Earlier in the year, we were treated with yet another film starring the Merc with a Mouth in Deadpool 2, which we thought was quite a blast. The film managed to add more layers and humour in the sequel, which was also a massive surprise. One of the biggest complaints about 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine was that the character of Deadpool was envisioned completely wrong. He did not tell his signature crude jokes or even talk, which is a crucial element of the Marvel Comics character. This is why the idea behind Once Upon a Deadpool is rather strange to say the least.
Wade Wilson/Deadpool learns of a time travelling mutant assassin known as Cable (Brolin) who is hunting down an extremely gifted child named Firefist (Dennison), and now Wilson must protect the child from being exterminated, as well as dealing with the emotional turmoil of his girlfriend’s death.
So, yes, this has the exact same story as this year’s Deadpool 2, but it is recut as a PG-13 film with a couple of new scenes added in, such as Wilson reading bedtime stories to Fred Savage in the style of the classic The Princess Bride.
When you whittle it down, Once Upon a Deadpool really fails to justify why it exists in the first place. One of the reasons why the previous Deadpool entries worked so well, is because they understood what makes the character appealing - his unapologetic inappropriate humour. This time, as a PG-13 re-working, it does not feel like the Deadpool we know and love, much like in the aforementioned Origins.
There are a number of good, witty jokes to be found here, but it just manages to make you chuckle, instead of genuinely laugh. If you found immense enjoyment with Deadpool 2, there is fun to be had here but we have already seen this film before. Adding in a few bonus scenes doesn’t really give any good reason why this exists. A portion of the proceeds do go to charity, but even still, this feels like it exists to earn lots of money for the studio.
Once Upon a Deadpool fails to justify its existence with a watered down version of the beloved character, even if it does have some clever jokes spread throughout. Ironically, in the UK, this ‘family friendly’ version has received the same certificate as the full-blooded one.
ONCE UPON A DEADPOOL / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: DAVID LEITCH / SCREENPLAY: RHETT REESE, PAUL WENICK / STARRING: RYAN REYNOLDS, JOSH BROLIN, MORENA BACCARIN, FRED SAVAGE / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW