Blu-ray Review: Deadpool 2

By , Contributor
Deadpool 2 is a blast. I say that as someone who skeptical that the success of the first film could be repeated. The 2016 original was such a game-changer—a meta-deconstruction of the many cliches that litter the comic book adaptation subgenre—that it seemed unlikely lightning would strike twice. While Deadpool 2 isn't as bracingly fresh as its predecessor, it survives a directorial change (Atomic Blonde's David Leitch is in for the original's Tim Miller) and comes out nearly as funny, profane, and head-spinningly self-referential.

But please, please, please heed this suggestion: if you haven't seen Deadpool 2 yet, start with the original theatrical cut. Both the original theatrical cut and an all-new "Super-Duper Extended Cut" are included here on this Blu-ray release. The alternate cut isn't just "extended," it's re-edited to include alternate line readings, additional material, re-sequenced narrative events, different music cues—in essence, it is a flat-out reinvention of the movie. And it's about 15 minutes longer. One of the problems (minor, but still a problem) with the original theatrical cut is that, at two full hours, it feels a little indulgently long. Extending the film to well past two hours is a bridge too far. 
Deadpool 2 negasonic.jpg Deadpool 2 deals with the death of Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), Wade Wilson/Deadpool's significant other from the first film. This isn't a spoiler—the death occurs at the film's outset and puts the whole plot in motion. Already the most self-loathing and nihilistic comic book hero in cinematic history, Wade takes his self-destructive misery to a new level following the loss of the love of his life. But the metal-bodied Colossus (voiced again, hilariously, by Stefan Kapičić) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (the also-returning Brianna Hildebrand) try to right Wade's wavering course, enlisting him as an X-Men "trainee" and embarking on missions.

They're up against Cable (Josh Brolin, yes—Thanos himself, that connection does not go ignored), a time-traveler with a "Winter Soldier arm" and a bloody teddy bear. He's seeking to kill the portly teenage villain Firefist (Julian Dennison, excellent as an atypical bad guy) for reasons that aren't fully explained until late in the film (it's kind of a Terminator riff). Firefist, real name Russell Collins, is the ultimate angst-ridden teen. He's been abused and picked on in an institution that seeks to suppress mutant abilities. What are his abilities? Take a look at that name, Firefist, and think Drew Barrymore in Firestarter (a connection that also does not go ignored).

Deadpool 2 digs a bit deeper on a narrative level than the first film did, but it's all very gleefully, proudly derivative. It feels like something Quentin Tarantino, the all-time pop culture mix-master, might cooked up if he were to direct a superhero film (and also shed all of his tired art-film pretentiousness). Fun surprises abound (and are much better discovered by the viewer than laundry-listed here). Deliriously funny high points include Wade's selection of recruits for his newly-founded X-Force (reminded me of the underrated Mystery Men, based on the genius Bob Burden's comic book creation). 
Deadpool 2 brolin.jpg But it all works much better at 120 minutes than 134. The pacing is far preferable in the theatrical cut, as are most of the editing, dialogue, acting, and music choices. But the "Super Duper Cut" is one heck of an extra for those who want an alternate viewing experience. And to be fair, some of the new lines of dialogue are admittedly gut-bustingly funny.

Fox Home Entertainment's two-disc Blu-ray edition (the second disc houses the extended cut alone) is packed out with tons of extra features. Serious fans will want to check out the audio commentary by star and co-screenwriter Ryan Reynolds, director David Leitch, and co-screenwriters Rhett Reese & Paul Warnick. Even with the extended cut, there are still a few deleted scenes. There are a half-dozen or so featurettes that total about an hour. Interview segments are included in "The Deadpool Prison Experiment." And "Deadpool's Fun Sack 2" adds another half-hour-plus of bits and pieces, all of which are fun for fans. There's as gag reel and more, expect to be busy for a while.

The breathless comic invention continues in Deadpool 2, proving that Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson was no one-hit-wonder. Personally, I'll primarily stick with the original theatrical cut when re-visiting in the future. But it's definitely worth commending the filmmakers for truly delivering an "alternate cut" when, more often than not, these extended/unrated editions are usually just marketing hooks, restoring a few minutes of footage (sometimes as little as one minute!). The "Super Duper Cut" gives fans the opportunity to choose between two significantly different versions.
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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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