Talk about double dipping. At a glance, Once Upon a Deadpool might seem like a simple cash grab, a ploy by 20th Century Fox to earn some quick bucks by taking an R-rated hit film, cut away various violence-filled scenes and expletives to make the move a little more palatable to a younger crowd, and earn more box office. And in a way it is, but strangely enough, the movie still manages to somehow make itself work.
That’s right. This is not a new Deadpool movie, but a PG version of Deadpool 2. But before more is said, this is to remind you all that this is not an in-depth review about what went down in the movie. If you prefer to read that, head on down to our review of Deadpool 2! This review is solely for Once Upon a Deadpool, a cleaner Disney-fied (see what we did there?) version of Ryan Reynold’s iconic portrayal of the merc with a mouth, and warning, spoilers abound.
Is this safe enough to bring your kids to? Is this a watered down version of the entertaining Deadpool 2 (which grossed over US$730 million worldwide)? Regardless, just be prepared to be entertained. Call this movie what you want, but despite being a ‘cleaner’ version of Deadpool 2, Once Upon a Deadpool still has all the wit and brevity of the original, while still having something new to offer in it’s family-friendly framing device.
Said framing device, is basically introducing former child star Fred Savage, who has been kidnapped by Deadpool, and duct-taped to a young boy’s bed to try and recreate his part in The Princess Bride, while being forced to listen to Deadpool reading a book entitled Deadpool 2: King James Edition. You know, that insidious book that has been “filtered through the lens of childlike innocence”?
Every once in a while, the movie cuts back to the Savage and Deadpool when the former has a question or a comment to make, very much like The Princess Bride.
One thing noticeably missing from the movie is the familiar F-bomb, which in Once Upon a Deadpool is given the good old f[bleep]-ing censorship courtesy of a little button in Deadpool’s hand. Not that it helped, you can clearly still see them mouthing the words. A scene involving Savage going into a long monologue about how he wished to f[bleep] Matt Damon (‘Fight’, he said that he’s always wanted to fight Damon. Get your minds out of the gutter.) was particularly chuckle-worthy, and probably the best gag out of the whole movie.
The banter between Savage and Deadpool is another thing to look forward to in this movie. As it turns out, Savage also happens to be a Marvel fan and goes into an amusing spiel about Deadpool 2’s lack of care for Cable’s nuanced backstory, and refuses to acknowledge the Deadpool films as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
That said, Once Upon a Deadpool, despite being just a humorous and fourth-wall breaking as the original, misses its superhero landing just a bit. With the many cuts to integral scenes in the movie messing up the flow of the new movie, it feels as if a chunk of what makes a Deadpool movie a Deadpool movie is being cut away too. While the film is definitely able to sit comfortably with a PG-13 rating now, is it really worth it when it results in a movie that is disjointed in places, and results in scenes that feel out of place due to the loss of a suitable build up?
Actually, it kind of is.
As mentioned, the humour in the film is certainly on point – if your brand of humour just so happens to be of the crude, fourth-wall breaking, meta-commentary on pop culture and lazy scriptwriting kind. While the film is by no means family-friendly with its many R-rated undertones still apparent in the movie, it still is a fun watch for the teens and young adults audience it is trying to reach.
The movie also offers two new after-credit scenes – one incredibly meta one involving Savage and Deadpool praising after-credit scenes… in an after-credit scene, and the second one being a tribute to the late Stan Lee, featuring several unseen cuts from the Deadpool 2 trailer involving Lee and an interview where when asked what he would like to be remembered for when he’s gone, Lee replied succinctly, “That he wrote some really good stories.”
Man, right in the feels.
One notable change in the script happens in the Ice-Box, the prison cell Deadpool and Russell find themselves in, where a joke about the under-age mutant winning an award for having the softest lips in prison has now been changed to having the most “pinchable cheeks”.
Despite all that, if you still wish to go ahead and watch a PG-13 version of a clearly superior movie you’ve already watched, then step right up, grab a chimichanga and go watch Once Upon a Deadpool.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
Of all the double dipping that Hollywood does, this is one of the better ones. (Oh, and we kept the ratings for this version identical to Deadpool 2. Don’t f[bleep] with us on this. Fight, we meant fight!)
Story - 8.5/10
Direction - 9/10
Characterisation - 8/10
Geek Satisfaction - 10/10