This is a fascinating experiment. Taking the rated R Deadpool 2 and recutting it to make it PG-13 is intriguing. I especially liked the fact that part of the money made from the box office of the movie goes to fight cancer. “Fudge cancer” is the PG-13 version of that.
Then, they shot a bunch of new scenes featuring Deadpool and Fred Savage, whom Deadpool kidnapped, tied him up, dressed him as Fred’s character from The Princess Bride and read him the story of Deadpool 2. This framing device is all new and very creative, filled with a ton of meta jokes.
I LOVED the Fred Savage stuff. Every scene with Deadpool and Fred are GOLD! I absolutely loved watching every second of these creative bits.
The problem is that the rest of the film felt wrong. Maybe the fact that most of the parts that are remaining was the parts of Deadpool 2 that I did not love. I did not love them killing Vanessa. I was not a fan of of the kid, Russell (Julian Dennison). This movie felt as if it really doubled down on these aspects of Deadpool 2.
Then there was Cable (Josh Brolin), who I thought was great as Cable, but Fred Savage had made a joke about Cable in one of the framing sections. Fred was excited in the story when Deadpool mentioned Cable because of how developed and intricate the character in the comics is, but the joke is that the Cable in this movie was nowhere near as developed as the comic. So they were making crap out of their own film character. I found that strange and I hadn’t considered that.
Then, the story itself just felt off. It did not fit the PG-13 rating. What they did with Deadpool 2 was neutered. Even the best part, the introduction and immediate dispatching of X-Force, is considerably less funny here. Maybe I just knew it was coming, but I think the overall brutality of that moment is what makes it so hilarious and it just is not as funny in this one.
Now, what this tells me is that Deadpool can absolutely survive in a PG-13 world, as they prove with the Fred Savage scenes, but Deadpool 2 can not be redone to be PG-13 and be effective or anywhere near as entertaining as the rated R version.
The most emotion that I had in the film was at the last post credit scene which was a tribute to Stan Lee. It almost brought me to tears. It was a beautiful tribute to the man.
When I first saw Deadpool 2, I loved it, but did not think it reached the level of the first Deadpool. Once Upon a Deadpool’s framing scenes with Fred Savage are every bit as good, if not better, than either film. The rest of the movie is just not up to snuff when compared to the other Deadpool movies.