The Merc with a Mouth returns in Deadpool 2 and takes aim right in the feels with another plot driven by an emotional core that places the irreverent mutant hero in a journey of self-discovery. But overlooking all that mopey, mawkish fluff, the sequel delivers more of the same cheeky, raunchy humor with the action visuals to match while also feeling wholly original. Deadpool unleashes his hot load of teenage angst on 4K Ultra HD with an excellent HDR10 presentation and a fantastic Dolby Atmos soundtrack that easily bests its Blu-ray counterpart. Packing a satisfying sack of supplemental material, Deadpool's hefty four-disc package is Highly Recommended for fans and makes a great addition to the UHD library.
The biggest surprise of Deadpool 2 is that it even exists at all. The first movie, based on the Marvel comics, was a dicey venture for a major Hollywood studio, releasing an R-rated superhero movie at a time when the subgenre continues to be highly profitable with families. Despite the excited anticipation from comic book fans everywhere, the raunchy irreverence of the title character, knavishly and fittingly nicknamed the Merc with a Mouth, had the odds stacked against him, especially after his first screen appearance practically neutered him and Ryan Reynolds later starred in a disastrous adaptation of another comic hero. But to everyone's amazement, the gamble paid off at the box office, making a sequel pretty much inevitable. Although some minor changes to the character toned down his other, potentially-lewd and gorily-obscene behavior, the movie perfectly captured the salacious, derisive spirit of the comics, turning Deadpool into an overnight cultural phenomenon.
Picking up two years after the events of the first movie, this direct follow-up sees Wade Wilson (Reynolds) turning his mutant powers into a career, a mercenary for hire killing bad guys. But a brief flashback before attempting suicide reveals a failed assassination causing a chain of events that have him reconsidering his life choices — an unexpected tragedy arguably considered a spoiler, but I must bite my lip at all costs. This poignant plot element becomes a significant driving force behind the story, similar to its predecessor, largely responsible for the attractive charm of both films. The unforeseen drama allows Reynolds the freedom to do what he does best — acting the fool amid a personal crisis, awesomely balancing the comedy with just enough of a serious tone to elevate the material. The actor's natural cheeky sarcasm is a perfect match for the character's cynical sass, which here, blatantly guards against his softer, gooier side, one that only his girlfriend Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) managed to bring out of him. But before becoming a complete moping sad-sack, he's recruited by the X-Men.
Technically, he's more like forced to the X-Mansion to lick his wounds and rediscover a sense of purpose by joining Colossus (Stefan Kapi?i?) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) on recruiting missions. One such assignment establishes the film's central conflict when placed into a battle of wits with the young hot-headed, pyrokinetic Russell (Julian Dennison), a terrifically memorable scene that nicely couples Deadpool's own personal strife while sporting a nifty trainee outfit. And again, this is ultimately the production's magical allure, quickly undermining its own seriousness with an unpredictable mockery. We know exactly where their relationship will go because it's a familiar trope, yet by scoffing at itself, audiences are left in suspense of how it all eventually connects. Josh Brolin's Cable, a time-traveling cybernetic soldier from the future hell-bent on killing the temperamental Russell, further complicates matters with his own personal agenda and terrifically adds to the plot's emotional force with his sourpuss attitude and a charred Teddy bear dangling from his belt.
Of course, after the success of the first movie setting up certain expectations, no one is really walking into Deadpool 2 craving all this mawkish histrionics and friggin' schmaltziness. We're in this for the offensive crass and absurd action, and the sequel definitely delivers a full load at the audiences, reaching a hilarious climax that guarantees everyone will walk away completely satisfied. For comic fans, Deadpool organizing his own superhero team he calls the X-Force is perhaps the film's highlight, especially when his good intentions end in catastrophe, serving as a hilarious wry commentary on each of the characters. The über-lucky mercenary Domino (a wonderful Zazie Beetz) is the standout, however, explaining her mutant abilities as fortune simply favoring her. When seeing her in action, director David Leitch (John Wick, Atomic Blonde) is arguably at his most creative with several visually stunning moments that seamlessly blend with the rest of the production's absurdity. By film's end, audiences are left exhausted from laughter, making this sequel as equally surprising and satisfying as the first.
Vital Disc Stats: The Ultra HD Blu-ray
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment brings Deadpool 2 to Ultra HD Blu-ray as a four-disc combo pack dubbed the "Super Duper $@%!#& Cut." The accompanying flyer is a code for a Digital HD Copy, which can be redeemed via FoxDigitalMovies, Movies Anywhere and VUDU, unlocking the 4K HDR10 version with Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 audio. A pair of dual-layered UHD66 discs — one containing the 119-minute theatrical version and the other the 134-minute extended cut — are joined by another pair of Region Free, BD50 discs containing the movie and special features. The added fifteen minutes are a variety of extended sequences, like Deadpool's samurai fight in the bathhouse, or new never-before-seen scenes, like the different ways Deadpool tries to commit suicide.
