The origin story of former Special Forces operative turned mercenary Wade Wilson, who after being subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopts the alter ego Deadpool. Armed with his new abilities and a dark, twisted sense of humor, Deadpool hunts down the man who nearly destroyed his life.
I love it when a passion project comes together.
Here we have a movie star, screenwriters, producers, and director who so believed in this version of 'Deadpool' they fought to get it made for some eight years. And not only did they produce a gleefully violent, R-rated, meta comic book movie that has gone on to be BOTH the number one R-rated film of all time AND the top 'X-Men' franchise grosser...
It's really fucking good.
'Deadpool' non-linearly recounts the tale of one Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), a vigilante for hire who's quick to say he's no hero... even though the jobs we see him take land in a morally grey, but generally positive realm. One day the ever-sarcastic Wade meets Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), the call girl of his dreams. They fall fantastically in love. Sexcapades ensue. And it's all too perfect to last.
Wade finds himself on the short end of a death sentence in the form of the Big C.
The movie intercuts the events that follow Wade's diagnosis -- Deadpool: Origins! -- with Wade's present day quest to find the man who origined him into becoming Deadpool in the first place, all while struggling with his fear of going to see the love of his life again (his origining made him fugs).
Action comedies are one of my favorite genres, but they're nearly impossible to pull off because there is no guaranteed formula for balancing character, dramatic stakes, and jokes. Mix in the recent glut of superhero origin stories and adult themes (PG-13 movies generally make more money than R-rated films) and this is a challenging production to pull off.
Seriously, I know there are some who aren't on board with this, but I'm amazed at how great 'Deadpool' turned out.
That nearly impossible balance of action, humor, and emotions mixed with another origin story... This flick pulls it off because, after millions of critical choices made by every person on the filmmaking team, they've arrived at what is best described as the perfect tone for this particular story. For me at least, the jokes hit hard enough to cause open laughter. The action is well choreographed and clear. Wade is a unique character, in that he's a bad dude who we root for. And I really, really admire how the film stays focused on personal stakes rather than blowing up to a Save The CGI Extras third act. Yes, there's a big action set-piece where heroes and villains in rubber suits SPOILER ALERT -- fight -- END SPOILERS, but the whole thing has a sense of importance.
I love all the little details. The eye-popping visuals, and ear-tastic sound mix punctuated by sarcasm and fourth wall breaking. It's a film that takes well tread elements and polishes them up with a heaping pile of ball jokes and clever curse words. Honestly, my nine-year-old self is just as giddy about the whole thing as adult me.
If I had one question about the film's intentions, I wonder if the filmmakers could have found a way to avoid the damsel-in-distress elements. I think the structure and payoffs surrounding this structural choice work (and fuel Wade's journey as Deadpool), but the film goes out of its way to subvert and reinvent so many expectations, and there are so few women in this story, I wonder if they could have gone a little further with a character that is so vividly written in the film's early scenes. Ah well, here's hoping for a little more room for such choices in the sequel (and hoping she doesn't end up Super-ized as well).
Either way, 'Deadpool' is a lot of R-rated fun (seriously, no kids, unless you want to be THOSE parents) that pulled off a tricky balance of potentially-disparate tonal elements to become the most fun I've had at a super hero movie since 'Guardians'.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
We don't have a physical copy of this packaging in hand, but have used the Blu-ray disc from the Ultra HD combo pack for this review. That said, if you do buy 'Deadpool' on Blu-ray, it includes one BD housing the film, two audio commentaries, and nearly two hours of behind the scenes featurettes PLUS a Digital HD redemption code valid for iTunes OR UltraViolet. Please note the US packaging marks this Blu-ray as Region A locked. However one of our UK readers had no trouble playing it on his Region B player (thanks to John for the tip!).
An Ultra HD Blu-ray + Blu-ray + Digital HD combo pack is also available.
'Deadpool' origins its way onto Blu-ray with a strong HD transfer that looks gah'mazing framed in its original 2.40:1 aspect ratio (until you place it side-by-side with the Ultra HD Blu-ray).
