Once Upon a Deadpool brings a few extra laughs but is mainly a vehicle that proves that PG-13 Deadpool doesn't work–and not for the reasons you think.
Director: David Leitch
Summary: Foul-mouthed mutant mercenary Wade Wilson (AKA. Deadpool), brings together a team of fellow mutant rogues to protect a young boy with supernatural abilities from the brutal, time-traveling cyborg, Cable.
Once Upon a Deadpool exists for several reasons. While some reasons are speculation, there are some others we can really pin down. This includes the fact that Fox has an open slot after they delayed Alita: Battle Angel, and also that they want to get some more money from the franchise. Star Ryan Reynolds went on the record saying he would only do a PG-13 cut of Deadpool 2 if some of the proceeds go to cancer research (which they are). The anarchic sense of humor Deadpool is known for means that whenever the line dubs for this re-release don't work entirely or when a sentence or scene ends weirdly, they can pass it off as part of the joke. The added joke of Fred Savage and an extended riff on The Princess Bride is fun and Savage pops in and out of the movie to call out bad plot points, including fridging Vanessa, and lazy writing.
There is nothing bad about Once Upon a Deadpool and it ultimately seems to exist for another reason: to prove that a PG-13 Deadpool doesn't work. The reason, however, for why it doesn't work is likely not what people expect. When they think about Deadpool, they think of the swearing and the dirty jokes. However, the comedy remains and the movie is still funny. A good portion of the jokes still land even without the swearing or anything else. What hurts the movie and proves why a PG-13 Deadpool doesn't work? Turns out it's the violence.
That over the top, gory as hell, crazy to watch violence is what really sets Deadpool 2 and Once Upon a Deadpool apart. The humor that comes from the violence is so insane that it becomes comedic, like seeing Juggernaut rip Deadpool in half or Wade falling on the table in the prison. The entire opening montage of Deadpool killing people across the world is cut and it just isn't as fun to watch. The swearing and the dirty jokes are funny but everyone in the cast is a gifted enough comedic actor that they can pull it off without that element. Without that over the top violence, though, the movie just isn't as much fun as it could be.
Once Upon a Deadpool has some real standout moments, including the incorporation of a lot of the extended cut into the movie, and the stuff with Savage works pretty well. There is also a great final scene once the credits end, but in the end we are spoiled for choice right now with so many great movies being released. Your ticket money is partially going to a good cause, which is nice, but you could also donate to a cancer charity and stay home to watch your uncensored Blu-ray of Deadpool 2 instead.
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