I’ll be seeing Once Upon a Deadpool today—the new PG-13 version of the very, very, VERRRRRY R-rated Deadpool 2. But already, without having seen a second of the new cut, I’m super conflicted.
On one hand, Deadpool (actor Ryan Reynolds under the mask and prosthetics) can be pretty funny, and much of Deadpool 2’s humor doesn’t rely on crass sexuality, violence and language to pull a chuckle. Deadpool is at his best when tossing off clever in-the-know asides and fourth-wall-breaking monologues.
So why grouse about making a superhero movie cleaner? It’s what you’d think we’d be pushing for, right?
But here’s the thing: Because the movies are pretty funny, and because some parents will drag their kids and teens to this ostentsibly “family friendly” version of Deadpool 2, lots of children may want to know—and see—more of the Merc With a Mouth. And as the guy who reviewed both of ’em, let me tell you, Deadpool flicks don’t just dip their toes in R-rated content: They submarine in it.
A line from my original Deadpool 2 review:
Sometimes, I do wonder if [the makers of Deadpool] read our reviews and ask themselves, Selves, how can we make the next Deadpool movie actual, physical torture for Plugged In reviewers to write about?
The original comic book character is no less problematic. Deadpool initially drew fans in with the same queasy combination of clever comedy, violent grotesquery and sexual uncertainty. (Deadpool labels himself as pansexual.) And lest we forget, even if the content is dialed down, the character itself put the anti in antihero: He kills with wild abandon and often makes fun of do-gooders with a more reliable moral compass. That, my friends, is an issue.
Because Deadpool has been an inherently and historically problematic character, it feels like cutting the flick down to PG-13 feels a little … disingenuous?
But enough from me. I’m really interested what you have to say about this issue. Is a PG-13 recut of Deadpool 2 a good thing or not? Let us know below, or shoot me a tweet @AsayPaul.