Take a rated R character from a rated R movie and make him PG-13. This will surely end well.
Synopsis: A Deadpool fairy tale that gives zero F’s. (20th Century Fox)
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Fred Savage, and Josh Brolin
Writers: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, and Ryan Reynolds
Director: David Leitch
Rating: PG (Canada)/PG-13 (United States)
Running Time: 117mins
Sure, a rated R superhero franchise will not be for everyone so the idea of making it accessible to a larger audience is a commendable one but it was never going to work with this particular superhero franchise. In essence, the neutering of Deadpool and the Deadpool franchise meant stripping everything that made the character and the series what it is and leaving a mediocre husk of a film. In this case, this new film is a butchering of this year’s Deadpool 2, an already disappointing sequel. Suffice it to say, those who have seen Deadpool 2 have already seen this film since it was pretty much the same film with the exception of some extra content and one large gimmick to tie everything together.
To distract from all the material that had to be cut out of the film to bring it down to a PG/PG-13 rating, the film features a series of scenes between Deadpool (Reynolds) and a kidnapped Fred Savage. This version of Deadpool 2 was presented as a story told to Savage by Deadpool intercut with occasional interruptions/commentary by Savage. These scenes were the best part of the film as they were a nice way to add some of the meta humor that the franchise is known for. Touching the current state of the Marvel universe and poking fun at Deadpool 2 itself, it was hilarious to watch but the problem with that was that there weren’t nearly enough of these scenes and they would become more and more infrequent as the film went on.
In terms of Deadpool 2, that film had its own problems so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that cutting it only made them worse, making a film that wasn’t all that fun to begin with even less fun or personality. Though those who haven’t seen Deadpool 2 may not notice it as much, the removal of certain scenes made the film fill disjointed as a whole. There was no flow between scenes as they would always seem to end so abruptly. In addition, the cutting of these vital scenes destroyed the main Deadpool 2 story, rendering it incoherent and dull (if you’ve seen Deadpool 2). Technically speaking, what was left for this film was still good despite being made generic by all the editing.
Regardless of the material, Ryan Reynolds will always be Ryan Reynolds and that still goes a long way. Just like Deadpool 2, the material missed more often than hit but was even less effective this time around. In spite of this, Reynolds carries this film once again on charm alone. Savage was great in limited screen time and had excellent chemistry with Reynolds. The film missed a huge opportunity by not going further with them. Despite mostly being a rehash of Deadpool 2, expect a post-credit scene. This film featured the same post-credit scenes as Deadpool 2 but those who can wait until the end will be treated to something special.
Overall, if you haven’t seen Deadpool 2, this may be your kind of film. However, this neutered version of Deadpool and the Deadpool franchise is just an incoherent mess that was nowhere near as fun as DP 2, a movie that wasn’t that fun to begin with. A Deadpool/Fred Savage offering would have been much more entertaining. The term “cash grab” has been used to describe this film and this is unfortunately the case here. Let that be a lesson to film studios to leave rated R superhero franchises alone.