Film review: Once Upon a Deadpool
A highly-censored take of Deadpool 2 with additional scenes starring Fred Savage.
Deadpool 2 synopsis: Wisecracking mercenary Deadpool meets Russell, an angry teenage mutant who lives at an orphanage. When Russell becomes the target of Cable – a genetically-enhanced soldier from the future – Deadpool realises that he'll need some help saving the boy from such a superior enemy. He soon joins forces with Bedlam, Shatterstar, Domino and other powerful mutants to protect young Russell from Cable and his advanced weaponry.
Censoring the popular R-rated superhero comedy Deadpool with a much-loved, PG-rated family classic The Princess Bride was a huge risk. I almost feel like they decided to roll a dice with the idea just to see where it would land.
Truth is, if you’ve already seen and loved the Deadpool films, there’s really no need to see Once Upon a Deadpool as it is just a highly-censored version of Deadpool 2 edited for the kids. You can’t blame the filmmakers for this censored reskinning, though, as releasing a Christmas-themed superhero film during the school holidays is kind of genius. By targeting an audience who hasn’t seen Deadpool before is basically a licence to print money.
Being a fan myself, I was intrigued to see how they could censor an R-rated film filled with swearing, extreme violence and drug references, while maintaining Deadpool’s morbid and quick-witted sense of humour. Once Upon a Deadpool begins with a grown-up Fred Savage waking up in a recreation of the bedroom set from the 1987 film The Princess Bride, only to realise he has been kidnapped by Deadpool who is eager to read his story from a book. This is where the retold story of Deadpool 2 begins.
As far as censoring goes, Deadpool 2 somehow manages to replace the f-word with ‘f-bombs, flipped birds, shits, fudgsicles and freak offs’ subtly enough for viewers to still enjoy the puns. Deadpool’s inappropriate jokes were replaced with new gags and any drug-related content was cut out completely or edited. For example, Deadpool’s stash of cocaine was labelled “booger sugar” – an obvious edit to fans. It was also surprising to see that most of the violent scenes were included but had been heavily edited to avoid innocent eyes seeing any gore.
One of the most painful things about watching a movie with a minor is that you often have to pause to explain what’s happening. As the plot transitions from Deadpool being alive and trying to save the furious teen fire-starter Russell, to Deadpool talking occasionally to his dead wife in a parallel dimension, there are a few mature moments explained. This is where new inserted scenes of Fred Savage and Deadpool in the bedroom story-telling setting fit in. For me, this ruined some of the best parts of Deadpool 2.
Ultimately, I can understand why so many minors would want a taste of the hilarious superhero film, however I fear this censored version for the kids could disappoint fans.
Side note: For every movie ticket sold in the United States, $1 will go towards the charity Fudge Cancer – who changed their name to be more family-friendly for the Once Upon a Deadpool release.
Final Verdict: 2.5/5
Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick and Ryan Reynolds.
Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, T.J. Miller, Brianna Hildebrand, Jack Kesy and Fred Savage.
M (Mature themes, action violence, sexual references and coarse language).
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