Fox’s “Deadpool 2” opens with a dramatic vignette that sets the stage for the humorously murderous mayhem to come and prepares audiences for a new adventure with the foul-mouthed anti-hero.
The 90-second, full CG sequence created by Method Studios’ New York team, gives a nod to Deadpool fandom with stylised flourishes.
“I’ve always loved Deadpool. In fact, I taught myself to animate using Deadpool back in the day,” said Method Studios Creative Director John Likens, who led Method’s work for both the “Deadpool 2” opening titles and main-on-ends. “The first Deadpool film had such an iconic opening sequence, it set a high bar for the franchise and inspired us to create something equally as strong for the sequel. We thought it would be really fun to take Deadpool through the tropes of Bond film opening sequences, so we pitched the concept to David Leitch and the team. Turns out they loved it as much as we did.”
With the sequence concept greenlit, Likens, together with Method Studios Executive Creative Director Jon Noorlander and a team of Method artists, started to bring the sequence to life, collaborating with Production VFX Supervisor Dan Glass, Director David Leitch, and Producer and lead actor Ryan Reynolds, with Leitch and Reynolds providing much of the creative. In true Deadpool fashion, he breaks the 4th wall and addresses the audience at various points in the opening, all the while stepping through scenarios that boast action and sex appeal, set to Celine Dion’s power ballad “Ashes.”
While Deadpool is portrayed in abstract environments, the character himself is photoreal. Method helped develop a feature film Deadpool asset, which was then keyframe animated into scenes by Method’s Matt Hackett and Goran Ognjanovic. Keeping in line with the Bond-esque visual approach, artists employed dynamic light and shadow, and created stylised transitions.
Said Likens, “The opening sequence went through every department here at Method New York so our entire team brought something to the table. It was a really fun project; everyone was doing their best work and it was definitely a career highlight for me.”
Bookending the feature, a smaller design team at Method also created the main-on-end titles for “Deadpool 2.” The 90-second sequence features a montage of crayon drawings, presumably done by Deadpool, that revisit scenes from the film. Likens drew nearly 60 different scenarios for the sequence by hand, with about half making it into the final cut.
Likens concluded, “We had a lot of back and forth with production on the jokes and how far to push things. There’s so much Deadpool culture and memes to pull from, it was a really fun exploration and I hope the audience enjoys the drawings. My personal favorite is Deadpool dressed as Blind Al – smile for GrannyPool!”
Additionally, Method VFX teams handled about 300 VFX shots in the feature and Skip Kimball of Method sister company EFILM provided the colour grade.
“Deadpool 2” is now in theatres. More info and showtimes can be found here