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Deadpool 2: Once Upon a Deadpool
I've generally been off of films from the Marvel/Disney and DC/Warner production houses (I think the last film that included a superhero of some sort was Justice League almost a year ago), maybe because of a change of life priorities or whatnot, but I just can't get into them the way I may have before. And when Deadpool came out I enjoyed their winking about things going on both on and off screen relating to comic book blockbuster films. I saw the first in the theater and I think I saw the second there as well, even knowing that it would be more of the same. And I think we may even be a saturation point on those with the release of Once Upon a Deadpool, a PG-13 cut of the sequel that was released last summer.
Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (Zombieland) return to do work on this screenplay, and David Leitch (Atomic Blonde) takes over the Director's Chair. Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds, Safe House) comes back, this time he has to take care of a young mutant named Firefist (Julian Dennison, Hunt for the Wilderpeople), who is trying to find the cause of all his pain and wants to kill him, but Wade/Deadpool is more concerned that a time traveling mercenary named Cable (Josh Brolin, Inherent Vice), who wants to kill the boy so he can save his own family. A particular poignant note for Wade, since he and Vanessa (Morena Baccarin, Serenity) are trying to start a family of their own before tragedy strikes. That is the overarching story for the film, but One Upon is both recut to meet a PG-13 rating and told similar to The Princess Bride, down to Deadpool reading the story to Fred Savage, in wardrobe and set design inspired from the film.
I don't remember that much from the theatrical run, and I have not seen the Super Duper Cut that came out as part of the 4K release, but in looking just at runtime, the PG-13 cut is about two minutes shorter than the theatrical of 1:59:20 by comparison. The Dolly Parton song gets hard done and some other cuts of blood and gore for obvious reasons, and as Reynolds and Savage explain early on, a lot of the cursing is omitted, sometimes bleeped, but that's saved for the bedtime sequences. When you pop in the disc you get an ‘80s VHS-style menu for the film, scene selection and other choices.
While Deadpool is a nice film if you haven't seen it before, more jokes fall flat in it on repeated viewings. I stayed away for the first film after seeing it and came into the second film knowing it would be more than the same, but MORE of it. More fourth wall breaking, more smirking about comic book and/or superhero films, occasional jokes about body fluids. Which is funny! Generally, but the second Deadpool film once stripped away of this, has a bit of a pedestrian story, and Reynolds, while admirable in the work, doesn't elevate out of the winking and nodding. Brolin may actually be the more interesting character of the two in retrospect. And when you take a film that's more of the same, and try to strip it down to a film with a more family-friendly rating? Well it gets dry, unfunny and long, and that's no way to go through life.
I'm increasingly convinced that Deadpool has transformed from a change of pace to a counterprogramming exercise for the moviegoer, with the sequel now on its third cut. But hey, it gets meta! And it includes funny cameos! And those moments are less resonant and more cute, with nothing else going for it rather than pushing the stone further forward, serving as an exercise in tedium. Once Upon a Deadpool is more pointless than charming, and its existence avoided.The Blu-ray:
Fox presents Once Upon a Deadpool in an AVC-encoded 2.39:1 widescreen presentation, presumably in line with the previous releases and with little to complain about. The bedtime stuff looks OK, with perhaps a little darker lit in Savage's face and Deadpool's costume. As far as the movie goes, oodles of image detail for most of the film in clothing and facial pores, and colors looking vivid, despite a touch of softness in the Firefist introduction. A quality presentation from Fox as you'd expect.The Sound:
The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track brings the sound and the ruckus, with lots of clarity on Deadpool diving into the taxicab, or in any explosions or gunfire, which also includes a subwoofer oomph. The prison scene where Cable tries to kill Firefist being particularly effective in it, with a gun that gets the low end punching with authority, as does Reynolds falling into water during some flashbacks. Dialogue is consistent through the film and presumably is a similar track to the other cuts of the film, in which case there is nothing to complain about even for this redux.The Extras:
Nothing in this package.Final Thoughts:
I'll admit that both Deadpool movies are fun more than not, but the scale on that is sliding fast for the franchise, and taking away the things that are oddly stale but are their raison d'etre while understandable, don't help things in Once Upon a Deadpool. If you like the series you may like this, but you risk seeing the film again, so it'll be inherently not as funny from the jump. Otherwise? You're better off skipping it.