Deadpool 2, the biggest R-rated hit of 2018, finished its theatrical run in October, but on December 12 it returns to theaters in a mutated form as Once Upon a Deadpool, a PG-13 version that Fox hopes with grab the attention of middle-school kids on holiday break.
The just-released trailer for the reconstituted film certainly helps the cause by highlighting the new content added to gussy up the edited-down sequel. That new content is a clever framing device that features franchise star Ryan Reynolds and Wonder Years star Fred Savage.
Early this month, Deadline broke the news about the making of the PG-13 version, but in a nutshell it’s framed by a homage to Savage’s other great child-star success in the Reagan era, The Princess Bride.
'Once Upon A Deadpool': Ryan Reynolds (and Fred Savage) On Franchise's PG-13 Plunge
The trailer shows the subversive franchise still views the fourth wall as a revolving door and that the ever-droll Reynolds is still wickedly suited to play the jabber-jaw, mutant mercenary Deadpool. The best gag is the one that pokes fun at Fox and its wildly erratic X-Men franchise by first comparing rival Marvel Studios to the Beatles and then summing Fox up as “the Beatles produced by Nickelback.”
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The Princess Bride motif has an unexpected and bittersweet aspect to it now since that 1987 fairy-tale masterpiece was written by the great William Goldman, who died Thursday at age 87. Moreover, there’s a Misery reference in the trailer, a nod to another modern screen classic scripted by Goldman.
Once Upon a Deadpool opens the same weekend as Paramount’s Bumblebee, Sony’s Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse and the Warner Bros/DC release Aquaman.
It’s bigger challenge, however, may be the availability of Deadpool 2 now on home video and via digital platforms, especially considering the unrated version (called The Deadpool 2 Plus Super-Duper Cut) has 15 minutes of truly objectionable material that doubles-down on the franchise’s specialty — shallow humor and deep irony with relentless violence.
Check out the new trailer above.
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