All four are housed inside a black, eco-elite keepcase with a center spindle and a glossy slipcover. At startup, the UHD hilariously commences like a badly-aged VHS tape that's been recorded over a few times and in 4:3 aspect ratio while a-ha's "Take on Me" plays in the background. With full-motion clips and the usual options along the bottom, the effect lasts for about a minute before switching to a more traditional appearance in 16:9 aspect ratio.
Deadpool unleashes his hot load of teenage angst on Ultra HD with a fabulous-looking HEVC H.265 encode although the results don't quite compare to the best we've seen on the format.
Shot on a combination of digital cameras capable of 3.4K resolution and traditional 35mm, which was later mastered to a 2K digital intermediate, the freshly-minted transfer enjoys a notable uptick in overall definition and clarity. The fabric and coarse stitching in costumes, especially Deadpool's and the prison uniforms, are sharply detailed, exposing the tiniest smudge, grime and scratch. The occasional aliasing rears its ugly head from time to time along the sharpest edges, like the railings of the Ice Box prison, but thankfully, it's pretty mild. Nevertheless, facial complexions are highly revealing with lifelike textures in the cast, and the even extensive makeup work has a realistic quality. Detailing also remains strong in the darkest, bleakest corners, making the prison scenes a highlight when overlooking the aliasing. In fact, the 2160p video comes with rich, velvety blacks throughout with excellent gradational differences between the various shades, providing the 2.39:1 image with a beautiful cinematic appeal.
The heavily-stylized cinematography limits the contrast somewhat, giving the 4K presentation a slightly gloomier and more grayish overcast quality, which feels in line with the plot's themes. Still, whites remain crisp and brilliant, and specular highlights radiate with an intense luster while maintaining outstanding visibility within the brightest spots, such as explosions and the various light fixtures. Metallic edges, Cable's cybernetic arm and Colossus's entire body come with a realistic shine and luminous glimmer. Jonathan Sela's teal-orange photography also restricts the overall palette to some small extent and doesn't offer a memorable wide range in the secondary hues. But colors nonetheless come through with plenty of animated pop, particularly with the reds showing the most notable difference, looking a deeper crimson shade than on its HD SDR counterpart. The yellows are more accurate and true to life than the mustard-like appearance on the Blu-ray while flesh tones have a more lifelike rosiness. (Video Rating: 84/100)
Ignoring the slight wind advisory, the X-Force parachutes down and attacks the UHD convoy with a fantastic Dolby Atmos soundtrack that offers a few notable improvements over the Blu-ray.
Granted, there isn't a whole lot going on in the ceiling channels, noticeably going unused on several occasions, but when employed, they manage to generate a satisfying hemispheric environ that places the listener in the middle of the comedic thrills. Various ambient noises, such as city traffic or the crowded commotion in the mutant prison, fill the above space nicely and effectively while helicopters and planes flawlessly pan across the overheads from behind and into view. The many action sequences shower the room with debris falling everywhere and convincingly raining down to the sides and rears, creating an awesome dome-like effect. Quieter sequences are layered with various atmospherics in the surrounds, maintaining an outstandingly immersive soundfield.
The front soundstage feels expansive and continuously broad, as many of those same atmospherics travel between the three channels and the top heights with excellent directionality. The added breathing room allows for slightly better clarity and separation within the mid-range, displaying superb detailing and distinction during the loudest, ear-piercing segments as well as in the song selections and musical score. Amid the bumbling mayhem and blundering chaos, dialogue reproduction remains crisp and precise from beginning to end.
If there's one small, nitpicking grievance worth mentioning, it is a low-end that could be more imposing to better match the visuals. Don't get me wrong, the bass is plenty powerful with several hard-hitting moments that provide the action with serious weight and presence. But there are also times when it feels somewhat lackluster, such as the sonic shots from Cable's gun, the fiery blasts from Firefist or Colossus' one-on-one fight with Juggernaut. Disregarding this trivial quibble, however, the Atmos mix is fantastic and sure please everyone. (Audio Rating: 88/100)
The Merc with a Mouth returns in Deadpool 2 and takes aim right in the feels with another plot driven by an emotional core that places the irreverent mutant hero in a journey of self-discovery. But overlooking all that mopey, mawkish fluff, the sequel delivers more of the same cheeky, raunchy humor with the action visuals to match while also feeling wholly original. Deadpool unleashes his hot load of teenage angst on 4K Ultra HD with an excellent HDR10 presentation and a fantastic Dolby Atmos soundtrack that easily bests its Blu-ray counterpart. Packing a satisfying sack of supplemental material, Deadpool's hefty four-disc package is highly recommended for fans and those hungering for more HDR goodness.