Movie Review: Once Upon a Deadpool - #OnceUponaDeadpool

Release: December 12, 2018
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, T.J. Miller, Brianna Hildebrand, Jack Kesy, Fred Savage

ONCE UPON A DEADPOOL opens in theaters for a limited engagement this holiday season from December 12 through December 24, 2018! 

ONCE UPON A DEADPOOL Official Channels

Yay! It’s the holiday season! Not only does that mean you’re going to spend more money and eat more food, but you’re going to have more time on your hands…and I’m ALL down for that. 
…, but let’s face it. There’s a high chance you’ll need to burn some hours somewhere down the line. So, what should you do with those hours? Well, if you’ve cleared your calendar, don’t like violence/ bad language, enjoyed The Princess Bride, are near a theatre with matinee pricing, happen to be providing care for tweens who love Marvel and/or haven’t seen Deadpool  2, check out Once Upon a Deadpool
If you don’t have that perfect storm, or have already seen Deadpool 2 and don’t need to watch a censored version, you might want to save your time or your reaction of the movie might be a little more “Merc with a Mouth” than the man himself. Despite additional scenes and great performances, the new edit creates a loss of foundation for the character, plot and movie. 
In case you haven’t heard of Once Upon a Deadpool, let’s take you back to Deadpool 2.  Released in mid-May 2018, and directed by David Leitch, Deadpool 2 starred Ryan Reynolds as mercenary Wade Wilson (Deadpool). On the anniversary to his girlfriend Vanessa, tragedy hits as Vanesa is killed. Filled with guilt, Deadpool attempts suicide, but is taken in by the X-Men. Deadpool regains confidence and begins training to become one of them. On an early mission, they intervene a standoff between the police and a new mutant, Russell Collins, at a mutant orphanage. During mediation, Deadpool realizes Russell’s stand-off is actually a call-out regarding abuse at the orphanage. He creates a diversion, which causes them to both be arrested and de-powered. This creates a friendship between the two, which is soon tested. Simultaneously, a solider from the future named Cable (played by Josh Brolin) comes to the present time with intentions of stopping certain future events from happening. Throughout the remainder of the film, we learn more about why Cable needs to stop these events, Deadpool’s search for finding peace, the formation of X-Force (featuring Zazie Beats as Domino) and Russell’s struggles. Oh, and there’s LOTS of violence. LOTS of it. Throw in that, raunchy jokes, loads of cussing and $735.2 million dollars in its’ initial run and you have Deadpool 2. It gained mostly positive reviews from the audience. 
Considering not everyone can see an R-rated movie from the Deadpool fan base… and holiday time (Good move, Marvel!), the movie has been re-released as the PG-13 movie Once Upon a Deadpool. The story is now told as a bedtime tale and features Fred Savage in a homage to The Princess Bridge
The biggest draws of Once Upon a Deadpool are the writing, music and stellar performances. The jokes and new scenes are funny and fresh. With Deadpool, you’re always going to get wise-cracking, non-appropriate, ill-timed and silly commentary. This is why people love Deadpool. I’m glad to see the transition of the character from the comic book to the big screen. The timing of the lines where great. When it needed to be funny, it was funny. When it needed to be serious, it was serious. When it needed to break the ice, it did. The writing kept the movie going in the right direction. What makes the writing even better are the performances. Ryan Reynolds did another great job as Ryan Reynolds. He’s in the “Will Smith” zone of typecasting. If he’s featured in the movie, you know what you’re going to get. You’re going to get sarcastic comedy. Ryan does what he does and he does it well. The rest of the cast holds their own. Josh Brolin (pulling double duty this year as he was also Thanos in Avengers Infinity War) shows his serious militant side as Cable. In the comics, Cable is rugged and determined. Brolin does a great job in playing the role. I hope we see him in the future. Speaking of who else I want to see in the future, I loved seeing Zazie Beats as Domino. Her laid-back and carefree energy was a beautiful balance to Deadpool’s silliness and Cable’s laser-focus. Her mutant power of “luck” was brought to the screen. I loved watching her bring Domino to life and hope she continues to play this character in the future. Big props to Fred Savage, too. He’s hilarious in this movie! I won’t spoil it! And of course, there’s the music. I won’t spoil that either, but this music is DOPE! If you’re a fan of music from the last 30 years, you won’t be disappointed. I will admit to immediately finding the soundtrack and blasting it for days. The music is used right when it needs to be used. Nothing too much. It helps bring the energy back, it hits the movie lines and toward the end, it might even make you shed a tear. 
