I’ve made it clear in the past that I’m not the biggest fan of the Deadpool films. I think they’re okay at best but I’ve just never been able to get into them and had no desire to rewatch them. However, this edit of Deadpool 2 got my attention just through the idea of a version of the film edited to be PG-13. Granted, the central joke of this version of Deadpool 2 doesn’t really work in the UK since it is still rated 15, but I was curious to see how this turned out. What I got ended up lowering my opinion of Deadpool 2 and makes me see it as a pretty bad film now.
The whole joke behind Once Upon a Deadpool is that it is a version of Deadpool 2 re-edited to remove the blood and swearing, with a new framing device of Deadpool having kidnapped Fred Savage and recreating the framing device of The Princess Bride with him. There is good potential in this and there are a lot of great jokes in the scenes with Fred Savage, but ultimately it didn’t really add anything. The cut aways are too few and far between, sometimes going about half an hour between the scenes with Fred Savage, and there isn’t really anything done with the storytelling or editing to give it a more family friendly feel like it was intended. In order for this version of Deadpool 2 to work, they needed to go sillier in the editing and really play up how ridiculous it is that it is a PG-13 version of the film. In the actual film, aside from one line, there aren’t any jokes about the idea of the film and the whole thing just feels like a wasted opportunity.
The big issue with the film though comes with the editing. With the resources of Fox and the clear effort of making a family friendly version of Deadpool 2, I thought more effort would have been put into the editing. As is, it feels like the bare minimum was done for the editing, all the cuts to remove blood and swearing being so obvious and distracting that it ruins the pacing of the film. It just feels like the editing was rushed in order to get this version out before Christmas. Worst of all though, this film heavily exposes the flaws in Deadpool 2. By removing the blood and swearing, it has to rely on the plot of Deadpool 2 to save the film, but by doing so, it shows that the whole reason why I had some fun with Deadpool 2 was because of the elements that were edited out. By doing this, the action scenes and the character beats become a lot more generic, even removing a lot of the fourth wall jokes in the film and I just ended up being bored during the film, with all the issues of poor character development, fridging and tonal inconsistencies coming to the forefront. It’s made abundantly clear that there is no life to Deadpool 2 outside of the blood and swearing which made the action scenes and characters over the top and entertaining.
Overall, Once Upon a Deadpool is the worst kind of re-release, one that makes the original film worse. By removing the gore and swearing, and the subsequent anarchic streak of Deadpool, it just leaves the plot of Deadpool 2, which is ultimately not a compelling one. Since nothing is really done to play into the silliness of being a PG-13 version of Deadpool 2, even in the scenes with Fred Savage, the whole thing just comes across as a cheap marketing ploy used to fill in a gap in Fox’s release schedule. There is still enough good comedy to prevent this from being a truly bad film, but it’s clear just how limited the idea of doing Deadpool films is.
My Rating: 2.5/5