The film rating system can be a blessing and a curse, I suppose. I’m at that age where I never check a film’s rating, but now that I have a kid in her preteens, I’m in this dilemma about whether she should see PG-13 (dilemma, only because she’s a few years shy of thirteen). As a good father, when she asks me to take her to see Once Upon a Deadpool (the PG-13 version of Deadpool 2), how could I say no?
Film Threat currently has a perfectly wonderful review of Deadpool 2, so I won’t go too far into the story. Ultimately the question is how different is Once Upon a Deadpool? Is it still a good movie? Is this a big studio money grab? And was I wrong in taking my kid to see it?
“…Wade kidnaps Savage and is holding him captive in a soundstage where Savage’s bedroom is recreated…”
Just a quick memory rejog, Once Upon a Deadpool opens with fridging Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) and placing Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) in a suicidal state. X-Buddy Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) encourages Wade to join the X-Men as a trainee with Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) and her girlfriend Yukio (Shioli Kutsuna). In his first mission to stop a young, powerful mutant, Russell (Julian Dennison) from destroying his orphanage and murdering the headmaster (Eddie Marsan), Wade kills a few people, and both Russell and Wade are thrown in prison. Meanwhile, Cable (Josh Brolin) arrives from the future to kill Russell to prevent a certain apocalyptic future. Wade thinks the future can be saved without killing Russell. This recap took longer than I thought.
How different is the movie? The basic story structure is still intact, but with a significant portion of the blood and gore removed. Most notably missing is much of Wade’s suicide attempts, especially at the beginning. In its place, is the much advertised Princess Bride moments with Fred Savage. Here Wade has kidnapped Savage and is holding him captive in a soundstage where Savage’s bedroom is recreated and reads the story of Deadpool 2 ala the grandfather moments in Princess Bride.
The brilliance of these moments is not just their discussion about swearing and PG-13, but they also get to address the internet chatter about the original Deadpool 2 when it came out. Savage goes right into the problem of fridging Vanessa at the start, and the question of if Wade can regenerate his bottom half, does that mean his bottom half regenerating his top half at the same time. Let’s add on top of the hilarity, comments about X-Men movies not being Marvel, a half a dozen more Princess Bride jokes, and an extended Matt Damon moment.
“…simply cut, replaced, and bleeped whatever they needed to do to get the PG-13 rating.”
So is this a teen’s version of Deadpool 2? Not really, Once Upon a Deadpool simply cut, replaced, and bleeped whatever they needed to do to get the PG-13 rating. I’m sitting next to my daughter, nervous about the literal “shit”-storm; she was taking in (the wife would not approve). It’s still the fast-talking, sex-obsessed potty-mouth Deadpool of the original.
I’ve debated with friends, and colleagues about why Fox would make Once Upon a Deadpool in the first place. Personally speaking, my kid really wanted to see a Deadpool movies, and there was just no way that would happen. This is a close as she’ll get for another five or so years. So yes, it expanded the audience. The worse outcome of this film is Fox (now Disney) deciding that the Deadpool series could continue under the PG-13 banner. The adult me hopes this doesn’t happen. While Once Upon a Deadpool is good, the titular character has always thrived on its mature subject matter from the comics. I also like the fact that there’s a superhero film for just us old demented people.
Lastly, is it a good movie? Yes, only if you liked the original. It still maintains Reynold’s adult comic style, which was off-putting to some, but with a PG-13 filter. No one’s going to say I like Deadpool now that the blood and raunchy moments have been removed.
Once Upon a Deadpool (2018) Directed by David Leitch. Written by Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, Ryan Reynolds. Starring Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, T.J. Miller, Leslie Uggams, Karan Soni, Brianna Hildebrand, Eddie Marsan, Shioli Kutsuna, Stefan Kapicic.
8 out of 10 stars