Deadpool Ultra HD Blu-ray review

The superhero genre goes 'R-rated' with this inventive, acerbic thrill-ride on Ultra HD Blu

With every new superhero TV show and movie striving to outdo the last for action spectacle, character overload, moodiness and/or plot complexity, Deadpool perhaps comes as a much-needed breath of fresh air.

For starters, studio 20th Century Fox has bravely gone all out to ensure Deadpool’s irreverent, smutty, fourth wall-breaking persona makes it intact onto the bigscreen. No line is deemed uncrossable, no topic too PC to skewer, resulting in some laugh-out-loud humour you surely wouldn’t have got with a larger-scale, more ‘studio-fied' flick.

A relatively limited budget is also turned to an advantage, forcing director Tim Miller and writing duo Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick to create an inventive narrative that manages to cram origin story, nods to a wider X-Men universe and action beats into a pleasingly tidy 108-minute run-time.

This is a brilliantly entertaining movie (although your appreciation of it will vary depending on how much you can stomach eye-watering violence) and it has at its core a superb performance by Ryan Reynolds. The actor has pinged around Hollywood for 20 years, in everything from gross-out comedies to thrillers and even the Green Lantern superhero misfire. As Deadpool, he appears to have found his calling.

Picture: Deadpool’s 2.40:1 UHD Blu-ray picture quality is hit and miss – a reflection, perhaps, of it being shot at a sub-4K native resolution of around 3.4K. Only close-ups of the anti-hero's suit, and other characters’ faces, consistently reveal a searing detail boost over the also-included 1080p Blu-ray platter. The extra sense of texture in Deadpool’s suit in particular, though, is welcome, giving it an appropriately more lived-in appearance.

While the 4K resolution might only sparkle sporadically, the HEVC encode's HDR and wide colour gamut aspects have a much bigger impact. The general brightness level of exterior sequences is markedly higher than on the standard Blu-ray, and there’s more subtle tonal differentiation in the brightest whites and colours. Deadpool stands out against his surroundings more dramatically, and contrast-rich interior sequences pack dynamic punch – those in Sister Margaret’s bar are a riot of neon signs and inky darkness. In this regard the UHD platter excels, although the HDR image is less convincing with the CGI Colossus than the Full HD, SDR Blu-ray...
Picture rating: 4/5

Audio: Deadpool finally sees 20th Century Fox putting out a Dolby Atmos mix, although it's only housed on the Ultra HD Blu-ray disc and not on the 1080p platter. The results are spectacular.

In keeping with the film’s visceral violence and hyped-up approach, the soundtrack is extremely aggressive, combining rich use of placement effects and potent transitions around the soundstage with subwoofer-bothering amounts of bass. When a car bounces over the camera, for instance, it sails believably over your head.

The mix also revels in the finer things in life, so if you’ve ever wanted to hear what bones breaking, swords cutting through flesh and blood spattering sound like, Deadpool’s your disc.
Audio rating: 5/5

Extras: The Deadpool UHD BD carries two commentary tracks: one by Ryan Reynolds (God’s Perfect Idiot according to the film’s opening credits) and screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick; the other by director Tim Miller and Deadpool co-creator/comic book artist Rob Liefeld. The first of these is perhaps the more enjoyable, thanks to some snappy repartee and plenty of discussion on the way the actors and writers approached their work.

More extras reside on the bundled Full HD Blu-ray. There's a series of deleted and extended scenes, which for the most part seem justified in their cutting, although it's worth a watch for some hilariously unfinished Colossus effects in the bridge shootout sequence. A gag reel, meanwhile, adds plenty of laughs, while wrapping things up in similarly amusing fashion is a huge collection of short publicity videos and advertising spots featuring Deadpool lampooning himself, his film and pretty much anything else he can get his tongue into.
Extras rating: 4/5

We say: This left-field superhero flick sees Fox joining the Dolby Atmos party with great results

Deadpool (4K), Twentieth Century Fox, Ultra HD Blu-ray, £30