Once Upon a Deadpool is an edited version of Deadpool 2, which was released earlier in 2018. Once Upon a Deadpool is an attempt to reach wider and younger audiences, with much of the gore, explicit language and darker adult themes of the original cut removed.
The movie follows wise-cracking and irreverent anti-superhero Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) as he tries to protect the out-of-control teenage mutant Russel Collins – or Firefist (Julian Dennison) – from Cable(Josh Brolin). Cable is a time-travelling soldier who has come from the future to avenge the death of his wife and child. Russel has escaped from the mutant orphanage where he says the orphanage staff abused him. Deadpool realises that he needs help to keep Cable away from Russel, so he puts together a team of superheroes and mutants. Together they must save Russel and convince the boy not to use his anger for destructive and evil purposes.
In a surreal but very funny twist on the original movie, Deadpool himself narrates the story, reading it from a book to the now adult actor Fred Savage. Deadpool has kidnapped Fred and strapped him to the bed, forcing him to recreate his role in the 1987 classic movie, The Princess Bride.
Superheroes and superpowers; family; humour; suicide; loss of a spouse; institutional child abuse
Once Upon a Deadpool has very frequent violence. For example:
- Characters use weapons like guns, knives, nunchaku and explosives to kill others or defend themselves. Many people are injured or killed in this movie.
- There’s a lot of hand-to-hand combat with martial arts-style kicking, punching and hitting.
- Several characters die in serious accidents. For example, they fall onto the blades of a helicopter, go through a wood chipper, get electrocuted and so on.
- One of Deadpool’s superpowers is that he can’t die. Therefore, he is frequently maimed or injured but suffers no serious consequences. For example, he’s torn in half by a giant mutant so he must ‘regrow’ his legs.
- A prisoner stabs a pen through Deadpool’s hand.
- Deadpool holds a gun to his own head and tries to kill himself, hoping that it will reunite him with his dead wife.
Once Upon a Deadpool has some sexual references, innuendo and crude humour. For example:
- Vanessa reveals that she wants to start a family with Deadpool. She talks about watching pornography with him and then having sex.
- Deadpool is walking around a mansion, looking at the portraits of elderly white men on the walls. He makes a comment that links them with rape.
- Deadpool is talking to two young women and says, ‘I like to think that I’ve rubbed off around you too’.
- Deadpool is justifying why he wants to rescue Russel, and he makes a comment about Russel’s experience of abuse in the orphanage.
- Someone asks, ‘Why is he dressed like a registered sex offender?’
- Cable describes Deadpool as a ‘clown dressed as a sex toy’.
- When a blind lady places her hand on what she thinks is Deadpool’s hand, he says, ‘That’s not my hand’. He suggests that she’s touching his genitals.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Once Upon a Deadpool shows some use of substances. For example, adults drink alcohol in a bar.
Nudity and sexual activity
Once Upon a Deadpool has some nudity and sexual activity. For example:
- When Deadpool is growing a new set of legs after being ripped in half, he has no trousers or underpants on. As a joke, he keeps opening his legs and exposing himself to the other people in the room. His genitals are blurred out.
- Deadpool and Vanessa are cuddling on the sofa, and Vanessa is wearing only a jumper. It looks like they have just had or are about to have sex.
- When Deadpool is hugging another superhero, he starts to stroke the other man’s buttocks.
The following products are displayed or used in Once Upon a Deadpool: Huggies natural care wipes, Disney, Fox, Marvel, DC comics and LinkedIn.
Once Upon a Deadpool has frequent coarse language.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Once Upon a Deadpool is a silly, irreverent and occasionally hilarious movie that makes fun of itself and the whole superhero genre. Although it has been edited from the more explicit version to cater for a younger audience, there’s still a lot of violence and coarse language, so it isn’t suitable for younger children or tweens.
The main messages from Once Upon a Deadpool are to protect your family and to value your friendships.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include courage and willingness to protect your family from harm.
Once Upon a Deadpool could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues like:
- the consequences of violence
- institutional abuse
- grief and the death of a family member.