Movie Review: ‘ONCE UPON A DEADPOOL’ a fun, yet pointless retread

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James C. Clay  // Film Critic

ONCE UPON A DEADPOOL

Rated PG-13, 119 minutes
Director: David Leitch
Cast:  Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Zasie Beets, Morena Baccarin, Julian Dennison, Karan Soni

DEADPOOL 2 was one of the more fun filmgoing experiences of this year. Ryan Reynolds and director David Leitch (ATOMIC BLONDE) flavored the sequel to be more of the same snarky and raunchy R-rated behavior from big red – but that fizzy red flavor tastes so good.

Best guess is if you are interested in seeing ONCE UPON OF DEADPOOL, it is contingent on three things: you’re under 17, you have a family, or you are a massive fan of the Merc with a Mouth. This heavily edited down version of the film consists of deleted scenes that are already on the Blu-ray, which has been out for three months, and there are shots and scenes that are noticeably missing from the film. Spite of all that, the effervescence of Wade Wilson shines through in this mostly enjoyable retread. Essentially if you fit one of the three criteria above, you should buy a ticket for this limited engagement. 

It’s hard to tell you not to go see this film in which proceeds go to charity; however, there is a cynical side that the producers of the film are seeing how well a muted version of Deadpool would factor in at the box office, given 20th Century Fox is on the fast track to being owned and operated by Disney. 

The framing device for the film is cute as hell, and, of course, made for some great marketing techniques. ONCE UPON A DEADPOOL gets a grown-ass Fred Savage (playing himself)  in a bedroom replica from THE PRINCESS BRIDE (which is also owned by FOX). Deadpool reads him a book called “Deadpool 2: The King James Version.” Their little narrative cutaways make for about 12-15 minutes of the runtime, where Fred acts as the “film nerd” surrogate and questions the validity of Cable’s (Josh Brolin) time travel, takes Mr. Pool to task for “fridging,” a.k.a. killing Vannessa, which reduces her to nothing but a plot device. Fred Savage’s surname has never been more fitting than here as he eviscerates the film left and right laying waste to the problems with the film’s narrative. 

In terms of how much DEADPOOL 2 is cut down, the film just has the meat and potatoes of the plot structure. The smaller moments and musical drops are sadly left on the cutting room floor. Than means no Deadpool assassinating people while in high heels and blaring Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5,” and Celine Dion’s “Ashes” (which legit gets me emotional) are no where to be found other than a hint of the tune in the score. However, you get the essence of what makes Reynolds so great in this role. The punch is just lacking, and that is sort of the point. Parents will still want to caution taking the younglings to this one, but I couldn’t imaging a more fun trip than a parent taking their 12-14 year-old-kid to a movie that pushes the boundaries of what is tasteful. 

This neutered version of DEADPOOL 2 has no reason to exist on its own terms, as literally everything content wise you most likely have at home already, but the charm is still there. Unless you are just itching to contribute to charity – which we all should be in this time of giving – than go spend those are earned movie dollars on a film that needs your support at the box office. I’m very much in line with the idea behind ONCE UPON A DEADPOOL, even if it’s a bit pointless. 

Grade: B-