Once Upon a Deadpool, 2018.
Directed by David Leitch
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, T.J. Miller, Brianna Hildebrand, and Jack Kesy.
I guess this is Deadpool 2.2? Once Upon a Deadpool is a PG-13 version of Deadpool 2 wrapped in a parody of A Princess Bride, complete with a grown-up Fred Savage sitting in a recreation of that famous bedroom set and forced to listen to Deadpool read the story of the movie to him. It’s a funny idea, but whether this is worth owning on home video depends on how big of a fan you are, since there are no bonus features included on the disc.
File Once Upon a Deadpool under “Sounds like a funny idea, but, wait, they really did it?” They did, and they released it in theaters, and now you can buy it on Blu-ray. Unsurprisingly, this PG-13 version of Deadpool 2 wrapped in a parody of A Princess Bride did a whopping $6 million at the box office (okay, fine, $7 million when you add in the overseas totals ($9,141 in Iceland!)), so I’m not sure why Fox thought this was worth some kind of promotional push, rather than making it a bonus feature in a future Blu-ray release.
Yes, it is funny, and, yes, it makes Deadpool 2 more palatable for parents who don’t typically let their tween kids watch R-rated films (I have my hand up here; so sue me). However, I had zero desire to see this one in the theater, and given the fact that this Blu-ray just has three copies of the movie (Blu-ray, DVD, and digital code) and zero bonus features, I doubt I would have owned this one on home video if a copy hadn’t been provided for this review.
As always, though, your mileage may vary. Deadpool completists will want this one, and if you can score a cheap copy, it’s not a bad blind purchase even if you’re not a hardcore fan of the films. It’s well done, even if it is a bit rough around the edges.
Once Upon a Deadpool opens with a recreation of the kid’s bedroom from A Princess Bride, complete with an adult Fred Savage and Deadpool sitting bedside. He’s reading a book version of the Deadpool 2 story that’s been “filtered through the prism of childlike innocence,” as he explains after Savage realizes that he’s been kidnapped and duct-taped to the bed, so he has no choice but to listen.
Deadpool also explains that this version of the story has been sanitized for a PG-13 rating, so he can’t allow copious amounts of f-bombs in this one. When Savage starts swearing, Deadpool pulls out something that looks like a car key remote and presses a button that bleeps out all the obscenities. The gag picks up again later in the movie when Savage says he wants to fight Matt Damon and Deadpool bleeps out the word “fight,” so the actor is now ranting about how he really wants to “f— Matt Damon.”
As in A Princess Bride, the film cuts back to the bedroom every so often so Savage can offer his commentary on the action and Deadpool can drop some more barbed dialogue, although sometimes those moments feel forced. At one point, Savage gets to voice what many people probably wondered when Deadpool was torn in half and had to grow new legs: Did his lower half grow a new torso and head?
“Are there two Deadpools now?” Savage asks. “And if so, what’s the other one doing?” He goes on to posit the possibility of yet another Deadpool if the other one gets torn in half too, concluding, “You can see where it all falls apart.” And then he references a gag from the beginning of the film when he says, “That’s why I prefer Marvel.” “We are Marvel,” Deadpool says (again) with disdain and goes back to the story.
I appreciate a movie that isn’t afraid to make fun of itself and its place in the world. After all, the Marvel films that have been made outside the House of Mouse in recent years have felt a bit like unloved stepchildren, no matter how good they are. However, as Deadpool notes when Savage first brings up the subject, Disney has purchased the Fox entertainment division, so that will change soon.
Who isn’t looking forward to Deadpool taking a spin through the MCU?
One last note: Make sure you stick around for the end credit scenes for this one, since they’ve been changed too.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★