If we take a trip back to…1991 (if memory serves), then I remember a comic book I used to read called The New Mutants. If you’re well-versed in the Marvel Comic Universe (the old one, not the new one) then you’ll know that this comic was about a group of mutants that were essentially in training to be the X-Men. The series ran an even 100 issues and in issue #98 they introduced a character by the name of Deadpool. He was referred to as “the merc with a mouth.” That issue is now worth a few hundred dollars and I should probably get off my ass and see if I still have it laying around somewhere. Jumping forward about 25 years, the character of Deadpool isn’t all that foreign to us. He was in the 2009 film X-Men Origins: Wolverine and played by…you guessed it – Ryan Reynolds (there’s a humorous line in the movie that references this). But with the Marvel Comic Universe split into two distinct parts, this is the one that has the X-Men and Fantastic Four in it. The “other” one has the Avengers and, evidently, Spider-Man. I won’t go into that whole mess. So here we are – 2016 and Deadpool finally gets his own movie. It’ll either be a bomb or we’ll see at least three of these.
It wasn’t a bomb. As of this writing it’s the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all-time.
I can write like that in this review.
Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is a generally decent guy who happens to have a rather unique job. He’s an ex-Special Forces operative who now works as a mercenary. He’s finally met the woman of his dreams in Vanessa (Morena Baccarat) and the two are looking forward to a long life together. However, it’s discovered that Wade has cancer and isn’t expected to live the year. He’s then approached by a strange man who offers him a chance at life, but he must undergo some pretty intense methods of treatment. Under the care of Ajax (Ed Skrein), he’s subjected to just about everything the human body can endure and he manages to survive. Eventually he’s given a treatment that disfigures him, but also releases a latent ability to regenerate. Wade adopts the moniker Deadpool and uses his newfound power to hunt down Ajax and, well, kill him. He gets a bit of assistance from two X-Men in Colossus (voiced by Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand). And there’s plenty of talk about drinking, sex and violence along the way.
Probably the best thing about the movie, or any movie, is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. In fact the movie seems to go out of its way to make fun of itself, anyone in it and even the genre as a whole. When you’ve got a character played by Ryan Reynolds who makes fun of the acting career of Ryan Reynolds – you know you’ve got something pretty special. If you can put aside the sophomoric humor, the constant sex jokes and the cartoonish violence (all of the things that make the movie great) then you’ll have a good time. If you’re expecting something along the lines of The Avengers, well then go see that movie. Ryan Reynolds is in rare form here and it pays off and I didn’t think he could top his character of Hannibal from Blade III. I was wrong. He is Deadpool and it makes it ever so worthwhile. I’ll shut up now. If you’ve read this far, odds are you’re a fan. If not, then read this review as it might be more your style.
Video: How’s it look?
As the fledgling Ultra HD format continues to grow, we’ll no doubt see more and more day and date films. This is one of the first and I was curious to see what this would look like in comparison to its Blu-ray counterpart (also included in the case). I’ll just come right out and say it – it looks pretty damn amazing. the 2.40:1 Ultra HD image is the best thing I’ve seen on my television. That’s not to say that the Blu-ray looks bad by any means, but there’s a depth to the colors and the increased detail that just makes this leap out. Admittedly I was a bit afraid to jump to the Ultra HD format as I was pretty satisfied with the way the films looked on Blu-ray. I mean how much better could they really look? While not a night and day difference, doing an A/B comparison did make some things apparent. The woven materials in Deadpool’s mask really seemed to have a lot more texture. The scene with the little hand? Yeah, that was odd but the colors looked a bit richer in that particular scene (don’t ask me why). I can safely say that no matter which version you go with, it’s going to look amazing. The Ultra HD is right up there with The Revenant (as of this writing) as the definitive “go to” disc in regards to quality. Deadpool would be so proud.
Audio: How’s it sound?
Super hero movies are all about sound. The bang of a gun, the flipping of a car or a masked vigilante sawing off his hand so he can escape a 7 foot Russian made of steel! Many were hoping that this Ultra HD release of the film would contain a next generation audio track and they will be rewarded with a Dolby Atmos mix on the Ultra HD version (the Blu-ray contains a DTS HD Master Audio 7.1 mix). That said, the track rocks from beginning to end. If you’re a fan of the 90’s group Salt n’ Pepa then your prayers have been answered as “Shoop!” resonates through the ending credits. That’s just one of the throwbacks to the 90’s that they poke fun at and part of what makes the film a joy to watch. Of course, the battle scenes are nothing to bawk at with directional effects coming through every channel. Guns blazing, things blowing up and cars that seem to never stop rolling end over end. Vocals are sharp as well, though they do tend to get a tad bit muffled when Deadpool speaks (he’s talking through a mask, just to be clear). This is one for the ages.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Deleted/Extended Scenes – Nearly twenty minutes of deleted scenes are shown and the next best thing to having them in the film is having them here. Evidently T.J. Miller and Ryan Reynolds did a different take for every scene they were in. I can only imagine some of those scenes that didn’t make the cut.
Gag Reel – My usual response to this is “shenanigans on the set” but this one deserves a bit more. Most of what made the film a success was the chemistry between the actors and this showcases it in all their glory.
From Comics to Screen…to Screen – Divided into five sections, this 1 hour 20 minute documentary takes a look at pretty much everything that went into making this film. It’s the most robust supplement on the disc and is a must watch for all fans of the film.
Audio Commentaries – Two total.
Track One – Actor/Producer Ryan Reynolds teams up with writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick for a pretty tongue-in-cheek commentary (you were expecting any less?). The origins of the character are discussed, the casting and the entire tone of the film as well. The more technical track is below, but this is by far the more fun track.
Track Two – Director Tim Miller and Deadpool creator Rob Liefield discuss the finer points of the film. Liefield, who actually used to be a pretty big deal in the comic book world, discuss the origins of the character and his enduring appeal. Miller seems pretty impressed and tells of some of his contributions which helped make the movie what it was. This is a more serious track, but it’s got a lot of information within.
Deadpool’s Fun Sack – There’s a not so hidden sexual reference in there.
Videos – The marketing campaign for this film took some pretty perverse pleasure in how they targeted the movie. There’s no shortage of videos containing some very “unique” Deadpool quips. My words cannot do them justice.
Stills – About 30 seconds of stills from the film are shown.
Galleries – Divided into five sections, these encompass everything you’d want to know about the film that can be learned via stills.
The Bottom Line
If you like superhero movies (and even if you don’t) or just like to check your brain at the door and have a good time then Deadpool is for you. It’s not for the kids though, I’ve read where some parents were “surprised” when the movie was too violent for the little ones. Uh huh. The name is Deadpool for cryin’ out loud! This is the perfect Ultra HD release so far – perfect visuals, perfect audio and enough supplements to warrant a purchase.