Once Upon a Deadpool
If Deadpool is known for two things, they’re his metatextuality and the fact that he’s definitely not for young kids or those with delicate sensibilities. With this week’s release of Once Upon a Deadpool, the naughty superhero is limited (for the first time) by a PG-13 MPAA rating, so he instead amps up the meta references and calls on other pop culture touchstones to keep up appearances.
Make no mistake, Once Upon a Deadpool is merely Deadpool 2 edited down to a family-friendly rating, and then framed by an extended homage to The Princess Bride. The core of the film is just the previous movie. In fact, IMDb doesn’t even recognize them as separate entities. We once again get to follow Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) as he makes fun of X-Men, fights with Cable (Josh Brolin), tries to save Firefist (Julian Dennison), and unsuccessfully forms his own supergroup, called X-Force. Nearly all of the jokes and gags are still included in Once Upon a Deadpool, just with fewer swears. Surprisingly, a lot of the porn references and double entendres are still present, complete with Wade’s big winks to the camera. Who knew so much of Deadpool 2 was fine for kids?
Given that Deadpool can’t ever hesitate to have fun with a gag, the newly added scenes have a a field day highlighting what can and cannot be done within the new, lower age rating. The character lists how many of each cuss word are allowed and carries what looks like a remote car key that bleeps out any superfluous swears. Even though Fred Savage (played by Fred Savage) is being held against his will, he gets into the swing of riffing on censorship too.
A few other newly added details sprinkled throughout the film are fun to discover. And, as always, there are multiple post-credit sequences, including an extended nod to the late Stan Lee, which begs you to stay in your seats until the ushers kick you out of the theater.
I’m not sure how necessary Once Upon a Deadpool is for this world, and it certainly has nothing to do with the holiday season, but it isn’t doing any harm either. As a fan of Mr. Pool, I am always happy to spend a little more time in his world, and this helps me do just that.