Once Upon a Deadpool is weird. And not in the way I expected. It is a PG-13 version of Deadpool 2 portrayed as a storybook that Deadpool is reading to Fred Savage in a perfectly recreated set of The Princess Bride. That’s weird. The weird that I didn’t expect was the odd choices of censorship. They take nearly all of the blood out, which results in really strange fight scenes where chainsaws and swords slice through people like butter. There is a scene in the original where Mr. Pool’s arm is broken in a fight, and he uses it to put Cable into a hilarious choke hold. In this version, there is a really jumpy fist fight that miraculously ends up with Deadpool’s arm around Cables neck without explanation. Things like this happen throughout the movie, and it felt really lazy.
Even though the action is bloodless and the swear words are toned down, Once Upon a Deadpool is a hard PG-13. It results in a movie that feels edgier and more hardcore than your average Marvel flick, but has the main characters saying things like “frick” unironically. It is a really weird middle ground that doesn’t really work. Despite this, it is still Deadpool 2 at its core, and Deadpool 2 is still a ridiculously fun movie. When I got over the movie’s awkward pacing and cut action scenes, I did have a fun time. The Fred Savage scenes are brilliant, (One joke about “fighting” Matt Damon is especially wonderful.) but they aren’t as plentiful as I’d like.
Overall, this version of Deadpool 2 is fun, but it ends up feeling more like a lackluster TV cut of a great movie. The scenes added are perfection, but there aren’t nearly enough to make up for the neutered dialogue and action.