Deadpool has achieved the almost unthinkable, in an era of relatively family friendly comic book adaptions, he’s been given an honest-to-goodness R-Rated movie. And in case you've been living under a rock this weekend, it was huge. Fox spent a very modest $58 million on the Merc with a Mouth's first cinematic outing, and over its debut weekend, the filthy-mouthed, gratuitously violent antihero reaped an enormous $132 million at the box office.
That's more money than X-Men: Days of Future Past made in its opening weekend, despite a relatively enormous budget and a PG-13 rating. The success of Deadpool, and the fact that it'll probably end up being more profitable than most tentpole superhero flicks, means that Hollywood is probably going to be looking at even more niche, risque superhero fare to bring to audiences in the near future.
Now, while it may seem that Deadpool will be an anomaly, what if it’s not? If it makes a ton of money at the box-office, not only will it get some sequels, it’ll potentially lead the suits in Hollywood to take notice and approve some other comic book properties to get an R-Rated outing. Yes, we’ve had Blade, Spawn and even Daredevil (the latter two were initially PG-13 versions, but were later released on home video in R-Rated Director's Cuts), but Deadpool could bring a whole new genre into the mainstream.
We take a look at 10 Superheroes Who Should Get R-Rated Movies.
11 Howard the Duck
So, the first Howard the Duck movie wasn’t so great. Which is to say: it was a travesty that Marvel would prefer us to forget ever happened. Not only was it not funny in any way, it missed the point of the source material. The movie was one long, unfunny, gag about a talking duck, whereas the original comic strip was an existential trip that was utterly hilarious.
A new movie, an R-Rated one, could follow Deadpool into the "break-the-fourth-wall" caper territory and set things straight once and for all. Throw in Man-Thing and a trip around the multiverse and we could even see alternate versions on the assorted Marvel characters we already know.
Another possibility is using some of the most dramatic moments from the Marvel Cinematic universe and editing them to have Howard in the background the whole time, subtlety steering the chain of events that lead to the Infinity War. In the end, he could even wield the Infinity Gauntlet to become the most powerful being in the universe. Absurd? Yes. Entertaining? If done right, absolutely!
10 Moon Knight
Often considered Marvel’s answer to Batman, Moon Knight is one seriously messed-up guy. Unlike Bruce Wayne, who fights villains to avenge the loss of his parents, Marc Spector takes down bad guys because he believes himself to be the avatar of an Egyptian god.
Moon Knight’s origins are a little convoluted, and his many personas and identities can be hard to follow, but if he were to be stripped back to basics Marc Spector could become far more engaging than some of the more two-dimensional heroes of the big screen. Moreover, his brutal brand of vigilante violence (try saying that five times fast) hasn’t really been seen in a Marvel movie. The most violent superhero movie of the last few decades is arguably Blade. But even then, it’s a half-man half-vampire taking on vampires, it’s not a vigilante, which is what most superheroes are at their core.
In any case, a guy dressed in white, doing very dark things, using gadgets and gizmos to take down the bad guys would be a good fit in-between the lighter movies and the neo-noir of the Netflix TV shows.
9 Black Widow
Remember in the first Avengers movie when Black Widow kept going on about the "red on her ledger" that she was trying to work off by being a good guy? Well, how about a movie set between two time periods? One set in the present, one set while still an operative of the Red Room working for the Soviets. Her past as a bad guy could catch up with her in the now.
Black Widow: Red Ledger, starring Scarlett Johansson could be huge! Toss in some Winter Soldier, putting a bullet in her as mentioned in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and some of those other Soviet Super Soldiers and you’ve got a spy-thriller mixed with some serious and brutal assassinations.
One could argue that this movie doesn't need to be R-Rated; Winter Soldier wasn’t and that was brilliant. But, Black Widow is a person haunted by her actions, so it stands to reason that those actions would be pretty horrific.
8 Ghost Rider
Ghost Rider has had two cinematic outings thus far and it’s fair to say that they were pretty underwhelming. It’s a spirit of vengeance that possesses a guy and rides around on a flame-wheeled motorcycle taking on Satan. It needs to be Rated R! It should be terrifying!
Given that Johnny Blaze has been used in the previous versions, it might be a safer option to reboot with the Dan Ketch character headlining, possibly with Johnny Blaze acting as a mentor. Whichever character headlines, the important thing is to go to some of the best stories the source material has to offer and blend it with true horror movies to make an Exorcist-style horror movie for the Marvel generation.
It’s unlikely that Marvel would go in this direction, as horror doesn’t tend to sell as well as superheroes, and it wouldn’t be the kind of franchise that Disney would want to associate itself with. However, if Marvel were to take the gamble and release it as an honest-to-goodness horror movie, then we could get a hero that’s as scary as the villains.
