If I were to describe myself, I would say I’m an “optimistic pessimist.” If that sounds like an oxymoron, it just means that, while I do hope things would work out for the best, I know they won’t. If something can go wrong, it will. Even with the best intentions, the resulting product will have been corrupted in some way. Don’t I sound super fun at parties?
Anyway, I had to bring up this side of my personality as it’s a vital part as to why I have to contradict one of my fellow writers here on the site. A week ago, he wrote that a PG-13 version of Deadpool 2 is something we should look forward to.
While the “optimistic” part of me wants to agree with him, the more dominant “pessimist” part of my personality just shouts him out into keeping quiet. That’s because I don’t believe this is a good idea. It may be a good idea in the short term. But in the long term, it can prove disastrous to the character and the franchise.
Now, I do agree with a lot of the points given in the other post defending the decision to even produce a PG-13 Deadpool. I can see how the people at Fox and Disney can poke a lot of fun at the cuts and edits. I can also see, if Ryan Reynolds comes back to shoot some additional scenes, them doing all sorts of creative changes, like changing all of the blood into confetti or making lots of self-referential jokes that they know they’re cutting up the movie to make it suitable for younger audiences. It can be a blast to watch, to be sure. However, you know that they’re not doing it for creative reasons.
For one, Fox had to reshuffle their movie release lineup. They moved a slate of their films to 2019. The biggest shift was from Alita: Battle Angel as it was originally planned to be released during the 2018 holiday season. Instead of the original date, it’ll be now be shown early 2019. This then bumps X-Men: Dark Phoenix to the middle of next year. Fox needed something to take Alita’s place as they book these dates way in advance. So, I guess the decision to make a “holiday” version of Deadpool 2 was made. I’m kind of okay with the reshuffling since, well, Alita seems like a big gamble and it may need some more time cooking to make sure that the film is well done.
The second reason why Disney and Fox wanted a PG-13 Deadpool 2 for the holiday season is because it could rake them a ton of money. What? You thought that these major film corporations is doing this so that adults can relive watching Deadpool on the big screen and that kids can actually sit in the theaters with their parents? Don’t be silly! They’re in it for the money.
I have to admit that releasing it during the holiday season, when people are flush with cash and consumerism is at its peak is a genius, if not devious, way to attract more viewers. There’s also the added benefit of the attracting a demographic that Deadpool may have garnered but never benefited from: the children’s market. Since the Deadpool films are R-rated films (and deservedly so), younger people who may want to watch the film are unable to do so. So, making a PG-13 film, a film that younger people may have wanted to see but couldn’t, is really smart. That’s a great way to get more money, right?
And this leads me to one of the reasons why I dreading the creation of a PG-13 Deadpool film. If it’s a success and rakes in even more money than the R-rated Deadpool movies, Disney and Fox can make the decision to make future films featuring the Merc with a Mouth PG-13 only, scrubbing out what made Deadpool a fan favorite in the first place.
I get that fans are curious as to what a “clean” version of Deadpool 2 would look like. I am, too! But the reason why I’m curious is because I know what the current “dirty” version of the film looks and feels like. It would be hilarious if Deadpool doesn’t swear or use his swords to decapitate and maim people because we’ve already seen him do those things in the movie! The PG-13 version would essentially be the watered-down alternate version we already got, which would be funny in its own right.
Now, imagine if we didn’t have the R-rated Deadpool 2 and all we got was the PG-13 version. A version where the Merc with a Mouth has his mouth washed out with soap and only gave the bad guys booboos. People would be upset! If I remember correctly, a lot of fans were overjoyed when it was confirmed that the first Deadpool was going to be “for adults.” I also don’t think that Deadpool would’ve been a massive success if was more child-friendly. Thankfully, Ryan Reynolds and the rest of the Deadpool crew pulled for a more adult approach and it worked out like gangbusters!
I also don’t think that Deadpool would’ve been a massive success if was more child-friendly. Deadpool was a breath of fresh air as, not only did it not take itself too seriously, the decision to make it rated-R gave the writers a lot more leeway to add a lot of dark humor into the script and the scenarios. Sure, Deadpool was a “superhero movie” but it was a different kind of superhero. Ryan Reynolds and the rest of the Deadpool crew pulled for a more adult approach and it worked out like gangbusters!
But, like I said, movie companies are still in it for the money. If the PG-13 Deadpool makes more money, this is going to be the direction they’ll go and scrap the rated-R version from theatrical release. Future Deadpool movies will not be able to afford to take any more risks with raunchy humor or surprising levels of gore and violence. Deadpool may even become a more straightforward hero instead of the morally ambiguous antihero he is in the films. That would just be terrible, in my view!
In fact, you can even see what might happen if Deadpool movies from now on are all PG-13 films. All you need to do is watch Venom.
Personally, I didn’t like Venom. It’s definitely not the worst superhero film I’ve seen. Venom can even be a lot of fun and even entertaining but I can’t see it become this huge classic or even remembered in the future. But you know what I thought when I was watching it? Venom could have been so much better if it was rated-R! If it was more bloody, with Venom just wrecking carnage all over the place, I would think it would’ve been so much better and memorable. I mean, he was biting the heads off bad guys! But they don’t show anything. They don’t even show the beheaded body afterwards!
I guess Sony wanted the film to be more family friendly so they can get the children’s demographic and it appears to be working. Even thought the film isn’t that good, it’s just enjoyable enough to warrant a watch and this is why people are actually going to see it. This is precisely my fear with a PG-13 Deadpool. Fox will produce a new film featuring the Merc with a Mouth that will just be okay instead of being the kickass films they are right now. They will be from great to just good, which is something we all should be against.
This could just be the pessimistic side of me talking but I’m pretty optimistic that this is what’ll happen if we’re not too careful.
What are your thoughts on a PG-13 version of Deadpool? While we’re at it, do you think Venom would’ve been much better if it was rated-R? Let me know in the comments section below!