Rated-R Superstars1 of 12Deadpool’s box office success has led to a potential R-rated revolution for superhero movies. Of course Logan - another X-Men film – landed an R-rating, but perhaps more surprisingly, Warner Bros. reportedly saidthey would be open to R-rated films set in the DC Universe.
R-rated films seemed unlikely in the previous superhero movie landscape. Since it’s inevitable that some superhero films would swing that direction, we’ve decided to offer up some suggestions for superhero and comic book movies that wouldn’t just work as R-rated productions, they could thrive with more freedom to go dark and adult-oriented.
X-Force2 of 12X-Force may be the biggest no-brainer on this list. With the success of Deadpool still ringing in Fox’s ears, and its now confirmed sequel ready to introduce introduce Cable and Ryan Reynolds calling X-Force a “priority”, an R-rated X-Force movie seems almost inevitable. Even producer Simon Kinberg admitted it was already being considered by 20th Century Fox.
And besides, if there’s an X-team that could handle a fully R-rated story, it’s the mutant black-ops wing that does the X-Men’s dirty work. Here’s where you get hyper-violent, super-sexualized, and just generally adult-oriented. X-Force could bring back the spirit of movies like Robocop and Terminator that were so huge in the sci-fi/action heyday of the 1980s and 1990s.
The Sandman3 of 12Sex, violence, mystery, fantasy, horror – Neil Gaiman’s epic Sandman had it all. And while a PG-13 experience could approximate the feelings and themes Sandman embodied, going R-rated would embrace the Vertigo spirit that permeated the original comic books.
Bear in mind, an R-rated Sandman wouldn’t be the kind of ultra-violent gorefest many R-rated comic book movies could turn into – it would have to be a lot more tasteful than that. But with an R-rating, it could fully embrace its mythological, metatextual roots without holding back.
Lobo4 of 12If there’s any property that could be seen as DC’s answer to Deadpool, it’s unquestionably Lobo. Think of Wolverine as a wisecracking space-biker, and you’re somewhere close to understanding the Main Man.
Indestructible, hyper-violent, and with a mouth like a whole ship of sailors, Lobo isn’t exactly Justice League material. But for a DC Cinematic Universe that’s edging ever closer to R-rated, the Last Czarnian may be a way for DC to test those waters before braving something like an adults-only Batman experience.
Batman5 of 12With DC expressing openness to a rated-R superhero movie, the natural go-to is Ben Affleck's solo The Batman film.
But we're not looking for a bloodbath. Give us a psychological thriller - a dark detective story, not a slasher film.
Affleck's older Batman carries the perfect gravitas to deal with darker, grittier story. Think The Dark Knight but more comic book-y.
Midnight Sons6 of 12If Marvel Studios is ever going to go for an R-rating (and we're dubious), perhaps the most obvious corner of their universe to go more mature with is in their currently unused horror characters. Instead of just one, why not a whole team of them?
Enter Midnight Sons.
Like a Guardians of the Galaxy surprise entrant but for Marvel's horror corner, Midnight Sons take the spellcraft of Doctor Strange and the maturity of the Netflix shows and take Marvel into the horror movie realm while still keeping it quintessentially Marvel.
You know Blade is going to turn up somewhere eventually, be it Netflix or Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., so why not as part of his own R-rated feature film? Remember, 1998's Blade (also rated-R) was a surprise hit and presaged the current comic book movie boom.
Ghost Rider has shown up in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but the showrunner himself said the character is too expensive to use long-term - and actor Gabriel Luna said his character coming to the big screen is a possibility.
Add in Morbius, Werewolf by Night, Jennifer Kale, and possibly Hellstorm, and you have an interesting team.
And if you think Disney doesn't release horror films, you're forgetting they released similar adult fare like Pulp Fiction, Trainspotting, and Sin City through various subsidiary companies.
The Boys7 of 12Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s The Boys takes Watchmen’s approach to all-too-human heroes one step further, fully embracing a world of sex, violence, and over-the-top action. The only problem with making The Boys R-rated is that parts of it might actually have to be toned down.
Following a team of heroes/C.I.A. operatives, The Boys has had its share of controversy from fans and publishers alike – the kind of thing that would get a good adaptation plenty of attention. And, given that it would also break the superhero mold just by virtue of its almost satirical nature, this one’s a shoe-in for a more adult-oriented movie adaptation.
Invincible8 of 12On its face, Invincible may look like your average teen superhero story, but like many of co-creator Robert Kirkman’s stories, it took a dark turn along the way. Full of the colors and heroics of a Superman-like tale, Invincible isn’t afraid to get its hands dirty with a little sex and violence.
This could be the mass destruction fueled superhero movie audiences are ready for. Where Man of Steel went wrong by making Superman too dark, Invincible could go right by embracing the undercurrent that’s already present on the page. Give us the Viltrumite invasion, and let Omni-Man and his son Mark Grayson go nuts.
Punisher MAX9 of 12OK, Punisher has gotten a few R-rated attempts at films over the years, including 2008’s Punisher: War Zone. What we’re suggesting is Marvel take all the elements that got that movie its R-rating and make it, y’know, good.
Now that Jon Bernthal's Punisher has received a big enough response from his appearance in Daredevil season 2 to warrant his own spin-off, we’re hoping for Marvel’s first solid M-rated Netflix series.
Take the realistic aesthetics that are already established, take the violence just a hair further, and give Frankie a few “F-Bombs” and we’re on the right track.
Hellboy10 of 12Hellboy has gotten two fairly well-received movies already, but the second one in particular erred more on the side of whimsy than horror. So why not go full-on horror movie with a new film? Now that Guillermo Del Toro has officially declared his plans for a second sequel dead, talk of a reboot can’t be far away.
In fact, Hellboy’s recent comic book adventures may provide the perfect inspiration for an R-rated film – Red’s been kicking around Hell for the last few years. What’s darker and more sinister than that? Hellboy could go full-on monster slayer, and incorporate some of those seven deadly sins everyone loves so much.
The Authority11 of 12The Authority may be exactly the kind of property that studios looking for more adult-oriented superheroes are craving. It features recognizable archetypes, playing off the well-known characters of teams like the Justice League and the Avengers, but in a context you’ll never see those icons placed in.
Violent, sexual, and way beyond the usual superhero fare, The Authority turned heads and redefined adult superhero comic books when it debuted through WildStorm. And, now that WildStorm falls under DC’s purview, adapting The Authority might be the best way or Warner Bros. to have its cake and eat it too. They’d get their imperfect Superman, their ultra-violent Batman, and more, without having to step on or over many fans’ visions of those characters.
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