Remember when Venom appeared in Spider-Man 3? It’s safe to say that most people were disappointed by that version of the character. It didn’t fit in with the Silver Age inspirations of Raimi’s Spider-Man movies and it was shoe-horned in by studio execs. It didn’t work and that was a large reason why there wasn’t a Spider-Man 4.
Fast-forward to today. Marvel has agreed to share Spider-Man with Sony which means that Venom may well be an option for the Marvel Cinematic universe once again. Venom is a problematic option, however, as he can’t really come into being without originating from a Spider-Man story first.
Assuming the film makers can get past this, we could get a fully hard-core Venom at last. No Topher Grace (love him, but he was miscast) we can get an Eddie Brock in full-on anti-hero mode. While it may not go so far as the cannibalism seen when Mac Gargan was the host, we could still see a Venom that’s in the grey area of Anti-Hero as opposed to Hero or Villain. We could even see a Venom that takes on the next entry in this list…
Carnage is chaos. Chaos is Carnage. It’s impossible to reason with an entity that exists purely to cause chaos wherever it goes. It may seem implausible to have a movie that headlines a pure villain, but let’s face it, it’s been done before. Hannibal Lecter, Jason Voorhees, Norman Bates… Cletus Cassidy, a.k.a. Carnage, is up there with the best (or is that worst?) of all of them.
Like Venom, it’s hard to make a stand-alone Carnage movie. But, given the stand-alone Carnage comic books have been doing ok in recent years, there’s plenty of demand for some symbiotic insanity. Given Carnage’s unstable nature, he could headline a movie that breaks the fourth-wall and threatens his audience directly.
For those that say a Carnage movie is impossible and wouldn’t make any money… look at Deadpool’s opening weekend and get back to me.
An interstellar Mercenary and Bounty Hunter. Yeah, that’ll never work… It’s inconceivable that DC hasn't realized the potential of Lobo yet.
Initially a villain, it wasn’t until his re-imagining as a biker anti-hero in the early ‘90s that Lobo really caught fire, and it’s that version of the character that would need to be adapted. This persona was conceived as an over-the-top parody of Wolverine, but has more in common with Deadpool and, cinematically, could follow the same format. For instance, one of his early missions was to assassinate Santa when hired to do so by the Easter Bunny.
It is worth mentioning that Lobo was killed once, despite his physical power rivaling Superman’s. Upon his arrival in Heaven, he proceeded to kill everyone he met until he convinced the powers that be to send him back to finish the fight that killed him the first time.
He's absurd, powerful, and borderline crazy. It’s a movie that needs to be made.
The Spectre is less of a superhuman and more of an aspect of God himself. He’s a cosmic entity that personifies God’s vengeance on earth and has, on occasion, possessed various hosts. At one time he possessed the body of Green Lantern Hal Jordan.
His powers are essentially limitless as he’s second only to God. It’s generally believed that he can achieve any feat he sets his mind to. This poses cinematic problems, as he’s too powerful to be given much of a challenge, but if he were to be reduced in power, or de-powered entirely, he could continue with his mission in human form.
Despite being an aspect of God, he is prone to making mistakes and sometimes punishes the wrong people due to being manipulated. This, and his lack of respect for mortals, has caused some to believe that he’s more of a villain at times.
Let me say this, Hugh Jackman is amazing. If it weren’t for him making Wolverine so engaging back in 2000's X Men, we wouldn’t be enjoying the glory days of comic book movies we are today.
However, the toned-down Wolverine we’ve seen so far is a far cry from the killer we see in the comics. The Adamantium claws that can cut through anything are rarely used to full effect. Where’s the decapitations? OK, so he decapitated Deadpool that one time, but you get my meaning. He needs a bloodbath. He needs a horde of Hand ninjas to slice and dice.
What’s the point of a healing factor if we don’t see him burned to a crisp? Let’s either give Hugh Jackman a decent send-off with an R-Rated, over-the-top violent movie, or reboot with a new actor and take it to a dark place from the beginning.
Nemesis is basically "What if Batman was the Joker?" or even, "What if Batman was just a total ass****?"
Initially, his origin seemed to be one of vengeance. He was intent on killing the metro police inspector Blake Morrow as he claimed that Morrow had tried to imprison his father, causing his father to commit suicide. Later it’s revealed to be a fabrication and Nemesis is simply rich, bored, and intent on chaos.
It’s no surprise that the character comes from the mind of Mark Millar, as it’s an ultra-violent escapade of epic proportions. Essentially, Nemesis is a Batman/Joker hybrid, which should translate seamlessly to the big screen.
With Deadpool setting the box office alight, it could well be time to see R-Rated superhero movies become a little more mainstream. Got any ideas for potential R-Rated adventures? Leave us a comment!