a super-powerful teenager by the name of Russell (Julian Dennison) and Cable’s motives are personal in nature. Deadpool himself also has some personal motivations, but we won’t spoil the surprise.
If you’re looking for more of the same from the first film, then Deadpool 2 is for you. While I personally preferred the original, there’s a lot to like in this one. Director David Leitch (Atomic Blonde, John Wick) does manage to amp up the action with some pretty amazing set pieces. There’s plenty of breaking of the fourth wall and even a few nods to the recent Disney/Fox “agreement” – fans of the MCU will certainly know what I’m referring to. But at the center of it all is the man, the myth and the legend – Ryan Reynolds. The character is a platform for all of his wise-cracking, smart-ass comedic skills and he’s surrounded with a cast that knows what to let him do and when to do it. Deadpool 2 is every ounce as good as its predecessor and it delivers the goods. There’s a little more emotion on display here, but when you see Deadpool walking around on baby legs (long story), it’s hard to take anything in the film seriously. And that’s the point.
Video: How’s it look?
Deadpool 2 comes to Ultra HD/4K in a three disc edition that contains two cuts of the film (a theatrical cut and an extended cut). The original film was among the first “new to the format” titles, but here we are two years later and things have come a long way. There’s not a lot to complain about with this 2.39:1 HEVC 4K transfer. Nothing is left to the imagination as detail is so clear and defined, you can see every pore in Reynolds’ grotesque skin (when the costume is in place, the fabric is so clear, it’s like looking in a mirror). Colors are bold, brash and vibrant with the HDR offering a bit more color depth than its Blu-ray counterpart. Everything looks great here. The transfer feels more “film like”, the CGI seem natural (some films haven’t benefitted from the increased color and clarity as it gives some effects a cartoonish look) and I’ll be hard-pressed to find anything wrong or continue my praise. This one’s a keeper, folks.
Audio: How’s it sound?
I don’t know why, but Fox seems to be one of the studios that’s really lacking when it comes to putting Atmos soundtracks on their Blu-ray discs (Sony, for what it’s worth, is perhaps the best). Nevertheless, the included Dolby Atmos soundtrack pulls no punches (yes, I had to say that) as the dynamic range covers every ounce of the audio spectrum. The LFE abound, the front directional effects make for a more lifelike and realistic atmosphere and the surrounds are always churning out something to give the film a more robust ambiance. The Blu-ray lacks the Atmos soundtrack, but the DTS HD Master Audio mix isn’t “bad” by any means. Like all newer films, there’s a definitive difference if you listen to both in an A/B comparison, but honestly if you’ve got an Atmos setup, then why the hell would you bother with the DTS track to begin with?
Supplements: What are the extras?
Disc One (Ultra HD/4K)
Audio Commentary – Ryan Reynolds, David Leitch, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick combine for a commentary track (this is replicated on the Blu-ray as well), but only for the theatrical cut. Nevertheless, as one might imagine, they have plenty to say and actually approach the film from a pretty serious standpoint. Details on the shoot, the casting and some of the improvisations are all discussed. It’s a good track.
Disc Two (Ultra HD/4K)
Super Duper $@%!#& Cut and Theatrical Version
Disc Three (Blu-ray/Theatrical Cut)
Gag Reel – A few minutes of lost lines and laughing. Laughs ensue.
Deleted/Extended Scenes – Surprisingly this is a bit thin, running only a couple of minutes and the highlight of which is the “Baby Hitler” sequence.
Until Your Face Hurts: Alt Takes – We get a crash course in what it takes to write a movie like this and how having Ryan Reynolds as both a writer and performer is an invaluable asset.
Deadpool’s Lips are Sealed: Secrets and Easter Eggs – The title is a bit misleading, but essentially it’s how they withheld some of the key plot points from the masses in an effort not to have people be spoiled beforehand.
The Most Important X-Force Member – If you’re like me, and not many are, then this will be your favorite supplement as it focuses on Peter (Rob Delaney) and his role in X-Force.
Deadpool Family Values: Cast of Characters – Again, the title says it all – pretty much the entire character roster is profiled with some brief histories on them and how they fit into the grand scheme.
David Leitch Not Lynch: Directing DP2 – It’s true, he’s not David Lynch, but we get a look at the director and what led him to helm this sequel.
Roll with the Punches: Action and Stunts – There were stunts in this movie? Hmmm…Only kidding, of course, we get a look at some of the key action sequences and break them down with stunts, etc.
The Deadpool Prison Experiment – The character of Russell is given a bit more screen time as well as the whole “Icebox” thing that happened during the prison sequence.
Chess with Omega Red – Basically we get a look at what it took to get Omega Red into this film. Hint: It wasn’t easy.
Swole and Sexy – We get a look at the young ‘uns in the film.
Audio Commentary – This is the same track from Disc One.
Deadpool’s Fun Sack 2 – If Deadpool’s original fun sack wasn’t enough, now you’ve got more to play with! Ok, gross, but seriously…
Video Gallery – Running about 30 minutes, this is about all the promotional material you could ever want in a film.
Stills Gallery – 28 Images included and may be played manually or automatically.
Disc Four (Blu-ray/Super Duper$@%!#& Cut)
The Bottom Line
There are a handful of movies, super hero movies at that, that are truly equally good or even better than their predecessors. While it’s agreed that Deadpool 2 fits the bill, I’m also thinking of films like The Dark Knight and even Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. II. Whatever you liked from the first Deadpool is present here. Fox’s 4K disc is reference-quality both in audio and video and it’s got enough supplemental materials to make it worth your time (and money). You know where this belongs.