Given the massive box office success that R-rated superhero movies have had over the past year, thanks to #Logan and #Deadpool, is it inevitable that other studios will try to copy Fox's winning superhero formula?
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is unlikely to incorporate R-rated material (excluding its Netflix series), but the DCEU is perhaps a more natural fit. As it stands, we have received three rather bleak installments of the DCEU with Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad. What did each of them have in common? Well, they were all chopped up and edited to avoid too much violence or adult language, even if their subject matter and tone called for it. Is it time for Warner Bros. to admit that Harley Quinn would be amazing if given the Deadpool treatment?
The current slate of films for the DCEU is continuously expanding and being shifted around, but (so far) this is what we have:
- Justice League
- The Batman
- Gotham City Sirens
- The Flash
- Suicide Squad 2
- Green Lantern Corps
We already have confirmation that Wonder Woman (hitting theaters this June) received a PG-13 from the MPAA, and it's likely that Justice League will follow suit. Nonetheless, there is one specific DCEU movie that would especially benefit from more creative freedom.
Gotham City Sirens Needs To Be R-Rated
It's a bit difficult to speculate on what exactly #GothamCitySirens will be about, because we don't have any further information other than the fact that it's being produced by Harley herself, #MargotRobbie, and directed by David Ayer. Still, that doesn't make this movie any less of a candidate for an R-rating.
First of all, the studio needs to realize that #HarleyQuinn is a very complex character who is quite versatile. Robbie herself said that one thing she loved about Harley was her unpredictability and complexity. Although Harley's PG-13, silly humor was a hit with audiences, there is so much more to explore in the matter of her humor, sexuality, manipulation, and capability for violence and crime.
We also can't forget to mention the fact that she will likely be paired up with Catwoman and Poison Ivy, and maybe even #TheJoker. There will also no doubt be a villain attached to this film (which is already rumored to be Black Mask), so giving the film just that much more flexibility in terms of violence, language, sexuality and depictions of crime might just be the best move Warner Bros. could make in reviving this universe.
I would go far enough to argue that the only way Harley Quinn and the other potential characters could properly be represented was if the film gained an R-rating. Especially if #JaredLeto is brought back as the Joker to appear alongside Harley Quinn, it would really be a lot of fun to see just how crazy they are together. Add in R-rated versions of Poison Ivy and Catwoman, and that would just be a possible recipe for awesomeness.
Is The DCEU Already Too Bleak?
This is the only thing that might get in the way of any potential R-rated films in the DCEU's future. If all Warner Bros. learns from Logan and Deadpool is that excessive amounts of blood, violence and swearing is cool, then I'm not sure those are the right things to bring to an already bleak comic universe like the DCEU.
It's no secret that a massive complaint from a lot of people regarding the DCEU is that the overall tone is too dark and humorless. This is one point that was thought to cause reshoots and massive re-editing for Suicide Squad after test screenings of the film didn't yield results that the studio was happy with.
Why Not PG-13 For Superman And R For Harley?
Audiences are already tired of characters that are gritty for the sake of extreme grittiness; there's no reason to make an R-rated Man Of Steel 2. People want to be able to bring their kids to see characters like #Aquaman and #TheFlash, after all.
But the R-rating would add to Harley Quinn's character; it wouldn't be gratuitous. If Gotham City Sirens were successful with an R-rating, that could lead to an R-rated Suicide Squad 2 — even if most of the DCEU continues with the PG-13 model. As it probably should.