X-Men movie fans are currently enjoying the latest trailer for Logan (both the green and red band versions), director James Mangold’s character-driven superhero movie by way of the Western. A key selling point throughout the marketing campaign is the fact that this will be the first R-rated film starring Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, and the filmmakers plan on taking full advantage of the freedoms that classification provides. The most recent preview includes plenty of hard-hitting violence and strategically placed F-bombs to separate Logan from the rest of the pack within the genre.
Fox has to be feeling a little bit of déjà vu, as they are still reaping the benefits of last year’s R-rated superhero romp, Deadpool. An argument can be made that the studio has finally found their niche in the realm of comic book movies, but before they claim the corner of that market, Logan has to be officially rated by the MPAA – and it currently is not.
In an interview with Fandango, Mangold discussed the possibility of Logan receiving an unrated version when it hits home media. The director revealed that he has yet to go through the ratings board:
I guess… thing is, we haven’t gotten through the ratings board yet. What you’ve seen might be the unrated version! That’s a good question that we’ll have to uncover. It’s uncomfortable to talk about ratings only to the degree that we’re not supposed to talk about ratings. Not because we’re clearly making a hard film, but because we’re not supposed to say what the rating should be since that’s the job of the MPAA and we don’t want to make them angry.
Nobody should take these comments as any indication that Fox is going to backtrack and make Logan PG-13. Based on all the marketing materials, they very clearly are embracing the R rating and want to take the property in that direction. What is not known at this point is whether or not Mangold is going to have to make any cuts to the film in order to ensure it receives the R-rating the creative team desires. The MPAA’s standards are always a little tricky to understand, and sometimes one shot of blood can make all the difference. Until the organization sees Logan, Mangold will have to wait before making the necessary edits and lock in the final picture. As he suggests, some of the shots from the red band trailer (or the first act that was screened at Fox’s showcase) could end up as part of a director’s cut for the Blu-ray.
It’s only a matter of time before Logan receives its intended R rating, and there’s nothing suggesting that it will be hit with anything less. Nobody is telling the MPAA what they should think of the film, but it’s obvious what Mangold and Jackman had in mind from the start. Whether any small changes have to be made or not, Logan is going to be an “adult film” that just so happens to star Wolverine and Professor Xavier. And by all accounts, it’s going to give Jackman one great sendoff.