Red spandex never looked so good
It was a long time coming but Deadpool finally got the film he deserved.The character first appeared in the dreadful X-Men Origins: Wolverine and as if to prove that 20th Century Fox really didn't know what to do with their Marvel properties, they made the 'merc with a mouth' a mute! Although it did give the makers of Deadpool a chance to promote their film with the tag line "from the studio that sewed my f**king mouth shut last time." After sitting in development hell for years and only after test footage was leaked online, causing a groundswell of support from fans, did Fox finally get the courage to green light a Deadpool movie. They were then sensible enough to agree a relatively low budget and just let star Ryan Reynolds, writers Matt Reese and Paul Wernick and director Tim Miller get on with it.The result is a wonderfully childish film made by grown-ups, for grown-ups that has become the most successful X-Men movie to date! Deadpool is anarchic, irreverent fun that manages to exist within the X-Men universe whilst still retaining an R-rated sensibility. The constant breaking of the 'fourth wall' allows Deadpool to make plenty of pop culture references whilst also commenting on comic book movies in general. Ryan Reynolds is perfect as Deadpool, Tim Miller makes the most of his limited resources and the film is a complete blast. You won't see a funnier, more action-packed or more enjoyable comic book film this year. Sometimes having the courage to actually give the fans what they want really does pay-off.
Picture QualityDeadpool is presented on Ultra HD Blu-ray in 4K (3,840 x 2,160)/24p using its theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1 and encoded using HEVC (H.265) and 10-bit colour depth. The disc also includes a Wider Colour Gamut (WCG), the theatrical DCI-P3 colour space was transferred using Rec.2020, and High Dynamic Range (HDR). The film was shot digitally using Arri Alexa XT Plus cameras at a resolution of 3.4K and it was finished with a 4K Digital Intermediate (DI). That means that unlike many other Ultra HD Blu-rays released so far, Deadpool is a genuine 4K presentation that takes full advantage of the new format. This review is based on the recent US Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Deadpool but the UK release, which arrives next month, should be identical.
The Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Deadpool is certified Ultra HD Premium, which means that it supports an image resolution of 3840 x 2160, a minimum 10-bit colour depth, Rec.2020 colour representation and high dynamic range using the SMPTE ST2084 EOTF. Although there have been previous day-and-date Ultra HD Blu-ray releases, Deadpool is the first really big release (let's not forget it made $750 million worldwide) to make its bow on the new disc format. In fact 20th Century Fox are to be congratulated for their support of Ultra HD Blu-ray, with the studio's earlier release of The Revenant being another milestone in the life of this fledgling disc format. Our review kit consists of a Samsung UE65KS9500 Ultra HD TV and a Samsung UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray player.
Deadpool looks stunning, with 4K, HDR and WCG all combining to deliver a superior quality picture.
Deadpool certainly looks stunning on Ultra HD Blu-ray and whilst it isn't quite as impressive as The Revenant, any limitations are as a result of the original production and not the format itself. There is a breathtaking level of detail at times, especially when it comes to Deadpool's costume, with all the minutest design details and wear and tear easily apparent in the 4K transfer. The disc allows you to appreciate all the work put in by the set dressers, with plenty of in-jokes within the sets that you probably didn't see the first time around. However the film uses a lot of green screen, which means that sometimes scenes can appear a little flat, and at times the increased resolution makes some of the effects more obvious.
Although other effects such as the CG character of Colossus benefit from this greater detail to a certain degree, with the nicks and scratches in his metal becoming more apparent and the addition of HDR giving his reflections greater impact. All this certainly helps to make the character of Colossus more realistic, although in some scenes his CG nature remains all too obvious but that's just due to budgetary limitations. The deliberately low-key photography means that there are limited chances for the HDR to deliver specular highlights but there is far greater shadow detail, which gives many scenes added depth. The use of 10-bit video means that the transfer is free of any banding, whilst the digital photography results in a clean and artefact-free image.
For a comic book movie, Deadpool has a surprisingly drab colour scheme but this is a deliberate choice on the part of the filmmakers in order to create a different aesthetic when compared to the other X-Men films. This does mean that the colour scheme is dominated by grey skies, especially in the freeway sequence and the shipyard finale, but flesh tones always look realistic. However in other scenes such as those set in bars, strip clubs or apartments, there is an opportunity for the wider colour gamut to show through; whilst Deadpool's costume really stands out. Overall this is a fantastic transfer that takes full advantage of the Ultra HD Blu-ray format and whilst Deadpool might not be quite as demo worthy as The Revenant, it's certainly a lot more fun.
Sound QualityDeadpool isn't the first 20th Century Fox release to include a Dolby Atmos soundtrack, for some reason that honour was given to The Peanuts Movie, but it's certainly the first Fox film to really benefit from the addition of immersive audio. The Dolby Atmos soundtrack is only used on the Ultra HD Blu-ray, with the included regular Blu-ray using a 7.1-channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. We reviewed Deadpool on a full 7.2.4 Dolby Atmos setup that used a Denon AVR-X7200WA 9-channel receiver, a power amplifier for the extra two channels, two subwoofers at the front and four overhead speakers.
The Ultra HD Blu-ray of Deadpool includes a barn-storming Dolby Atmos mix that is sure to please.
