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Deadpool 2 (Blu-ray Review)

With the Marvel Cinematic Universe currently paving the way for mainstream superhero cinema, it stands to reason that audiences could use Deadpool 2 as a reminder that stakes, budget, and even heroic sensibilities don’t need to be all that high. However, the sort of subversive desire that I could get from a 4th-wall breaking anti-hero continues to be held at somewhat of a distance. While this sequel improves upon 2016’s Deadpool in terms of style, scale, and direction, it’s the writing of the character and the universe in which he occupies that still feels like we’re scraping the surface of real satire. That didn’t stop the film from hitting big, again, at the box office, though, and now the packed Blu-ray is here to continue to entertain.

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Film:

Before Logan and the threat of various upcoming DC films that claim to have the intention of being as dark and explicit as they need to be to impress the fans that only know of particular eras of comics, Deadpool was a massive hit thanks to resembling something different from the norm. It was still an origin story that hit the same beats as most generic hero’s journeys, but it had some edge. The real difference was the irreverence. Fox made a movie that had audiences feeling like they were getting away with something in this R-rated superhero film, while the PG-13 supers destroyed densely populated cities while keeping the quips kid-friendly.

Deadpool 2 doubles down on pretty much everything that made the first a hit. This, fortunately, means the film is composed of more than an extended initial action scene, stretched out thanks to flashbacks, followed by an ending. Director David Leitch steps in for Tim Miller this time around, and the difference is clear. The film has a real cinematic flair full of striking imagery, neon lighting (presumably left over from Leitch’s 80s-set spy-action flick Atomic Blonde), and a lot more varied action. It’s the solid work of a director with a stunts background that allows for some great, dynamic action sequences (along with some heavily edited ones), as well as excellent control over delivering visual gags.

Gags come flying from all directions by the way. I’m not going to lay out any of my favorites, because that would do no good, but Deadpool 2 has no shortage of jokes, regardless of how hard they hit. In addition to starring as the titular Merc with a Mouth, Ryan Reynolds receives a co-writing credit along with Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick this time around. One could say that shows a sign of wanting lots of control (Reynolds has also been a producer on both films), but the excellence of the supporting cast suggests otherwise.

With minimal plot, it really is a film about Deadpool’s wacky antics and the people he gets to interact with. The story boils down to the mutant mercenary deciding to bring together some other random mutants to protect a young boy from harm dealt by the gruff, time-traveling mutant Cable (Josh Brolin). What we see, however, is an excuse to lay out an elaborate number of sketches that could play as a series of Deadpool comics brought to life. Some are more effective than others, particularly the portions during the middle of this film.

Those highlights of the film speak to one of the problems I found. Deadpool 2 takes a hard turn in its opening reel to establish some character-based stakes, which is all well and good. However, wading around with Wade Wilson means the film takes its time to get to the “good stuff.” As amused as I may have been by the easy targets hit early on (Deadpool 2 is happy to take the piss out of Avengers, the DC universe, and Reynolds’ career, among other things), it often felt like the film was stalling to ensure a deep character connection that just wasn’t necessary or impactful.

While I can appreciate an attempt to have Wade/Deadpool grow as a person and not just exist as pure id for fed up screenwriters that would enjoy a break from the norm, there’s not enough here for me to appreciate the character on a deeper level. At the same time, seeing how far this film is willing to go on a meta-comedy level is what I came for. So, as it stands, as good as Reynolds can be at flexing his dramatic muscles, the theme of what it is to create an offbeat family unit is only so interesting, having seen that handled in other superhero comedies. At the same time, not being the biggest fan of Reynolds-based non-stop one-liners, I also had trouble appreciating the build-up to the real fun this movie wants to have.

Now, with all of this in mind, the film succeeds overall for a reason. I mentioned the supporting cast already, and they indeed shine. Brolin gets a lot of comedic mileage out of playing a humorless, Terminator-like badass. It’s an excellent foil for Deadpool. Other significant additions include Atlanta’s Zazie Beetz as Domino, a mutant with the unusual power of being lucky, and Hunt for the Wilderpeople’s Julian Dennison as Russell, a self-described “plus-sized” mutant that studios don’t like making superheroes. These characters, along with the return of Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), make for a film that has plenty to work with when emphasizing the chaos of an X-Men-based universe not restricted by plots involving ultra-sad Wolverine or Magneto.

Upon reaching a point where the ensemble cast gets to work together, Deadpool 2 becomes everything it should be, a play on setting up cinematic universes by way of a Zucker brothers’ comedy. A large action sequence that can write off some obvious green screen moments as being part of the joke feels like the sort of wonderful spectacle one comes to see at a summer blockbuster, and it happens to be full of very violent comedy. There’s a reason the marketing has played up the X-Force element. Given how stupendously it delivers, even if I’m somewhat ambivalent to the charms of this sequel, I’m more looking forward to the sequel, spin-off, or whatever they do next, as opposed to the upcoming X-Men film that likely plans to kill Jean Grey again.

Mega fans of the first film need not worry. Deadpool 2 will easily deliver for those that felt the first entry was a real evolutionary step for the genre. I didn’t see it as such, and while this sequel is an improvement, it still mostly amounts to an elaborate series of gags that are mostly just fun in the moment. Leitch provides the film with some impressive visual flair, and the cast is assuredly game, but even with maximum effort and ambitions to be the most entertaining kind of obnoxious, not much stayed with me, even when considering the “SuperDuper Cut” also housed on this disc.

