Once Upon a Deadpool is the answer to the wishes of angry studio executives and parents of pre-teen children. There is now a (somewhat) age-appropriate version of Deadpool 2 being released in theaters. But in true Merc with a Mouth style, there is a twist: Deadpool has kidnapped Fred Savage and is telling him a bedtime story a la The Princess Bride.
Censorship of movies has never been and never will be a good thing. Film is a form of art, and art doesn’t always have to appeal to the masses. The Deadpool comics are known for containing extreme violence, profanity, and innuendos, so it should be expected that the movie adaptations should contain the same things. The release of this slightly tamer version (Deadpool 2 was always tamer than the original, by the way) is almost certainly an attempt to milk even more money out of the IP.
That being said, the movie does have some added material (the stuff with Fred Savage), and it is hilarious. It would be great if there were more of it, though. The amount of new footage is minimal, with there only being a few minutes with Fred Savage and one or two extended scenes being sprinkled in throughout the film. It almost feels like this would have been better suited for release as an alternate cut with the DVD rather than getting its own theatrical run.
The only scene that was noticeably missing from this version of the film was the opening montage, and that’s a shame. It was one of the most violent scenes in Deadpool 2, so it is easy to understand why it had to be cut, but it was also one of the funniest and well-shot sequences in the whole movie.
The main change in the film is that the blood and gore are significantly toned down. The body count is still very high, but they were bloodless kills. Unfortunately, this does make the movie feel significantly less exciting. Furthermore, since the character is so widely associated with elevated levels of violence, the film doesn’t capture the spirit of the comics as effectively.
Another change that had to be made to the film was a reduction in the amount of profanity. However, this is much less jarring than the lack of blood because the movie makes a joke out of it. The film frequently bleeps out the characters for comedic effect. There was one particularly funny gag in which innocent dialogue by Fred Savage is bleeped out to make it seem naughty.
Although the censored version of the movie doesn’t really capture the character properly, it still captures the message of the story. The story still has the same impact and enjoyability (and the same issues) as the R-rated version. So for someone who hasn’t seen a Deadpool film yet, they are unlikely to know what is missing and will enjoy the movie greatly.
Overall, the added content in Once Upon a Deadpool was absolutely hilarious, but it probably isn’t worth a trip to the theaters alone. It is for a good cause, though, so if you have not yet seen Deadpool 2, this is your chance.
Once Upon a Deadpool is playing in theaters for a limited engagement December 12-24.