The “Super Duper” cut of Deadpool 2 probably isn’t going to drastically change anybody’s mind on the movie: if you liked it, there’s more stuff to like; if you didn’t, and unless your chief complaint was “the tonal balance didn’t get it quite right,” it’s not like Ryan Reynolds suddenly decides not to be the same kind of character he always likes to play. It’s still a bit of a superhero tonal clash, as the satirical vibe of the first Deadpool collides with what feels more like the X-Men cinematic universe proper. But where the theatrical cut went for a fairly even balance, the Super Duper version falls (I don’t want to say “errs,” because it’s not really an error) on the side of Deadpool. The fact that a two-part post-credits scene featuring Wade “Deadpool” Wilson (Reynolds) encountering baby Hitler has been reinstated really says it all in that regard. This is a lot more thoughtful than a standard “unrated” cut, however. Yes, you’ll see more violence, more graphic stabbings, more blood, more nudity (including an oddly digitally pixellated male private area), and more shots of characters flipping each other off. Jokes are allowed to run longer, which may be a matter of taste–I’m a fan of jokes that go on and on to the point of absurdity, and by giving Josh Brolin’s time-traveling cyborg Cable more “grimdark” speechifying, this version actually turns him from a Frank Miller-type character to more of an Alan Moore parody of same.
But then there are actual cinematic changes, too. Music cues in some cases are completely different, substituting hard-charging action score for lower-key or counter-intuitive tunes that make for a more comedic tone and render some of the extreme violence more slapstick (Boo to replacing the acoustic “Take on Me” with a replay of Celine Dion’s “Ashes,” though). We now meet Russell/Firefist (Julian Dennison) before Deadpool does, as their stories are shown on parallel tracks: as a broken Deadpool goes to the X-Mansion to be fixed, a not-broken Russell goes to the “Reeducation Center” to be tortured by Eddie Marsan’s headmaster, whose evil is more telegraphed in advance. When Russell later laments how he keeps waiting for someone to save him but nobody ever does, it carries that much more weight.
Some choices feel like freedom from studio mandates: there are more digs at Fox and competing superhero movies, and a running gag about Deadpool accusing Cable of being racist that was probably too iffy for the suits. Other added running gags make existing ones more funny with callbacks: “Donde esta la biblioteca,” is the most notable, but Deadpool also snickers like Beavis and Butt-head in a few scenes now; for example, whenever Cable says something like “You always make it hard.”
Speaking of butts, the whole “prison wallet” sequence involving Russell’s hidden pen has some enhanced gross-out sound effects, which actually make Deadpool’s revulsion to it throughout the movie a bit more understandable. And Colossus gets propositioned a lot more, with Deadpool at one point getting close to undoing his pants…and we won’t speak of what he does to the soap dispenser (what was only hinted at before is spelled out in full now).
None of this takes away from the movie’s central theme, however, that Wade Wilson is presented with two possible alternate versions of himself: in Russell, a funny kid consumed with pain; and in Cable, a guy who’s gone past pain to being dead inside and stone-cold ruthless outside. Forced to find a way to somehow make peace between the two, Wade’s going to need a lot of luck and compassion, which he finds literally embodied in Domino (Zazie Beetz) and Colossus (Stefan Kapicic). It becomes, as promised early on, a (dysfunctional) family movie about pushing yourself and others out of emotional ruts, and not making friendship conditional.
In that spirit, the scene that calls back to X-Men Origins: Wolverine now basically has Reynolds pleading for a Wolverine and Deadpool movie. It’s unlikely he’s hinting at something actually in the works, rather than just trying to get an idea out there, but it’s a significant change.
Is it an entirely different experience, as Ryan Reynolds suggested at the Comic-Con panel earlier in the day? Not really. But it does feel a touch more comic-booky, and if you’re a Deadpool fan, that’s pretty much a plus. Find out for yourself when the digital version drops August 7, followed by Blu-ray and 4K versions August 23. The theatrical is also included, so nobody’s childhood is harmed.
Original and Super Duper cut: 4.5/5
Images: 20th Century Fox