So Deadpool said the F-word, showed a weenie, and some boobies. It had the “hero” committing murder, admitting that it was murder, and made jokes about masturbating.
It was incredible.
Why was it incredible? Fans were finally given exactly what they wanted from that character, and completely unabashedly. It delivered to the fans of the character blood, guts, foul language and sex (not to mention the fourth wall being broken pretty consistently). It was Deadpool, ripped almost straight out of the comics and thrown on a screen.
Beyond those who were already fans, Deadpool shattered expectations and scored the all time highest R-Rated movie opening for the month of February of all time. That means that either fans of the character saw this moving a bunch of times (I saw it twice with my girlfriend, so there’s $50 right there), or even non-fans were giving this moving a shot.
This movie being rated R is starting a flurry of rumors. In fact, it’s even allowed Fox to confirm the next Wolverine solo film will be shooting for an R rating. This choice is polarizing fans; it seems that most of the fans of the comics are happy about this, as Wolverine has been known as a brutal killer with a bad attitude and occasionally a foul mouth. As a thank you to the fans who have followed Jackman through the almost twenty years of Snikt Snik’ing, giving them a more brutal, foul mouthed version of the character could be cool.
However, as someone who has spent the last sixteen years watching these PG-13 films build a rich (albeit retconned) history through a number of films meant to reach a larger audience, I think abandoning that model is disingenuous to those who actually like this version of the character. As of writing, I am 26 years old. I grew up with the X-Men cartoon and with these movie versions of the character. Although I’ve become an avid comic book fan, I keep the different versions of these characters separated from each other in my mind because I feel like they work better that way. If I was still trying to get a version of Wolverine true to the comics, I’d be complaining that he’s not wearing the yellow suit still, and not 4 feet tall.
And let’s consider that there are 13 year olds out there catching up on these movies, who will be sad that they can’t see this new Wolverine movie because of it’s rating. Sure, sure, you can make the argument that they aren’t meant to see it because it was given the R rating, but why not keep the cash cow milking?
Multiple X-Men movies have hit the top 50 Highest Grossing PG-13 list, and every single one is still in the top 110. I personally think that the appeal of Deadpool, a character based on being silly, it’s marketing, releasing on Valentine’s Day Weekend, and the sheer fact that Deadpool as a character is new to the screen, boosted its numbers. Would Wolverine, a character who has been on screen for over 16 years pull that kind of audience? Based on The Wolverine landing itself below every other X-Men movie and below the X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie, I doubt it.
Hell, Green Lantern made more money than The Wolverine. It’s not because Hugh couldn’t say fuck -- it’s because the movie actually sucked.
Pushing the next Wolverine Solo film to an R rating won’t be enough to boost numbers. No, they’re going to need a great marketing scheme, just like Deadpool had. Or it needs Deadpool.
I need to move on past the X-franchise. There are plenty more movies coming out that could potentially get an R rating. I have been reading rumors on all different websites about movies being announced as R, or being considered for reshoots to fit the rating. Which upcoming movies would best fit getting the R-rating treatment?
I think that Suicide Squad is currently our best option. Let’s consider that it’s a movie wherein all of the main characters are bad guys. Having them use adult language would make it just a little bit more authentic. Let’s also consider that some of the main characters of this story are straight up insane people with pretty messed up stories of their own going on. The Joker, with a tattoo saying “Damaged” on his forehead and his front teeth made of metal, seems to be a nice example of someone who could drop a could F-bombs.
Or how about Harley Quinn, the Joker’s nutty love interest? She seems like a prime example of a character that could push this movie into adult territory on her vulgar dialogue alone. There’s also Deadshot, a character who we could easily see snipe some people to death in grotesque fashion. Killer Croc could be devouring someone. I mean, the possibilities to bring this movie into the territory of a true adult oriented action film are nearly endless given the character ensemble.
But don’t forget, this could be the first time we get a Batman film with an R rating. The first time we see the Dark Knight punch The Joker right in his mouth over and over until his teeth fall out. Batman will be in this movie, so let’s have him face off against The Joker in a scene to rival all of the Nolan Trilogy in terms of fan appeal.
If the DC Cinematic Universe is going to follow a path of dark and gritty yet oddly realistic, I say that this could be the perfect time to delve into the adult territory. See, I’m of two minds about the DCCU right now. On one hand, they could continue on the path of dark stories, dark tones, and literally dark color schemes with the PG-13 ratings and hope that everyone in the world will see the movie and love it. They can aim the movies at a teenage-to-30 audience and keep the violence unbloody, the language fit for cable television, and tell stories straight from the comics. And on the other hand, if they want to keep the dark tones, commit the the hard R rating. Keep it dark, but with purpose. DC comics, in my opinion, are not nearly as kid friendly as Marvel, so why try to appease the young ones? Let the adults have a version of Batman that’s truly jaded. Give us a movie based on Justice Lords, or a Batman Beyond where Bruce is in the background watching as his protege starts killing the badguys.
DC has an opportunity here to take their movies to a level we haven’t seen in true superhero stories yet. Deadpool, using comedy as a catalyst for getting away with whatever it wanted, has actually shown us that an R-rated superhero movie may have a bigger audience than we’ve considered before. Although pushing the R-rating on to some established franchises may not work (Wolverine), it may also work wonders for another (Batman).
Let me know what you think; could we have a new influx of R-rated superhero dramas? I didn’t mention anything Marvel is doing on Netflix, which borders on R-rated. They are their own beast that may require their own examination. With the movies, what would you like to see embrace the dark side?