Australian Council on Children and the Media

Once Upon a Deadpool

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Not recommended under 13 due to violence, coarse language, sexual references and adult themes.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Once Upon a Deadpool
  • a review of Once Upon a Deadpool completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 17 December 2018.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Not recommended due to violence, coarse language and adult themes.
Children over the age of 13 Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Once Upon a Deadpool
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Mature themes, action violence, sexual references and coarse language.
Length 119 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Once Upon a Deadpool is a cut and edited version of the film Deadpool 2 which was released earlier in 2018. It was intended as a way to reach wider and younger audiences, with much of the gore, explicit language and darker adult themes removed. The film follows wise-cracking and irreverent anti-superhero Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) as he tries to protect the out of control teenage mutant Russel Collins ‘Firefist’ (Julian Dennison) from Cable (Josh Brolin) a superior time-travelling soldier who has come from the future to avenge the death of his wife and child.  Russel has escaped from the mutant orphanage where he alleges that he has been subjected to institutional abuse from the orphanage staff. Deadpool realises that he is going to need help in keeping Cable away from Russel and puts together a team of superheroes and mutants to help rescue him. Together they must save Russel and convince the boy not to use his anger for destructive and evil purposes. In a surreal but very funny twist on the original film, Deadpool himself narrates the story, reading it from a story book to the now adult actor Fred Savage whom he has kidnapped and strapped to the bed, forcing him to re-create his part in the 1987 classic film The Princess Bride.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Superheroes and superpowers; family; humour; suicide; loss of a spouse; institutional child abuse.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is very frequent violence in this movie including:

  • Use of weapons such as guns, knives, nunchaku and explosives used to kill or defend. Many people are injured or killed in this film.
  • Frequent hand to hand combat with martial arts style kicking, punching and hitting.
  • Several characters die in serious accidents, such as falling onto the blades of a helicopter, going through a wood chipper or being electrocuted.
  • One of Deadpool’s superpowers is that he can’t die. Therefore, he is frequently maimed or injured but suffers no serious consequences. For example, he is torn in half by a giant mutant so must ‘regrow’ his legs.
  • A prisoner stabs a pen through Deadpool’s hand.
  • Deadpool holds a gun to his own head and tries to kill himself, hoping that it will reunite him with his dead wife.

 

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • There are many ‘monster-like’ and surreal characters in this film that small children may find intimidating or threatening. For example, the character of Juggernaut is a huge giant with a metal armour mask who rips people in half.
  • When Deadpool removes his mask, his face is disfigured by burn scars.
  • There are a few dream-like sequences where Deadpool tries to reach his dead wife, but is unable to get to her. Some children may find them unsettling.
  • Deadpool is chased by a gang wielding guns and weapons.
  • People break into Deadpool’s apartment to attack him and his wife. His wife is shot dead.
  • When mutant orphan Russel gets upset, his fists turn into burning fires that can shoot balls of fire and cause explosions.
  • When Deadpool is ripped into two halves, he must grow new legs. He is shown with an adult torso and toddler legs. Some children may find this disturbing.
  • There are frequent fast-paced and dangerous car chases where many cars are damaged.
  • Deadpool finally manages to die and there is an emotional scene when he dies and is reunited with his dead wife.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

  • Children of this age are also likely to find the above-mentioned scenes disturbing or scary.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

  • Younger children in this age group may find some of the above scenes scary or disturbing.
  • Some children may find the suggestion that child abuse was taking place inside the orphanage distressing.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

  • Children of this age are unlikely to find the content of this film disturbing.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Huggies natural care wipes.
  • Disney, Fox, Marvel, DC comics.
  • LinkedIn

Sexual references

There are some sexual references, innuendo and toilet humour in this movie, including:

  • Vanessa reveals that she wants to start a family with Deadpool. She grabs his hand and says “Let’s watch some porn and show that bed who’s boss”.
  • Deadpool is walking around a mansion, looking at the portraits on the wall. He says “All these elderly white men on the walls, I should have brought my rape whistle”.
  • Deadpool is talking to two young women and says with innuendo “I like to think that I’ve rubbed off around you too”.
  • Deadpool is justifying why he wants to rescue Russel and he says “He was abused, you can always tell”.
  • Someone asks “Why is he dressed like a registered sex offender?”
  • Deadpool is described by Cable as a “clown dressed as a sex toy”.
  • When a blind woman places her had on what she thinks is Deadpool’s hand, he says “That’s not my hand”, insinuating that she is touching his genitals.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • When Deadpool is growing a new set of legs after being ripped in half, he has no trousers or underpants on. As a joke, he keeps opening his legs and exposing himself to the other people in the room. His private parts are blurred out.
  • Deadpool and Vanessa are cuddling on the sofa with Vanessa wearing only a jumper, it is suggested that they are about to, or have just had intercourse.
  • When Deadpool is being hugged by another superhero he starts to stroke the other man’s buttocks.

 

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Adults drinking alcohol in a bar.

Coarse language

There is frequent coarse language in this movie, including:

  • The word F*** is bleeped out many times as a joke, but it is very obvious what the word is. For example there is a scene where Fred Savage is talking about how he would like to fight Matt Damon, but Deadpool uses the bleeper to make it sound as if he is saying he would like to f*** Matt Damon.
  • Shitdick, Prick, Pussies, Dick-for-Brains, Pissing, Jesus Christ Fuck, Asshole.
  • Deadpool says “Family was always an F-word to me”.

In a nutshell

Once Upon a Deadpool is a very silly, irreverent and occasionally hilarious film that thoroughly makes fun of itself and the whole superhero genre. Although it has been edited from the more explicit version to cater for a younger audience, there is still a lot of violence and a lot of coarse language so it is not suitable for younger children or tweens.  

The main messages from this movie are to protect your family and to value your friendships.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Bravery and courage
  • Protecting your family from harm.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as.

  • The consequences of violence.
  • What to do in situations of institutional abuse.
  • Dealing with grief and the loss of a family member.

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