Blu-ray Review: Deadpool

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Director Tim Miller and writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick pull off the neatest of tricks with Deadpool, the blockbuster Marvel Comics adaptation (part of 20th Century Fox's Marvel universe, which includes X-Men—not the Marvel Studios series that includes the Avengers films). Without offering anything particularly fresh in terms of plot points, they serve up an energetic, funny, ultra-meta spin on every stock comic book movie cliche known to man. Pitched halfway between a poker-faced comic book flick and a Naked Gun movie, Deadpool combines a fractured narrative, star Ryan Reynold's frequent fourth-wall-breaking, and a gleefully profane and violent R-rated approach for 108 minutes of fun.

Reynolds is every bit as essential to Deadpool as Robert Downey Jr. is to the Iron Man series. He embraces the unhinged craziness of Wade Wilson, managing to make him funny and endearing at the same time. We get a creatively unspooled origin story (one that works in more than a few potshots at the maligned X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the character's 2009 big screen debut). The timeline leaps help keep the rather rote story interesting. Basically Wade is rendered a self-regenerating mutant following torturous experimentation by Weapon X's Ajax (Ed Skrein, much more winning here than in the recent Transporter reboot). He was ostensibly going in for a new cancer treatment, as he'd recently been diagnosed with multiple inoperable forms of the disease. Wade escapes his captors, destroying their research lab in the process, so Ajax and henchwoman Angel Dust (Gina Carano) kidnap his best gal Vanessa (Morena Baccarin).

Deadpool Ryan Reynolds Morena Baccarin (380x254).jpg Most of Deadpool is concerned with Wade coming to terms with his disfiguring burns and superhuman powers. His fear of revealing these developments to Vanessa are part of why she winds up so easily captured by Ajax. Deadpool reluctantly works with X-Men Colossus (voiced by Stefan Kapičić) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) in an attempt to defeat Ajax and rescue Vanessa. If you straighten it all out, there's not a whole lot of plot here. And the specifics regarding Vanessa's initial capture don't really make sense—Wade's friend Weasel (T.J. Miller) informs him of Vanessa's impending apprehension, yet Wade wastes time psyching himself up (which basically allows the kidnapping to happen). 

Deadpool Negasonic Teenage Warhead (380x254).jpg That hokey plot point aside, Deadpool delivers inventively stage action and nonstop, wide-ranging humor. Just as the character does in the comics, Deadpool regularly addresses the audience directly. Frankly, this could've been a disaster in less able hands but Reynolds sells it to the hilt. If there was any doubt whether a hard-R comic book film could do mainstream box office, it has effectively been erased by the ecstatic reaction to the film (which set many records involving R-rated films). It'll be interesting to see how such a self-referential, winking-at-the-audience character will be involved in any future X-Men films or spin-offs. But whatever the future holds for the character, the filmmakers knocked this one right outta park.
deadpool BD (308x380).jpg Great Blu-ray presentation by Fox Home Entertainment, with a flawless high definition transfer paired with a robust, lossless DTS-HD 7.1 surround mix. Special features include two commentary tracks (one with Ryan Reynolds and screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, the other with director Tim Miller and Deadpool co-creator Rob Liefeld).

"From Comics to Screen... to Screen" gives us well over an hour of behind-the-scenes featurettes (it's a five-part series). There's also nearly 20 minutes of deleted/extended scenes (all with optional director's commentary) and a gag reel. There's also lots of gallery material (concept art, costumes, storyboards, and more), but don't ignore "Deadpool's Fun Sack." This collection of promotional video clips is often hilarious and contains about 25 minutes of material.

The standard Blu-ray edition of Deadpool includes a standard DVD and Digital HD copy. For those equipped for it, there's also a 4K UltraHD edition available for a small premium.

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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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