Sure, maybe Wolverine has a slightly more R-rated personality than Clark Kent.
But take a look at Superman:
He has superhuman strength.
He can shoot fire from his eyes.
And he could, if provoked, throw our entire planet into the sun.
So what happens when Superman gets really mad, gets possessed by something evil, or just plain goes nuts?
Let's take a look some of the things that Superman has done/might do that could make for an R-rated movie starring the all-American boy himself. After looking at the evidence, we'll see if it's even possible.
Need that in live action?
This one is one of the biggest, craziest stories of Superman's comic history, and it's almost tempting to say that it shouldn't be made into a movie, simply so they don't find some way to completely mess it up.
Long story short, Superman finds out Lois is pregnant with their child, but has to fly off to do save some stuff. The next day, he finds Jimmy Olsen murdered and Lois missing after doing some journalist things, and tracks her down to the sub the Joker has put her on after kidnapping her. After a cloud of green gas and a Doomsday hallucination, Superman flies Doomsday into outer space to kill him, but it turns out Joker had used fear toxin laced with kryptonite to fool Superman into killing Lois. To make matters worse, a nuclear bomb has been linked to Lois's heartbeat, so that when it is stopped, Metropolis would be destroyed.
Okay, so there's nothing short about this story.
Supes kills Jokes in prison, and then declares a cease-fire for the entire planet, effective immediately. A few years and a car ride later, this happens:
This story is nothing BUT rated R. If they every do make it and they don't completely screw it up!
A hypnotized Superman wakes up in the nick of time, right before he's about to star in a sleazy adult film with a hypnotized Big Barda.
We're going to leave that one alone. I'm looking for R-rated storylines, not XXX.
Superman: Speeding Bullets
In 1993, the comic world was introduced to Clark Kent actually having the name Bruce Wayne, dressing up as Batman while actually being Superman. Confusing? As hell!
But the potential for some R-rated fun is there, with the Joker being switched out with Lex, and Mr. Luth-or falling into the acid and getting those scars. And all because Thomas and Martha Wayne found young Kal-El instead of the Kents, and named him Bruce. The Waynes are still brutally murdered, but Clark (or Bruce) incinerates the murderer with his heat vision. In the end, Lois Lane convinces Bruce to ditch the Batman costume and wear something brighter, so he becomes Superman anyway. It's the same old origin stories with a twist, and the possibility to become even more graphic than before!
At first glance, this doesn't look like it could be very rated R. In this alternate storyline, due to a small time difference (Kal stopped a Mars truck stop to potty, maybe?), the spaceship landed on a Ukraine collective farm instead of Kansas. He's raised by the Soviets, which, of course, makes the Americans flip out and create a Superman-type guy of their own. CIA agent gets Lex Luthor, a scientist at S.T.A.R. Labs to take Supes out with a Superman clone. The two Supes fight, somehow causing a nuclear missile launch in Great Britain. The clone sacrifices himself to save a crapload of people. This pisses his creator off, who founds Luthorcorp and becomes the Lex we're familiar with.
The rest of the arc involves Lex destroying (shrinking, actually, but we're going for an R rating here, not a PG) Stalingrad, and Lex trying to kill Superman. It ends with the Earth's sun becoming a red giant and destroying the Earth. Lex's descendant, Jor-L, sends his son, Kal-L, back in time to... you guessed it, Ukraine. Superman is Lex's descendant!
Went off on a tangent there but there's plenty of R-rated communist material there!
What's the conclusion? Could Supes star in an R-rated movie?
I'm going to say most likely no. As insane as he's gone in the past, it was really hard dredging up hardly any storylines that would make the cut.
I guess Superman will have to be satisfied with a PG-13!