A few thoughts regards watching Deadpool on a 4K UHD disc. Long-time/frequent readers may recall my less than ecstatic cinema review of Deadpool from 2016. My reservations have cooled somewhat in the years since- its fine for what it is, but if someone really wants to see an anti-hero rip up genre conventions and subvert superhero films in general, you need to get some brave film-maker (and even braver studio with a hit squad of lawyers) to shoot a movie based on Pat Mills/Kevin O’Neil’s Marshall Law strip instead (I recently re-read my copy of the deluxe edition of Marshall Law and laughed myself silly whilst cringing in horror). But Deadpool is fine- pretty damn fine in fact, now that some of that hype has faded somewhat (I still prefer Watchmen though).
Thanks to the recent Amazon Prime Day sales, I’ve gotten hold of Deadpool on 4K and good grief, it looks pretty gorgeous. Now, here’s the funny thing about 4K- what likely hinders the format isn’t so much the debatable difference between standard HD and 4K- its there, but only on the very largest panels will anyone really notice without standing damn close to the screen (the difference between SD and standard HD, meanwhile, is quite another matter, particularly on larger screens, but as HD is always upscaled anyway by the panel, it just makes the difference between HD and native 4K harder to distinguish, particularly from a distance).
What really shows a big improvement is the WGC (wider colour gamut, i.e. more varied and subtler colours/shades) and, in particular, HDR,which ensures brighter, dynamic contrast range between very bright whites etc against very dark blacks. The trouble with HDR though is that it varies in performance pretty widely depending on the quality of your panel (aha, so there really is a reason why some panels are much more expensive than others), or even the source (are you watching it via streaming, and if so whats the compression like, or via a digital download or (preferably, but not exclusively so) via disc). There’s also some variety of HDR formats- the main two being HDR10 and Dolby Vision, which can sometimes vary between formats even with the same title (BR2049 on disc is HDR10 but on digital its Dolby Vision) and not all panels or players are compatible with all the formats… really, you’d think the studios/tech boys would sort stuff out prior to launch.
So it may sound strange to read that my own biggest ‘wow’ about watching Deadpool in 4K wasn’t more grisly detail in the violence and gore but rather the exterior daytime scenes and the gorgeously natural-looking lighting. Through the combination of a wider colour field and the depth afforded by the HDR, the sky suddenly blooms and the lighting feels more natural and authentic. The sky just glows, the clouds more vibrant and shades more varied, and the lighting of the overall scene just seems wholly natural. It just suddenly looks real, as if looking out of a window at a real scene. Its a funny thing and hard to explain, but somehow it looks more convincing- 3D was just a diversion, immersion-wise, the real deal is the wider range of colours and dynamic range. I have a suspicion that if HDR was compatible with standard HD, then that would be so impressive many punters would delay upgrading to 4K at all… aha, those clever buggers at Sony/LG/Panasonic etc, I see what they did there…