There are multiple jokes in Once Upon A Deadpool about lazy writing. So I’m going to rip a page out of Deadpool’s book and compose a review befitting this feeble yet entertaining excuse for a limited (re)release. Once Upon a Deadpool is exactly what it claims to be: a comical retread that downplays the raunch of the R-rated Deadpool 2 just enough to transform it into a PG-13 flick that is, well, family-friendlier. There’s a ban on the use of the “F-word” word; judicious bleeping; strategic pixelating; and a few new zingers that simultaneously mock and celebrate an array of mutant and superhero movies.
The story from Deadpool 2 remains essentially the same, yet it’s framed a tad differently, with a nod to former child star Fred Savage’s role in the 1987 bedtime-story classic, The Princess Bride. Deadpool, aka Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) has kidnapped Fred Savage in order to read him the somewhat sanitized version of all that went down in Deadpool 2. (In keeping with the spirit of Once Upon A Deadpool, I will simply direct you to my original, spoiler-free review of Deadpool 2 from May 2018.)
For those fans of Deadpool and Deadpool 2 who are wondering ‘W(hy)TF would I want to see a tamer version of this sh*t?,’ I don’t know what to tell ya, except that Once Upon does make the most of the Deadpool franchise’s unique blend of shock and schlock, wisecracks, wit and heart – all set to a fun soundtrack. It’s certainly (still) not for little kids, but teenagers steered away from the R-rated version may clamor for bitter sarcasm over sugary sweetness (i.e. Mary Poppins Returns) during the winter break. A spoonful of Deadpool could hit the spot.
Plus, for every ticket sold during the film’s 12-day run, one dollar will go to the charity Fudge Cancer (aka ‘F*ck Cancer). So the PG-13 stunt does aim to do some good this holiday season.
And finally, don’t forget: Once Upon A Deadpool is still a Marvel movie – or, as the self-deprecating Deadpool is keen to point out, a 20th Century Fox in association with Marvel movie. That means you’ll want to stick around, and around, and around throughout the end credits and beyond. Do it for the late Stan Lee.