Once Upon A Deadpool is exactly as it is advertised. It’s a fun, censored re-release of Deadpool 2 made to be a light holiday event. It features the exact same story just with added scenes of Deadpool reading to an adult Fred Savage in a replica of the bedroom from The Princess Bride. However, the opening credits scene with Celine Dion singing “Ashes” is nowhere to be found.
The fact that this is the PG-13 version of Deadpool 2 allows it to be even more self-referential since that’s the nature of the character and is what makes him so distinctive. However, given how the original Deadpool 2 goes overboard with its self-referential routine, it can go even more overboard at times here.
That being said, since this is essentially a rewatch, it allowed me to appreciate certain aspects of Deadpool 2 that I missed the first time around. For instance, there’s Josh Brolin as the time-traveler Cable. Brolin expertly plays him as a fiercely determined assassin while acting as a comedic straight man opposite the very rowdy Deadpool. Also, the performance by Zazie Beetz as Domino is even better upon a repeat viewing. Much like Josh Brolin as Cable, Beetz is playing the straight man opposite Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool. But she still demonstrates hidden dramatic depths once the film reaches its climax
As for whether Once Upon A Deadpool feels watered down by its PG-13 rating, it almost does because along with the parodical routine of the Deadpool movies, the ultra-violent nature fits the movies as well. What makes Deadpool so distinct is how he is unconventional with his constant breaking of the fourth wall and also, his penchant for violence. By depriving one of those aspects, it doesn’t feel like this film has the same kind of Merc With A Mouth.
Because of this, Once Upon A Deadpool ends up being an adequate gimmick that doesn’t entirely pan out. Truth be told, it’s just Deadpool 2 with a PG-13 rating and Fred Savage. It may be satisfying for Deadpool fans looking for a rewatch but that’s all it is. It makes an interesting rewatch because of its censoring but it’s still a plain rewatch. As a result, there’s not much else to really say. If you still choose to go and check out Once Upon A Deadpool, by all means do so. You could do better with your time and choose another way to celebrate the holiday season. But at the same time, you could still do far worse.