Review: Once Upon A Deadpool

PLOT: Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) kidnaps Fred Savage in order to tell him a sanitized version of the events depicted in DEADPOOL 2.

REVIEW: Despite the clever trailers and online buzz, which suggested this was something more than a toned-down version of DEADPOOL 2 with a little filler, ONCE UPON A DEADPOOL is exactly what more cynical fans thought it was going to be. If anyone, even for a moment, thought Disney might keep the character R-rated, think again. ONCE UPON A DEADPOOL is clearly the creative forces behind the series (notably, star Ryan Reynolds) testing the waters to see if a PG-13 version of the character can work. Whatever the box office result, expect the next adventure of the Merc With a Mouth to be, you guessed it, PG-13. The days of Deadpool dropping F-bombs are likely long gone. We got two hardcore DEADPOOL movies, but that’s that. Were Disney not taking over, ONCE UPON A DEADPOOL wouldn’t exist.

In some ways though, what they’re doing here has been done before. In fact, back in the late-seventies/early eighties, R-rated blockbusters were routinely put out in two versions. SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER got a PG cut which, for a time in the eighties, was the most commonly seen version, while EXCALIBUR got a long-since vanished alternate cut that ran twenty-minutes shorter.

The extra footage with Fred Savage is really going to test audience’s devotion to the character, but it’s hard to justify a half-dozen scenes (that add up to maybe ten minutes of footage) as reason enough to give this a semi-wide release. The only audience I get checking this out are families who might have been scared away by the R-rating, but watching this, you have to question their wisdom. Is bloodless violence, where Deadpool chops people up and shoots them without even a drop of blood, really more socially responsible than seeing splatter? To me, the lack of blood is more sinister, as at least with the blood, as stylized and goofy as it was, they showed that violence had consequences. Here, it’s all clean and sanitized — not a step in the right direction.

Otherwise, the F-bombs are censored or looped out (mostly the latter — which makes this play out like the network television version of the film), while “shits” are left intact. The reticence of the MPAA to allow F-bombs, is, of course ludicrous. It’s telling that, in the UK, this is going out with the same 15 cert the uncut version did. It’s hard to imagine parents thinking this clean version is anymore appropriate than the ruder R-rated cut.

If you’ve seen DEADPOOL 2 already, there’s no real reason to see it. A good chunk of the Fred Savage footage has already been given away in the trailers, and there are no other easter eggs. If you think this is going to be some kind of post-modern, self-aware censoring in the DEADPOOL-model, think again. If it were, Ryan Reynolds would have been making constant jokes about how unnecessary this actually is and how we’re all suckers for having bought tickets. I like DEADPOOL 2 (the score below only represents my thoughts on the recut), and the movie is worth seeing. But, do the director, David Leitch a favour and watch the original cut, as the haphazard editing here makes a mess of his movie. This only exists so that Disney has a version ready for the forthcoming Disney + and to pave the way for DEADPOOL’s entree into the legit Marvel canon. If you really want to send them a message, don’t go out and support this, although my feeling is the die has already been cast.

Review: Once Upon A Deadpool




About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.