Should there be more R-Rated superhero movies? Well, once upon a time, that wasn’t the most popular train to hop on. People tried, but despite some positive reviews, the likes of Watchmen and Kick-Ass didn’t soar financially. And it seemed intuitive that a genre with characters idolized by kids should produce films that appeal to those kids too. Hence, the PG-rated Marvel and DC films being the norm. And there was never anything wrong with that; it gave us masterpieces like The Avengers.
However, the more recent successes of Deadpool and Logan have filmmakers taking pause. The two are vastly different in terms of tone, but one thing overlaps for them: with the R-rating, the filmmakers had greater creative control than ever. Could these have opened the gates for an R-Rated Superhero film renaissance?
Why There Ought To Be More
Creative freedom goes a long way in the treatment of a film. A director can make things more bloody, violent, and irreverent than ever before. And in doing so, there’s a greater likelihood that the intended vision of a film is achieved.
That’s why, when The Wrap asked an insider if DC films would ever take that extreme for its flagship characters – Superman and Batman – the answer was: “100 percent, yes. With the right characters.”
The last two decades have seen an unrivaled embracing of the superhero genre like never before. The cheesiness and hammyness of older flicks (like Burton’s Batman films) have given way to the mainstream formulae of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the grit of the Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. Perhaps, that’s why Logan and Deadpool have been received with open arms (beyond their titular characters’ popularities, of course). The time has come for boundaries to be pushed even further; the genre has to evolve, or at least expand.
Let’s not ignore that ticket buyers now want to see more, t00. In a Fandango poll, 71% said they’d like to see more R-rated releases.
Why R-Rated Isn’t The Future
Arguments also stand for keeping the R-rated releases to a minimum, however. Naturally, one shouldn’t assume that an R-rating is specifically the reason fans are attracted to a film. In the first place, Wolverine and Deadpool are two of the most iconic and popular characters of the genre.
But The Hollywood Reporter also recognized a trend among both Marvel and DC film, where the superhero films have begun to be self-aware of themselves. Deadpool breaks the wall several times, pointing out the silly tropes (“Superhero landing!”), and The Lego Batman movie pokes fun at its own character’s storied history. Marvel’s Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy have also come close to becoming flat-out comedies.
Those prove that superhero films can still break boundaries blur genre lines, without the need for violence or excessive swearing. If the industry can do that, we could still be seeing plenty of successful PG films in the future.
After all, it was a PG-rating for both Marvel and DC films that welcomed this golden age of superhero movies in the first place.