I recently caught a late night screening of Deadpool. Judging by the box office numbers, so did many of you.
I enjoyed it. I had been worried that it would be all dick jokes with little story and while there are plenty of dick jokes (and one fart joke), there was enough story in it for me. The action scenes were solid and all and all, it was a great adult, action packed superhero film.
But due to Deadpool we now have a double edged sword staring at us in our geeky faces.
Adult rated superhero movies.
Now I’m using the term adult here as my country (Canada) and the United States have different ratings systems in place. I imagine elsewhere in the world it’s also different (I’m only familiar with how Canada and the US work) so I figure using the term Adult rated is pretty much a catch all for everyone.
Deadpool is not a kids movie. It is not a movie I would take children to see and quite frankly, if you take your nine year old to this, you’re a stupid person. The rating is clearly marked, just because it has a guy in a mask it doesn’t mean it’s The Avengers. Remember Leatherface and Jason both wear masks too and you wouldn’t take your kids to see them.
That being said, Deadpool is definitely a character who can go for a harsher rating. Despite the wise cracking and the costume, at his heart, the character is a mercenary. He kills people for money. That alone makes it a good set up for a more adult film. I think the rating it garnered in the US and Canada was more then justified and also that the film used it’s rating well. The language and violence suited the story and weren’t just there for the sake of being there.
And there are a ton of other characters that would make good use of a more adult rated film. Characters like The Crow, Blade and The Punisher all had adult rated films and should probably stay that way. I think if Spawn ever returned to the silver screen, it should shoot for a similar rating. I think Deadpool could really open the door for characters we wouldn’t get otherwise. The Authority, for example, could make a great Adult rated superhero film.
For those who don’t remember the original run of The Authority, it was a great superhero series created by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch. Set in the Wildstorm universe, Ellis would be followed by Mark Millar on another brillian run, either of which could lay a solid foundation for a film series. Could you do an Authority film with a PG rating? I suppose it’s a possibility but it would take the guts out of the story. The Authority was a team that not only took out super villains but also made sure they were gone for good. They had straight and gay characters with active sex lives. It’s a comic where if made into a film, not only would it need an Adult rating but that rating would suit it.
The other edge of the sword are characters that may not need the additional adult material but will now have it thrown upon them. Remember when we started to see a lot of comic characters who didn’t need to be darker and violent but suddenly were? Where every villain suddenly got their own book and dealt justice out in blood? That’s the kind of thing we may be facing.
If Hollywood insiders are to be believed, there are now a ton of older properties that are being re-examined in the wake of Deadpool doing so well, some of which I can see being ripe for this kind of thing. The Crow reboot that has had so many problems getting made in the PG environment may now get a reprieve. The Spawn reboot that Todd McFarlane has been talking about for years, might get another solid look. Maybe even the Lobo movie that has been in Developmental Hell, might even get a fresh look.
But for every appropriate film, we’ll get ones that don’t need that rating… or even to exist really. I’ve heard talk of revived interest in a Venom film because, much like we saw in the 90’s, he’s like Spider-Man but with an edge…..and he eats brains or something. Do we really need a Venom movie? And if so, do we need one where it’s rated for adults? Probably not but I’m sure someone out there is pitching it to Sony as you read this.
And then you have a few characters that straddle that line. Wolverine is an example Fox is currently trotting out and honestly, I’m not sure what to think about it. I have gone on record many times that part of the reason I like blood in movies with violence is that (for me at least) it drives home the consequences of that violence and I used to point to Wolverine’s rampage in X2 as an example. Remember when the soldiers break into the X-Mansion to kidnap the mutants and Wolverine stabs and kills a ton of guys without a trace of blood? In my mind, that was lessening the impact of what Wolverine does. The blood was not used/shown because that would give it a harder rating. In my mind, it showed the kids in that theatre that those guys weren’t dead, they were sleeping.
That being said, I’m not sure if the character really needs a harder rating for his next film outing. For example, The Wolverine was a great film that I felt conveyed Logan’s violence very well and the consequences there of without having a hard rating.
You also have the children to think about.
One of the problems with Deadpool being Adult rated that harshly is that a lot of parents did not do their research and figured it was okay for kids. I’m not a parent myself but I figure I would look it up before taking a kid to the theatre. Now, while I would like to say the same thing about Wolverine, I can actually understand the excuse on that one. Wolverine is a character that has a track record of mid rated films. In North America his films fall into PG to PG-13 at the current moment. That’s a track record of six films that were available to the younger age group. I would like to thinks parents would do their research on what their kid is going to see but after six films being in the right age range, I might not think to look up the new one.
Does Wolverine need to be adult rated? No. Could it potentially add something interesting to the film? Maybe, if done right. Let’s not forget that at the end of the day Wolverine is a guy with knives coming out of his hands that he stabs people with.
Deadpool has opened the door for Adult rated superhero films, let’s hope the party is not crashed by bad writing and studio politics.
If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!