The most evident drawback of Once Upon a Deadpool is that the edits remove what makes the Deadpool an interesting character. Hear me out on this one. I am definitely not saying that I promote violence and bad language in what should be seen by anyone of all ages, but Deadpool is based on being a mercenary with a mouth. The dude has “Dead” in his name. When you go see or read Deadpool, you KNOW what you want to see. You KNOW what you’re about to get into. The movie had a red band trailer. The PG-13 edit removes most of the violence, a few fight scenes, lots of dialogue and some character development.  Once again, I’m not saying this needs to be in every move, but with Deadpool, that’s his foundation. You’re going to still see the character you wanted, but he looks very reserved. The edits remove all of the uncomfortable anxiety that Deadpool lives by. You don’t get to see how he is displacing his energy through excessive violence. You don’t get to hear all the crazy inner thoughts or how he truly lives. As an adaptation from the comic, the movie doesn’t hold its own in a PG-13 format even with the performances, music and writing. It needs to remain in an R-rated format to keep the right “feel” for Deadpool. The movie does push the PG-13 boundaries through some evident jokes and using the words they CAN use. With the edits, it really impacts the pacing of the first half of the movie. You lose learning the “why” behind the actions of Deadpool. He’s introduced walking into a facility about to bring his justice to a lot of people. Within seconds, he’s in girlfriend’s apartment and she is killed. The emotion and balance is off-set. When Deadpool and Russell’s friendship is tested, you don’t know why or really understand why it’s so emotional. You don’t understand or see the tension between Cable, Russell and Deadpool. It just all gets thrown in.  It just all seems too rushed. It’s hard to understand the story being told. The last half of the movie is pretty much fight scenes and funnies, so it’s a lot better by then, but the first half was confusion and didn’t create any foundation to WHY I needed to care about what was going on. It was very disjointed with the edits in the first hour of the film. To bridge the running time, there’s even some new scenes added. While those are funny, they also seem disjointed to the plot and are obvious cut scenes or something to just fill the time. The exception is anything with Fred Savage. That guy needs to be in any future Deadpool movie. 
For me, personally, I’d give Once Upon a Deadpool a B- rating. It was entertaining, but the pacing was just so misplaced in the first two acts. Would I watch it again? Yes. The homage to The Princess Bride was hilarious. There’s also a beautiful tribute at the very end (Stay PAST the credits, people) that will tug the stings of your heart. I’d probably get a good seat and during the first half go get my concessions. The last half is very good. Would I pay full price or cancel dinner with friends for it? No. I’d go “matinee” because the edits didn’t do justice to the Deadpool story or character. 
If you want the real, unhinged Wade Wilson, see Deadpool 2. That being said, if you are someone who doesn’t like violence, foul language or you want to introduce some tweens to Deadpool, check it Once Upon a Deadpool as a great transition. I’m glad that Marvel did provide a way for everyone to enjoy this story in the way they’d like to. I’m just happy we get more comic book movies. Make mine Marvel!

Alright, till next flick! 

1 comment:

  1. I understand what you mean. Part of Deadpool is that witty humor, and it can be vulgar but it just... works? I understand why they've decided to make this something more PG friendly, so that younger kids who love the comics can enjoy it too. But yeah, it won't quite be the same... :/ Great honest review!

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