 

Video:

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Clarity/Detail: While there was a lot to admire in the look of the first film on Blu-ray, despite being a fairly cheap production (compared to other superhero epics), this sequel truly looks great. The film has an increased budget and Leitch’s sensibilities allow for a lot more dynamic visuals to see as striking. You get a great amount of detail in the various sets that are best represented by the lead character himself. Deadpool’s red costume is full of detail and this time around, he gets plenty of colorful supporting characters to play just as effectively alongside him. It amounts to a solid production as far as what’s to be seen and how clearly it shines.

Depth: The action sequences do a fine job of putting on display the dimensionality of what we are seeing and how to take it all in. Great sense of spacing.

Black Levels: Black levels are deep and inky. There are lots of underworld-type sets, and a whole prison setup, which works well thanks to the look of the dark spaces and shadows. No signs of crush.

Color Reproduction: Given the darkly comedic nature of the film, which is also an intense action picture, the color palette is somewhat dark as well, but much more vibrant than the first film. There is a lot of red in this film and it always looks great, especially in contrast to other aspects. There are also some colorful sets that make good use of presenting what was captured. Given that the action is a lot better this time around, there’s plenty to admire as far as seeing colors come to life throughout this film.

Flesh Tones: Having a character in heavy makeup means it better look good and it does. Thankfully the Blu-ray does great service to facial textures throughout.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.

 

Audio:

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, English Descriptive Audio 5.1, Spanish and French Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

Dynamics: The film sounds terrific. It certainly should, given the lossless 7.1 audio track. With a movie that consistently delivers on the goods, you get a film that really makes the most out of effective sound design to maximize intensity, while preserving its fun tone.

Low-Frequency Extension: Plenty of force is put into the LFE channel, which really allows you to feel the force of the big action scenes that take place and also feel some extra push during scenes that rely on music, such as the film’s de-facto anthem, “Ashes.”

Surround Sound Presentation: Oh yes, the various channels are put to great use. When Deadpool isn’t wise-cracking in the front-heavy areas, you have plenty of other things going on as far as sound effects, music, explosions and everything else that can be handled. It is all balanced perfectly.

Dialogue Reproduction: Deadpool still doesn’t shut up and you will hear all of it loud and clear.

 

Extras:

Deadpool 2 is thankfully the sort of film that feels designed for a home media release, given how much care has been put into delivering an ultimate experience when it comes to extra features. Note: The film includes the theatrical and SuperDuper Cut, which adds an extra 15 minutes and is available on a seperate Blu-ray disc.

Features Include:

Disc 1

  • The SuperDuper Cut (HD, 2:13:59) – There’s an indicator available in order to mark what footage is unique to this cut of the film.

Disc 2

  • Audio Commentary by Ryan Reynolds, David Leitch, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (Theatrical Version Only) – As ambivalent as I am towards the film, I do enjoy what these guys have to say about it. Good fun and insight to be found, with plenty of anecdotes and more.
  • Deleted/Extended Scenes (HD, 2:36) – This features the “baby Hitler” sequence.
  • Gag Reel (HD, 3:11)
  • Deadpool Family Values: Cast of Characters (HD, 15:09) – The cast and crew discuss the main theme of the film – family, in addition to profiling the new characters in this sequel.
  • David Leitch Not Lynch: Directing DP2 (HD, 11:39) – A look at what Leitch brings to this sequel as the new director.
  • Deadpool’s Lips are Sealed: Secrets and Easter Eggs (HD, 12:52) – A look at the process of holding back certain aspects of the film, before its release.
  • Until Your Face Hurts: Alt Takes (HD, 9:25) – The filmmakers go over what it takes to write a sequel to a film that relies on shock value and how valuable it is to have Ryan Reynolds as one of the writers.
  • Roll with the Punches: Action and Stunts (HD, 6:57) – A look at filming the action sequences.
  • The Deadpool Prison Experiment (HD, 11:28) – This extra puts focus on Russell and the prison sequence, “The Icebox.”
  • The Most Important X-Force Member (HD, 2:21) – A very important look at the character of Peter.
  • Chess with Omega Red (HD, 1:16) – A look at the work that went into placing Omega Red into the background of this movie.
  • Swole and Sexy (HD, 2:12) – The “smaller, younger” characters get some time to shine, along with Josh Brolin.
  • “3-Minute Monologue” (HD, 2:14) – Josh Brolin has some fun in the makeup chair.
  • Deadpool’s Fun Sack 2
    • Videos (HD, 35:22) – All the promotional material and other gags for the film can be found here.
    • Stills (HD) – More fun images that added to the marketing.
  • Digital HD Copy of the Film – iTunes and UltraViolet

 

Summary:

All the fans of Deadpool 2 will have plenty to love in this release. The film is one that’s easy to get fun from, especially in this form where anyone to skip to the parts they love. That said, it looks and sounds great throughout. There’s also plenty of extras that will keep everyone busy for at least a little while. All of this makes for quite the packed Blu-ray, which is more than worth it for those that have been waiting for this release.

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Video Game Player, Comic Book Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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