Updated: Sep 12, 2018
4K ULTRA HD REVIEW / FRAME SHOTS
“DEADPOOL 2: SUPER DUPER CUT”
4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital copy; 2018; R for strong violence and profanity throughout, sexual references and brief drug material; streaming via Amazon Video, FandangoNOW (4K), Google Play, iTunes (4K), Vudu (4K), YouTube
Best extra: Commentary with writers Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick and Ryan Reynolds, with Director David Leitch
THE MISSION for “Deadpool 2” was simple: dirtier jokes and more violence, keeping moviegoers “unconditionally rooting for him even though he’s the most self-destructive creature on Earth,” says writer/producer/actor Ryan Reynolds who plays Wade Wilson aka Deadpool.
The Canadian actor introduced the character in 2009’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine." But when “Deadpool” hit theaters in 2016, it became the biggest money-making R-rated movie ever grossing $783 million worldwide from a modest $58 million budget.
“Deadpool 2” opens with Wade in a mood of loss and grief. He turns on a gas oven, filling the room with fumes while taking a drag on a cigarette. “Guess what, Wolvy. In this one, I’m dying too,” a reference to Wolverine and the Marvel character’s death in “Logan.”
Seconds later everything goes BOOM!
A quick flashback: Deadpool is on a worldwide tour of violent rampage against the baddest gangsters from Italy to China. He returns home for an anniversary dinner with his fiancée Vanessa played by Morena Baccarin. He gives her a Skee-ball token, recalling their first date. She gives him her IUD, an invitation to start a family.
The front door crashes open. Wade and Vanessa are under attack from the villains who escaped Deadpool earlier in the day. Wade takes them down, but the ringleader fires one final shot. The bullet zooms past Wade in hyper-slow motion and hits Vanessa. She falls to the floor.
For the rest of the story, "Wade is on a journey to figure out his place in the world and who’s his family,” says stuntman-turned-director David Leitch (“John Wick”) in one of the nine bonus features.
“In order for Deadpool to take flight and work as a character, you have to take everything away from him. We have to disarm him and put him in the underdog position and make him vulnerable. Vanessa was the only thing that tethered him to a life of love and kindness and calm. She accepted this guy for his flaws within flaws within flaws." ― Ryan Reynolds
Co-writer Rhett Reese acknowledges one of the things that made “Deadpool” a success was that “while it was silly and irreverent, it also had a heart.” Deadpool is the guy who can kind of say anything and get away with it, but that can get exhausting. “Just how many times can you say the F-bomb, or have dick or balls jokes? Apparently a lot,” says Leitch. “Even then, you find yourself cutting them out.”
The secret sauce in ‘Deadpool 2’ is its emotional core, says co-writer Paul Wernick. “Wade needs to heal his heart by finding a family.”
Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) the Eastern European metal man tries to lead Deadpool to a role within the X-Men. They have always had a big brother-little brother relationship. Still, the center of the story surrounds 14-year-old mutant Firefist/Russell Collins, played by Julian Dennison, who’s been abused by Headmaster (Eddie Marsan) at an orphanage-re-education center for mutant children.
Firefist provides Deadpool the connection to his old life and Vanessa as a potential son, says Wernick. Time traveling cyborg warrior Cable (Josh Brolin) is out to kill Firefist. Deadpool assembles his own X-Force mutant crew, which includes a four-second cameo by Brad Pitt, to rescue Firefist. They are all quickly killed in an airborne assault … except Domino (Zazie Beetz of the TV show “Atlanta”). Her superpower is her good luck.
EXTRAS The four-disc set includes the Unrated Edition with 14 additional minutes of raunchy comedy and violence on 4K and Blu-ray. The highlight bonus is the commentary with Reynolds, Wernick, Reese, and Leitch, which provides a slew of insider jokes and anecdotes. Reynolds admits he lifted the Logan music box after shooting the opening scene. A chase scene during the first act, in which Deadpool tries to outrun a gang of bad guys, was inspired by “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”
Reynolds professes his love of Buster Keaton’s silent comedies, and how they tried long physical gags captured in-camera ala Keaton. They’re thankful Deadpool wears a mask where they can put words into his mouth up until the very last moment, adding new jokes up to two or three weeks before the film was released to theaters. Now, that’s a tight window!
The guys also mention the number of DC Comics references in the film. “I feel Wade is kind of a fan. He loves Batman. He loves the darkness,” says Reynolds.
Plus, they highlight the visible Easter Eggs planted throughout the film, like the Hawaiian shirt Wade wears, just like the one Chunk (Jeff Cohen) wears in “Goonies.” Brolin starred as Brand in the 1985 adventure, and he didn’t even notice the reference.
Surprisingly, “Deadpool 2” was shot on digital 3.4K; 35mm film wasn’t mastered in 4K like its predecessor. It misses the best level of clarity from tight close-ups and distant objects nicely framed (2.39:1 aspect ratio) within wide shots. More likely, the culprit was the abundance of FX shots (double the budget this go ’round). This practice pushes a majority of the biggest budgeted films to 2K mastering to save time and money.
On the other hand, the HDR toning remains first-rate with deep, dark blacks, brightly controlled highlights, and rich colors when presented (yellow, green and blue) evident in HDR frame shots. Facial toning is natural among a multi-racial cast.
AUDIO The 4K gets the eight-channel Dolby Atmos soundtrack, adding vertical depth from sound effects and music cues that bounce all over the map, including Air Supply, Dolly Parton, Cher, Barbra Streisand, Enya, Pat Benatar, and the “Annie” soundtrack. Dialogue is clearly front and center, as it should be.
A side note reveals Reynolds is the voice of Juggernaut and was digitally lowered. He says it was because of a dwindling budget, but that’s only another joke. The final production budget hit $110 million and earned a worldwide gross of $734 million. It received favorable reviews, with a 67 percent rating from top critics on Rotten Tomato site.
― Bill Kelley III, High-Def Watch producer