Review by J.T. Johnson
Okay, so this won’t be like my usual movie reviews as I’m pretty much just reviewing another version of “Deadpool 2” with the release of “Once Upon a Deadpool”. Let’s just go ahead and get the main point out of the way. This PG-13 version of the second Deadpool film is nothing more than a quick cash grab… and I’m totally fine with that.
However, I must say that the film does expose two truths about the Deadpool film series. The first is that this version of the film features new footage with Deadpool telling the story of “Deadpool 2” to Fred Savage, the actor he has kidnapped and placed into a recreation of the bedroom set from “The Princess Bride”. This footage is quite funny and it is a great framework to set this new and tamer cut of the movie.
The problem is that the original footage from the original film has been cut down into what is essentially a television edit of the movie. The story is the same as Deadpool tries to save a kid from destroying not only his own soul but also the future where Cable comes from. The problem is that these particular films do work better with all the violence.
That’s because the Deadpool films have set themselves up as the anti-superhero films, directly opposing the more family friendly fare out there on the market. Trying to force Deadpool into that formula ultimately doesn’t work. I found myself sitting in the theater waiting for the scenes with Savage to appear and while I was watching the watered down “Deadpool 2”, it just made me want to go home to watch the original version with all the violence and swearing intact.
Now, I’m not going to bash this version of the film too much. Theatrically speaking, the film is only in the theaters for a limited engagement and part of the proceeds for this film is going to to Fuck Cancer, an organization that Ryan Reynolds has supported in the past. In fact, the organization has recently changed their name to Fudge Cancer in order to support this film’s PG-13 cut.
Finally, I think this version would have been more effective in a couple of ways. One, they could have made this a major television event. Since they’re going to have to edit this film for its eventual television release anyway, they could have made a big deal about shooting new footage in order to make the cut work on the small screen.
Another way would have been to simply release it on Blu-Ray, either on its own or with a future release of the original film. Ultimately, I can’t recommend going to the theater to see this film, but I can recommend it for when it is finally released for home video. It’s still “Deadpool 2”, so I ended up having a good time and at least I felt good knowing that part of my ticket went to a worthy charity.
“Once Upon a Deadpool” will inevitably go down as one of the footnotes of the Deadpool film series. You’ll be standing around with friends and someone will remind you that this version of the second film exists. “Hey, remember when they released that PG-13 version?”
I will leave this review with one final note. Should you check out this version, stay through the credits all the way to the end. They give a surprisingly touching tribute to Stan Lee, the former editor of Marvel that recently passed away and they also show outtakes from his cameo in the original “Deadpool 2” teaser trailer.