"Edited Holiday Release of DEADPOOL 2 Barely Cleans It Up"
ONCE UPON A DEADPOOL is a special holiday release of DEADPOOL 2, which released in May of 2018. This new release has been cut up and sanitized so it can now receive a PG-13 rating – though anyone who thinks a PG-13 rating makes the DEADPOOL movies appropriate is kidding themselves. Despite some of the worst language being (sort of) removed and much of the gore cut out, ONCE UPON A DEADPOOL is still full of foul language, sexual humor and lots and lots of violence. Like DEADPOOL 2, this new release has some strong moral, redemptive themes that ultimately don’t do enough to redeem the movie.
ONCE UPON A DEADPOOL tells the same story as DEADPOOL 2, though it uses a funny framing device. Deadpool (the irreverent antihero played by Ryan Reynolds) has kidnapped an adult Fred Savage and tied him up in a bedroom set designed to look like the bedroom in the 1987 movie THE PRINCESS BRIDE. Deadpool then forces adult Savage to listen as he tells the story from DEADPOOL 2, though the pair of characters cut in numerous times to comment on the action.
The story goes like this: Wade Wilson, aka Deadpool, is still violently killing bad guys. However, just when Wade and his fiancé Vanessa (the prostitute from the first movie) have decided they want to start a family, some of those bad guys break into their apartment and kill Vanessa.
Thinking her death is his fault, Wade tries to kill himself multiple times, but his power of regeneration simply brings him back to life each time. An X-Man named Colossus, who keeps an eye on Wade, convinces Wade to join the X-Men. The only rule is that Wade can’t kill anyone.
Their first mission is to save a 14-year-old boy, Russell, who’s escaped a mutant orphanage. When Wade finds out the boy was molested by the orphanage staff, he disobeys Colossus’s orders and starts killing the creepy staff. Wade and Russell are arrested, restrained with neck devices that take away their powers and thrown into a high-security prison.
In the prison, Russell tries to become buddies with Wade, but Wade rejects the boy. Then, a mercenary from the future named Cable breaks into the prison to kill Russell, because Russell’s future self murders Cable’s family. Wade stops Cable from murdering Russell and manages to escape from the prison alone.
In a vision, Wade sees Vanessa waiting for him in Heaven. She tells him they can’t be together because his heart isn’t in the right place. So, Wade decides that he needs to do the right thing and save Russell. Wade enlists a team he calls the X-Force, which includes Domino (a woman whose super power is being lucky).
Can Wade save Russell and find his way back to Vanessa?
ONCE UPON A DEADPOOL is funny at times, and many of the scenes between Reynolds and Savage are genuinely hilarious. The movie is at its best when it’s making fun of itself. Reynolds frequently breaks the fourth wall, and references the fact that this is a movie. He also references other franchises, at one point saying this movie is so dark it ought to be a DC movie. The self-deprecating humor definitely gets the most laughs, but it also sometimes becomes repetitive.
In fact, ONCE UPON A DEADPOOL is better seen as a comedic superhero movie spoof than a true action movie. The plot is choppy and full of holes, and the action sequences have been so edited down and sanitized from DEADPOOL 2 that they’re hard to follow.
The movie’s strongest point is the heart of the story between Wade and Vanessa, as well as Wade’s friendship with Russell. While the first DEADPOOL has Wade pursuing a life of selfishness and resisting the call to be a hero throughout the movie, this sequel flips all that. Wade wants to have a family, and he doesn’t want to repeat the mistakes his father made. When his fiancée dies, he also tries to help a young boy and tries to show the boy he doesn’t have to become a murderer. As a result, ONCE UPON A DEADPOOL has a strong moral, redemptive theme of sacrifice, friendship and family that’s quite surprising considering the content of the first DEADPOOL movie.
That said, ONCE UPON A DEADPOOL has some conflicting messages that are politically correct, unbiblical and even Anti-Christian. One of the villains is the head of the orphanage who abused Russell. The orphanage is a “Christian” institution that clearly represents gay conversion organizations, and the staff are all called pedophiles. Also, one of Wade’s friends, a taxi driver from the first movie, dreams of becoming a contract killer and gets his craving for murder later in the movie. There’s also a theme of lawlessness as Wade convinces some of the X-Men to break the rules they’ve set up for themselves.
In comparison to DEADPOOL 2, this new release doesn’t have many overt stated “f” words. However, there are many implied “f” words, and much of the movie’s humor relies on NOT saying the “f” word when they want to say it. Even so, not using “f” words doesn’t clean up the movie’s still frequent foul language. ONCE UPON A DEADPOOL also cuts cut out some of the gore, but the intense violence is still there. It has also blurred out the nudity in the original movie.
In the end, ONCE UPON A DEADPOOL is only somewhat less vile than DEADPOOL 2. It still contains filthy language, lots of sexual humor, and intense violence. So, MOVIEGUIDE® still rates ONCE UPON A DEADPOOL an unacceptable movie, despite the story’s underlying moral, redemptive theme promoting family and sacrifice.
ONCE UPON A DEADPOOL is an edited PG-13 holiday release of DEADPOOL 2, which was rated R. In this sequel, Deadpool’s fiancée is murdered. To recover from his distress and ensure he reaches Heaven with his fiancée, Deadpool decides to help Russell, a troubled, 14-year-old mutant boy named Russell. Russell is targeted by a mercenary from the future named Cable, because the adult Russell murdered Cable’s family. Deadpool decides to do the right thing and try to save Russell. ONCE UPON A DEADPOOL is framed by references to THE PRINCESS BRIDE, including scenes with an adult Fred Savage.
ONCE UPON A DEADPOOL is a better comedy spoof than a superhero movie. While the first DEADPOOL movie had little to redeem it, ONCE UPON A DEADPOOL has surprisingly strong moral, redemptive themes of sacrifice, friendship and family. The PG-13 rating doesn’t clean up DEADPOOL 2, however. ONCE UPON A DEADPOOL has cut out the nudity, much of the gore and the “f” words, but still relies heavily on sexual humor, foul language and violence. Also, it contains some politically correct, Anti-Christian elements and pagan content.