*Warning: This article containers minor spoilers for Logan.*
Since Deadpool cursed, shot, stabbed and joked his way to $783.1 million worldwide, the term "R-rated" has become a buzz word synonymous with success, an ingenious way of interpreting superhero storylines. Wade Wilson has become the Lucy Pevensie of the genre, with Deadpool's success thrusting open the wardrobe and making the seamless transition to a violent Narnia.
But while Deadpool used his new found fantastical freedom in generally jovial, albeit adult way, in Logan, Wolverine roams the White Witch's landscape with the unrestricted freedom to fully unleash his destructive rage, proving the R-rating fits the character perfectly, unlike the square-peg-round-hole scenario of previous PG-13 instalments.
In fact, it fits so well, that a recent survey by Fandango showed that 71 per cent of those asked are craving more R-rated superhero films, while 86 per cent were excited to see the extra violence in #Logan. But is the R-rating the be all and end all? And, if that is the case, should the juggernaut of superhero movies, the #MCU, consider bringing an R-rated movie to their shared universe?
'Logan' Shows An R-Rating Can Necessary For Some Superheroes
Historically, R-rated comic book adaptations haven't been deemed financially viable. Although there have been a number of enjoyable and critically acclaimed R-rated superheroes — Watchmen (2009), Kick Ass (2010) and the Blade trilogy spring to mind — last year #Deadpool brought record breaking success within the post-MCU climate of superhero excess.
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Despite Deadpool's success, Logan is more likely to turn heads, and possibly turn the tide toward adult-centric superhero movies. The former felt organically geared toward and older audience, whereas the latter acts as a clear before and after of the difference an adult rating can make. Granted, a large part of Logan's allure is down to #HughJackman's dedicated performance, but using that argument, Jackman obviously felt the same, taking a pay cut for the film to get its rating.
Creatively, tying a mutant with claws in his bones to a PG-13 rating is restrictive, and Logan, in all its ultra violent glory, feels like Wolverine is fully justified. And that's the key — the wardrobe to R-rated Narnia could, and should, be opened for a character if that step is necessary to fully utilize their strengths, and also necessary to produce a story that feels like it breaks the mould.
Will 'Logan' Persuade Disney To Take The R-rated Route In The MCU?
In its simplest form, some characters deserve a darker, more grown up version to fully do justice to their skill set. Whether that persuades Disney to make an R-rated movie in the MCU remains to be seen. At least year's annual Disney meeting, CEO Bob Iger ruled it out, explaining that they don't have "any plans" to make R-rated Marvel movies.
Logan may change that view, though. Admittedly, the MCU is a powerhouse, and Disney will be conscious of reaching as big an audience as possible, something that restricting children from viewing their movies wouldn't achieve. But Wolverine's last appearance has the widest release ever for an R-rated movie, opening in 4,071 theaters, with a huge opening weekend at the box office, with takings worldwide of $240 million. Along with Deadpool's success, this shows there is money to be made with an R-rating.
High Budgets In The MCU May Rule Out An R-Rating
However, despite impressive takings, they still don't match the extortionate production costs of MCU films. It was recently revealed that the combined budget of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4 would cost an eye-watering $1 billion, of which a rumored $400 million would go on the cast alone — that definitely rules out an R-rated ensemble flick.
But the MCU is an expansive beast, and there are plenty of properties that would be worth taking the R-rated risk. The difficulty, though, lies with consistency; while it would be funny watching Tony Stark say the F word or Hulk squashing craniums like grapes on a vineyard, the consistency could take a hit when the same heroes team up in a non R-rated film — the same challenge that would face Deadpool if he joined the X-Verse.
One thing is for sure; Disney will be fully aware of Logan's success, and their desire to keep their finger on the pulse of what fans want may eventually see them change their mind in an effort to stay on top.
Should the MCU introduce an R-rated movie?