Do we Want More R-Rated Superhero Movies? – Discussion

Hello interweb, Nate here!  So I recently decided to clean up my blog a little.  The categories that I put all my posts in where kinda everywhere and I had a lot of random old junk posts that weren’t doing anything but making this place cluttery.  So I deleted a lot of old posts that nobody was reading (mostly because they where old and dumb) and reorganized the categories a bit.  This has little to do with this actual post but I did want to introduce a semi-new category: discussions!  These posts are meant to do exactly what it says.  I bring up a topic, briefly (or as briefly as possible) give my current opinions on the topic, and let you guys comment below with your thoughts and maybe we can have a little dialogue over it.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be a long drawn-out conversation either.  I respond to all comments I get on this blog so if you decide to leave a comment below and I respond you can decide for yourself whether to continue the conversation or not!  With all that said and done, let’s get this idea off the ground!

Now before anyone comments below saying “Deadpool wasn’t the first R-rated comic book movie!”, yeah I know!  These aren’t a new thing with movies like Kick-Ass, Judge Dredd, Watchmen, and a few more out there, R-rated comic book movies are nothing new.  However, after the release of the first Avengers movie and the rise of the MCU, superhero movies gained a reputation for being family friendly.  Lots of humor, colorful costumes, and flashy fight scenes all help keep this genre alive and families interested (plus some nostolgia for the older viewers don’t hurt).

Then Deadpool arrived and f*cked everything up!  Kinda.  I mean, PG-13 superhero movies are still a majority and running strong, but Deadpool‘s success has caused studios to be interested in flirting with the R-rating in order to get away with more stuff and attract a slightly different audience.  Thanks to Deadpool, Hugh Jackman’s final role as Wolverine in the movies was the R-rated movie Logan which allowed Wolverine to finally actually use his claws in a fight and get as violent as Wolverine should be.  DC has also played around with the R-rating in their animated movies The Killing Joke and Justice League: Dark, both really just didn’t need the R-rating.

Now don’t get mistaken by what I’m saying, both Deadpool and Logan were great films and used the R-rating as a way for them to adapt the characters properly rather than an excuse to get sex and violence into superhero movies (well…the main reason was proper adaptations).  So here’s where I ask the question, do we want more R-rated superhero movies?  Now of course we know we’re getting more with Deadpool 2 on the horizon and maybe/maybe-not R-rated Venom movie (I’ll get to that in a bit), but should we desire more of these?

Well, why might we not want more R-rated superhero movies?  Well, it ultimately comes down to the demographic.  The biggest reason that the MCU is such a success is because it’s demographic are families.  Kids who love the colorful heroes and flashy fights and adults with childhood nostalgia can both enjoy and get excited for the next movie in the MCU.  However, kids will be disappointment to hear their parents deny them the opportunity to see the next Deadpool movie and for good reasons.  Granted, every parent has different opinions on movies with some parents letting their 8-year olds watch Deadpool while other parents don’t want their 18-year old watching it.  But generally speaking, most kiddies aren’t going to be able to share the fun in watching a movie part of their favorite genre of films.

Another reason is just simply put that most superheroes just don’t need the R-rating!  Venom, for example, is probably Spider-man’s most popular villain and he definitely doesn’t justify an R-rating.  Deadpool needs the R-rating for the gory fights and the raunchy humor, and Wolverine might need the R-rating so he can actually fight with his claws, but Venom?  Venom doesn’t need any sex or language and the violence can just be regular MCU-level action.  This could be a first example of upcoming R-rated superhero movies getting the R-rating just for the sake of being rated R!

But then again, the exact opposite reason could justify future R-rated movies too!  Movies like X-Force, Moon Knight, Ghost Rider, Lobo, etc.  Hell, even Batman could potentially get a really good R-rated movie with villains as insane as Joker, Professor Pyg, or Doll Maker!  Granted, the MCU’s “R-rated” stories are being told through their Netflix shows with the violent Daredevil and Jessica Jones dealing with rape and sex.  Hell, Jessica Jones (my personal favorite of the Netflix shows) explores the dark side of living in a universe of super-powered beings as Kilgrave uses his powers to rape Jessica prior to the series.  You could say this is just a show trying to be dark for the sake of it, but honestly we see the fun colorful side of superheroes so much that it’s fascinating to explore the darker aspects of these fictional universes.  I mean, if a rapist developed the ability to control people that would be horrifying and these ideas couldn’t be tackled in a kids movie.  Although maybe this entire argument is rendered moot since Jessica Jones isn’t a movie but if a movie tackled these concepts well it could be interesting.

Overall, I think the vast majority of superhero movies should definitely remain PG-13 as the main demographic is families.  However, if one out of every 10  superhero movies was rated R and done well (rather than just an excuse) then I’d be happy to see what they can do. Characters like Venom really don’t need R-ratings and as such should remain PG-13, but an R-rated X-Force movie would rock!  That might mean kids might have to miss a few, but they’ll grow up eventually.

These discussions are meant for comments and not polls so therefore there will seldom be end polls on these posts.  So comment below on your thoughts on this topic!

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8 comments

  1. I agree with you that R-rated movies should be an exception and not something to be expected. I could see Batman with an R-rating, but DC is already so dark, there needs to be a contrast. I don’t really see the MCU having a R-rated film because they like to have everything connected and the kids would be upset if they don’t understand the references about a movie their parents won’t let them see. Like you mentioned, Marvel has the darker side covered with the Netflix TV shows.

    1. Alright, looks like we have similar opinions on this. My only problem with an R-rated Batman movie is that kids love Batman too so they wouldn’t be able to see it until they’re older. Granted, I actually wasn’t allowed to see The Dark Knight when it first came out but when I saw it I loved it and I turned out fine. So maybe there’s just times hen parents need to be parents and adults can enjoy more mature movies.

      1. Well, I was 16 when Deadpool came out so my dad said that if I wanted to see it, he’d have to come also. Very fun with they are having sex on the screen with my dad right next to me. Sarcasm!

  2. Yeah, I definitely don’t want any more R rated Superhero films. I don’t watch R films in general and have to wait until they’re on TV edited to be TV-14 as it is, but it’s just the extra content that bothers me. An R film will always have some really violent or inappropriate content in them so I definitely hope films stay away from that.

  3. Good post. I do think that some superhero stories certainly need the R-rating and ‘Logan’ is a prime example of that. That said, not every movie will benefit from it in the same way. I don’t think seeing Batman drop f-bombs or Thor bludgeoning people to death with his hammer are necessary. Yet I’d never want to see a PG-13 version of a film like Deadpool. It works when needed, but not when forced.
    Also, would you be interested in sharing your work on Movie Pilot? I’d like to invite you to the platform as one of our content creators. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail, my contact details are on my “About” page. (o^.^)b

    1. Batman I can see with an R-rating primarily due to his villains and some of the more graphic stories. You definitely can’t have Joker’s removed face in a PG-13 flick!

      I’ve never actually shared any of my content to other sites before. Would there be any benefits to sharing an article to your site?

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