If we thought that the 4K images on this Ultra HD Blu-ray were impressive, then the Dolby Atmos soundtrack just blew our socks off. It's a fantastic mix right from the amusing and inventive opening credits and it delivers an immersive audio experience that really compliments the already impressive visuals. Since the main character constantly breaks the fourth wall and addresses the audience directly, it's natural that dialogue plays a vital part of the mix. The Atmos soundtrack delivers all the dialogue with clarity and precision, even in the middle of the most complex action sequences.
The steering of audio is excellent, with the explosions, gunfire and other effects being moved seamlessly around the sound field. The overhead channels are also used very effectively, giving a three-dimensional aspect to the sound design and completely surrounding and immersing the viewer. The bass is deep and effective but always well controlled, giving the entire sound mix a tight foundation and adding impact to all the action and mayhem. The excellent score is also well integrated within the mix, driving the narrative and adding to the humour where necessary.
ExtrasThe US Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Deadpool comes in a black Amaray case with two discs, the Ultra HD Blu-ray and the Full HD Blu-ray. The Ultra HD Blu-ray doesn't use regional coding but interestingly, even though the packaging says that the regular Blu-ray is Region A, it actually plays in Region B players without any problems at all. The package also includes a digital HD copy of the film, although you probably won't be able to redeem the code in this country. However the UK release comes out on the 13th of June and it looks as though it will be identical to the US version, with the Ultra HD Blu-ray, a regular Blu-ray and a digital HD copy.
The Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Deadpool includes an extensive selection of extras, all of which are on the regular Blu-ray. However the audio commentaries are also on the Ultra HD Blu-ray, which is unusual because until now the majority of Ultra HD Blu-rays have been barebones releases. The Blu-ray includes the following extras:
Deleted/Extended Scenes (HD, 19:14) - These can be watched with or without a commentary from director Tim Miller and whilst some are quite short scenes or extensions, others are fairly extensive. The deleted and extended scenes are Prison: The Raft (00:47), Cancer World Tour (04:23), Extended Freeway (04:40), Extended Workshop Fight (03:26), Morgue (00:49), 5 Year Montage (01:40), No 5 Bathroom (00:25), Extended Angel/NTW Fight (01:24), Extended Rubble Pile: Gratuitous Worth It (00:35) and Alt. Coda (01:05).
Gag Reel (HD, 06:12) - The usual selection of outtakes, behind the scenes footage and alternate takes as the cast and crew blow their lines and mess about.
From Comics to Screen... to Screen (HD, 1:20:20) - This feature length making of documentary is composed of five parts but can be watched with a 'play all' option. The five parts are Origin... her (14:28) which covers the struggle to get the film green lit by Fox, Peoples and Muties (15:10) which covers the characters in the film and the actors who play them, Stylin' (13:45) which covers the the freeway sequence in detail, 'Splosions (13:19) which covers the effects and Magic! (10:05) which covers the music and final thoughts on the film.
Gallery - This section includes designs, concept art and pre-vis for the film and is broken down into Concept Art, Costumes, Storyboards, Pre-Vis and Stunt-Vis - Shipyard.
Deadpool's Fun Sack - This covers all the very clever marketing for the film and is broken down into two sections, the first of which covers Videos (HD, 23:54) and includes all the trailers, ads for the trailers, TV spots and even public service announcements on behalf of testicular and breast cancer. If you ever needed proof of just how committed Ryan Reynolds was to this project, just watch this section. The second section is called Stills and covers all the posters and other image-related promotional material for the film.
Audio Commentaries - Finally as mentioned earlier there are two audio commentaries that are included on both the Ultra HD Blu-ray and the regular Blu-ray. The first audio commentary is by Ryan Reynolds and screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick; and the second audio commentary is by director Tim Miler and Deadpool co-creator and comics artist Rob Liefeld
Ultra HD Blu-ray VerdictFrom the decidedly post-modern opening credits you know you're in for a fun ride and Deadpool doesn't disappoint. It's a funny and irreverent comic book adaptation that isn't afraid to be violent, sexy or use plenty of big boy language. It's a reminder that comic book movies can still appeal to grown-ups and that if you don't patronise your audience it can pay serious dividends. The main character constantly breaks the 'fourth wall', allowing Deadpool to comment on everything from pop culture to other X-Men movies and the jokes come thick and fast, so quickly in fact that you'll need to watch the film a few times to get them all. It's not only funny but is also exciting, with some great action set pieces and impressive effects for a film made on a limited budget.
The film, picture, Atmos soundtrack and extensive extras make Deadpool a must-have 4K purchase.
The Ultra HD Blu-ray release certainly does the film justice with a fantastic picture that really shows off the capabilities of the format. The level of detail is astonishing, the HDR adds greater shadow detail and the wider colour gamut delivers an improved sense of realism. If the picture isn't quite as demo quality as The Revenant it's only because of the way the film was shot, the stylistic choices of the filmmakers and the extensive use of green screen, rather than any limitations in Ultra HD Blu-ray. The Dolby Atmos soundtrack is fantastic, delivering a highly immersive experience that really compliments the excellent visuals. The wealth of extras only adds to an already impressive package, making Deadpool the first 'must-have' Ultra HD Blu-ray.
You can buy Deadpool on Ultra HD Blu-ray here
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