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article imageReview: ‘Once Upon a Deadpool’ is a fun but fleeting experiment Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Dec 12, 2018 in Entertainment
‘Once Upon a Deadpool’ washes the Merc’s mouth out with soap to present a cleaner, family-friendly version of the movie… and kidnap Fred Savage.
Those who grew up watching certain movies on cable — with commercials — before finally watching an uncut, recorded version on VHS/DVD/laser disc/Blu-ray, know what it’s like to discover scenes, coarse dialogue and graphic images they’ve never seen before. It sometimes changed the whole dynamic of a film and made it impossible to ever go back to the shorter, sanitized version to which you’d been accustomed. Of course, the television cut wasn’t really any less good, but it was unquestionably different. This feeling is gaining relic status with the adoption of streaming and video-on-demand, but Fox has decided to recapture the experience with its PG-rated rendering of Once Upon a Deadpool.
Embracing his infamy, Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is now a globe-trotting killer-for-higher, taking out bad guys for money the world over. The whole can’t-be-killed-thing has been a huge advantage, making him a busy guy in a leotard and mask. When a job goes wrong, Deadpool finds himself under Colossus’ (Stefan Kapicic) care and convalescing at Xavier’s school where he may finally become an X-Man. But that, of course, goes terribly wrong and Wade ends up in mutant jail with a fiery kid named Russell (Julian Dennison) and an uninvited Cable (Josh Brolin). In order to save the future, Deadpool has to learn to play nice with others, including the time-jumping hulk and his new X-Force recruits.
We’ve already reviewed Deadpool 2, so this is going to focus on the family-friendly holiday release, which is “filtered through the prism of childlike innocence.” The movie starts with a fantastic throwback to 1987’s The Princess Bride, in which a young Fred Savage is read an epic adventure by Peter Falk while he’s sick in bed. Now, Deadpool occupies the bedside chair in the fully reconstructed bedroom and an adult Savage has been kidnapped to recreate the beloved movie moment. Just like the film to which they’re paying homage, the picture often cuts back to the incompatible duo to get the hostage’s reaction or record a sarcastic exchange.
As promised, there are no F-bombs in the movie — though there is a lot of (sometimes unnecessary) bleeping. But that’s not to say all the cursing has been removed as subjectively less egregious language remains. Moreover, the blood quotient is way down as various scenes have been cut (including most of the opening worldly assassin montage) and many others have been shrewdly edited or cleaned up to minimize the splatter… though green blood seems to be the exception.
That said, this isn’t just a sanitized version of the rated-R film. There are countless scenes in which the original jokes have been replaced with new ones, likely rescued from the cutting room floor layered with unused, improvised dialogue. The mid- and post-credits sequences have also been updated to align with the new storytelling structure, and they’ve added a touching memorial to Marvel icon Stan Lee at the end.
Nonetheless, as much fun as the Savage/Reynolds interludes are, there’s still that feeling that a lot of the good stuff is missing. So as nice as it may be for families to enjoy the Merc with the Mouth’s exploits together, some things are simply better without the kids. Therefore, enjoy it while it lasts and help raise money for Fudge Cancer, which graciously changed its name for this release, as $1 from every ticket sold will be donated to the charity. “Family is not an F-word,” but Deadpool isn’t the same without it.
Director: David Leitch
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin and Morena Baccarin
More about Once Upon a Deadpool, Deadpool 2, Ryan reynolds, Josh brolin, Fred savage
 
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