A curse or a blessing, slapping an R-rating and some gnarly fight scenes on your #superhero film can arguably make or break it. Get it right, and you can bask in the glory of Tim Miller's Deadpool, but get it wrong and you are left with a mixed bag Watchmen with some people not quite getting it (I personally adore Watchmen).
However, with a recent surge of hype surrounding R-ratings — mainly thanks to the likes of Deadpool and #JamesMangold's #Logan — the landscape of the genre is very different to the era of Spawn and Blade. With Sony's Venom presumably heading for an R, and people still saying that we will eventually get an R-rated Batman movie, appealing to a more adult audience is no longer such a tough decision to make. So, with Logan certified "fresh" and getting its own noir remastering, why did it take so long for Fox to sharpen their claws and give Wolverine his boldest, bloodiest, blockbuster yet?
The Claws Were Out
At a panel for the home-release of Logan, CinemaBlend reported on some interesting facts surrounding the film's rating. Hutch Parker, the film's producer, said that Fox had no interest in giving #Wolverine his woeful swansong until Mangold pitched them his big-hitter storyline:
“We had had conversations in different iterations and even going back long before The Wolverine about more grounded storytelling in the universe. Candidly, I don't think we were equipped yet. Jim was sort of a catalyst in so many different ways, in galvanizing the studio's confidence about doing something bold.”
If you think waiting 17 years was a long enough of a wait for an R-rated #XMen film, the next wait will almost certainly seem longer. The material of Logan, and in particular the loose representation of "Old Man Logan," lend themselves to an R-rating. Elsewhere, big stories like "Dark Phoenix," "House of M," and even the violently named "Mutant Massacre" contain some of the more family-friendly members of the gang, meaning that Fox would struggle to find such an avid audience for the gore.
Looking at the "main" X-Men franchise, until now, we have been focused on the sugar-coated version of the X-Men, which has handled death with kid gloves. Even looking at Brett Ratner's X-Men: The Last Stand and the losses of Cyclops, Xavier, and Jean Grey, they still kept it firmly PG-13.
Bloody Bye Byes
Perhaps it was the finite nature of Logan that caused everyone involved to think, "F*ck it, why not?" Undoubtedly, Deadpool would've helped the R-rated cause, but Parker reminded us that Mangold's vision is what made Logan so special:
“In the conviction that he had about the tone that it required and the kind of amazing instinct and navigational skill he had about where we needed to go in the story... I honestly cannot picture another filmmaker doing anything even close to what was accomplished with this film. That's how significant change occurs in storytelling, in filmmaking.”
Sure, the R-rating boom may just be a bit of a fad, but for now, there is somewhat of a niche on it. Kevin Feige has said that the MCU has no interest in handling a more mature ratings system — presumably due to its Disney ownership — and Warner Bros. seems tentative to hand an R to any of the DCEU.
This means that lesser-known franchises belonging to the likes of Sony and Fox are free to reap the bountiful rewards of blood 'n guts, which we have already seen with the anticipation of Neil Marshall's R-rated Hellboy reboot.
While Logan was clearly the end of the road for #HughJackman's tenure, it doesn't necessarily have to be a solo for R-rated X-Men movies. Hopes are still high that Fox will continue with an X-23 solo film, but without the hulking mass of Wolverine, does the story of a claw-footed girl also warrant a solid R? However, if Logan can show us anything, it is that we "R" certainly ready for more X-rated X-Men adventures.
Check out the trailer for Logan Noir and don't forget our poll below!
Would you like to see more R-rated X-Men movies?