As we've come to expect for modern day blockbusters on Blu-ray, 'Deadpool' looks terrific. Resolution and available details are sharp. Colors are vivid at times, especially Deadpool's suit and all the blood. Fiery explosions also look pretty darn good. Black levels and shadow details are strong, while skin-tones and highlights are accurate. Overall, this Blu-ray has a strong image quality that is only imperfect when one compares it to demo-worthy material like Pixar films, and when standing next to its own Ultra HD Blu-ray. In other words, the film can seem a little washed out during exterior daytime action sequences.
Oh, for anyone considering getting the Ultra HD Blu-ray for a NON HDR10 capable display (HD or UHD), the Blu is a better way to watch 'Deadpool' at home. Though less sharp in A-to-B comparisons, this SDR / Rec 709 grading reveals more highlight and shadow details on non-HDR10 displays.
If you DO own an HDR10-capable display, this Blu-ray appears dull and fuzzy by comparison.
(Important: I do NOT grade 7.1 against Atmos/X mixes and vice versa. The numerical grading listed above is in relation to how this mix performs in relation to similar configurations and genre exercises. IE, a 4.5-star Dolby Atmos mix is almost always a step up from a 4.5-star 7.1 mix.)
'Deadpool' goes deep into Blu-ray with an strong 7.1 DTS-HD MA surround mix.
Bad news / good news: unlike it's UHD sibling, there's no Dolby Atmos mix to be found on the Blu-ray. However, what we do get is a very capable track with some excellent sonics, especially in the department of sound effects design, that is a little short of 7.1 audio perfection.
What I liked: clear dialog, thumping music cues, a vivid sense of immersion and, as mentioned, the sounds effects themselves are very delineated, especially during the film's scrapyard climax. I love the way creaking metal sounds vibrates. Gunshots and surround panning are very strong.
Why it's not perfect: I could have used a little more LFE presence, and there's an overall lack of aggression to the piece as a whole (much of this comes from the fact that there are really only three major setpieces). I could have also used a little more sense of the film's universe.
Overall, though not an aural 7.1 revelation, this disc comes with a number of sonically aggressive moments sure to please fans. And if you drop it into DTS:Nerual:X, you get a pretty close approximation of the full hemispherical mix.
However, the Dolby Atmos mix is the way to go for this film.
When the movie's wunderbar, the video looks perty, and the audio envelops, the final pieces to any home entertainment puzzle are the special features.
'Deadpool' again does a great job. Not quite LOTR in-depth, this (wait for it) package is much more reminiscent of the days when DVD was a studio cash cow. Forty minutes of deleted / extended scenes and marketing materials, PLUS an hour-plus behind-the-scenes documentary, PLUS two audio commentaries. Yeah, get happy, fans. This shit's a treat. As always, I've divided out the features by exclusivity and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz... oh, sorry, just fell asleep while typing that. Here are the non-exclusive bonus materials:
Gag Reel (HD, 6:12). All the LOLZ.
Deadpool's Fun Sack. Divided between 23 minutes and 54 seconds of VIDEO (titles listed below) and nine or so STILLS, here is your 'Deadpool' marketing campaign in all its irreverent glory.
April Fool's Rating Announcement
Fantastic Four Deadpool Teaser
Theatrical Trailer 1
Red Band Trailer 1
Brazil Comic-Con Greeting
Experince Me in IMAX
Deadpool's Trailer's Eve
Theatrical Trailer 2
Red Band Trailer 2
Blatant Bachelor Baiting TV Spot
Australia Day Greeting
Touch Yourself Tonight
Gentlemen, Touch Yourself Tonight
Ladies, Touch Yourself Tonight
Chinese New Year Greeting
Superb Owl TV Spot
Digital HD Copy. Yup, if you buy a physical disc in standard definition (WHY!?!), HD, or Ultra HD, you also get a Digital HD copy.
'Deadpool' is a kickass comic book flick for anyone who enjoys meta humor, foul language, and brutal, gratuitous movie-violence. Congrats to everyone involved for launching a rad new franchise. I can't wait to see where you take this character.
As a Blu-ray, while the results are less dramatic than the Ultra HD, the HD picture is strong and error-free, the 7.1 DTS-HD MA surround mix is immersive and engaging, and the nearly two hours of special features (not including the Audio Commentaries) are terrific. If you are NOT planning to get a UHD display in the next six to twelve months, this Blu-ray comes Recommended. Otherwise, for a $6-$10 premium, the Ultra HD Blu-ray is a better buy.