The success of Deadpool and Logan means that movie studios are now more likely to green-light R-rated blockbusters. But the material must be right. Hardcore violence and/or explicit sex and/or bad language won’t work for every established character. Because seeing someone like Captain America do any of those things would be all kinds of wrong.
At the same time however, there are quite a few film favourites for whom a more adult approach would work. With the following our five picks.
The original James Bond movies were pretty racy for their time, being family films that featured their fair share of sex and violence. 1989’s Licence to Kill is perhaps the nastiest of the Bond films to date, filled with sadistic heroes and villains and some deeply unpleasant deaths. The recent Daniel Craig run has also been pretty dark, with 007 committing violent acts, then paying the psychological price. But the guy is a trained killer, going to-to-toe with the most evil people on the planet, and sleeping with the world’s most beautiful women. So let’s properly illustrate that on the big screen, making the sex gratuitous, and the violence extreme. Indeed Quentin Tarantino once expressed an interest in making a Bond movie, so give him the gig, and let him off the leash.
There hasn’t yet been an R-rated movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But we reckon Black Widow is the character to make that happen. Played by Scarlett Johansson — and first appearing in Iron Man 2 — the movie version of Natasha Romanoff is one of the founding members of The Avengers. Born in Russia, she was recruited by the KGB at a young age, turned into a brilliant spy via brutal means, and became one of the world’s greatest assassins. If the proposed movie is a prequel, it could deal with her early missions in R-rated fashion. And if not, let’s have a present-day Black Widow movie in which bones are broken and blood is spilled.
Over the course of two movies, a pair of dastardly criminals — nicknamed ‘The Wet Bandits’ — terrorised young Kevin McCallister, invading his house while he was Home Alone, and trying to kill Kevin while he was Lost in New York. They failed, the resourceful kid defeating them by setting up some very PG-rated traps. But we want to see a grown-up, R-rated sequel to that story. In which The Wet Bandits track adult Kevin down with murder on their minds, and McCallister fights back in vicious fashion, his new traps truly the stuff of nightmares. Indeed a popular fan theory posits that Kevin grew up to be Jigsaw in the Saw movies. So let’s effectively make that fantasy a reality in the Home Alone universe.
Frank Miller made ‘The Dark Knight’ super-dark with The Dark Knight Returns, and Batman stories have retained that grim tone on the page ever since. Tim Burton’s Batman movies reflected this, landing a mere PG-13 rating, but terrifying children in the process. Similarly Christopher Nolan’s intense The Dark Knight — featuring Heath Ledger’s deranged turn as The Joker — was given a 12a certificate in the UK, and became the British Board of Film Classification’s most complained about film of 2008. So let’s quit pussy-footing around, and give the Caped Crusader the R-rated movie he deserves. Several storylines lend themselves to such a treatment, with comic book runs Death in the Family and The Killing Joke top of that list, alongside video game Arkham Asylum.
The Velociraptors were the breakout stars of Jurassic Park. Audiences went into the 1993 movie thinking it would be all about the Tyrannosaurus Rex, and that T-Rex attack is very much a highlight. But the Velociraptors were truly terrifying, being fast, smart, and deadly. So we want a Jurassic movie that solely focusses on them; a more modestly budgeted spin-off in which Velociraptors rip, tear, disembowel and destroy in messed up R-rated fashion.
Ghost Rider is a stunt motorcyclist who sells his soul to the devil; his body bursting into flames and his head turning into a flaming skull when he’s around evil. Which is a messed up tale that lends itself to an R-rating. Thus far we’ve had a couple of madcap Nicolas Cage movies that gave us PG-13 comic book horror, but we’re craving something a good deal nastier for the character. Perhaps via an adaptation of Death Race! (in which he literally races death) or Hearts of Darkness (in which Ghost Rider teams up with Punisher and Wolverine).
The Harry Potter movies started out tame, but as the kids grew older, so the films became more adult in nature. Culminating in the Deathly Hallows flicks, which were filled with violence and tragedy. The franchise has returned by way of spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. But we want a direct sequel, in which grown-up Harry does battle withe a villain scarier than Voldemort, and creatures that make the Dementors look Disney characters. Give it to an up-and-coming genre director, and take Potter out of the realms of fantasy, and into hardcore horror.
Deathstroke‘s screen time has been limited thus far, the character popping up during the credits of Justice League. Setting him up as the villain of the forthcoming The Batman. But if that film isn’t R-rated, we believe that a future spin-off movie revolving around the character most definitely should be. As much like Black Widow, Deathstroke is a skilled assassin. Who also happens to be a mercenary, working — without a conscience — for the highest bidder. Making Deathstroke a seriously dangerous movie villain, and ripe for R-rated celluloid shenanigans. Maybe via his taking out the Teen Titans, the title in which Deathstroke first appeared back in 1980.