Since the unexpected box-office success of “Deadpool” — and the more predictable success of “Logan” — studio executives have spent the past few months openly wondering if they could slap an R rating on any of their biggest properties. Back in March, a source at DC Films admitted that the studio would “100 percent” make an R-rated superhero movie if matched the characters. Similarly, Warner Bros. Animation has possibly announced its plans to release an R-rated animated version of “Watchmen” in the near future. For these studios, the combination of mature content and spandex equals dollar signs, and they’re quickly shifting to react to what they perceive as the new demands of the marketplace.

READ MORE: ‘Logan,’ ‘Deadpool’ And The Paradox Of The R-Rated Superhero Movie

Not Kevin Feige. The Marvel head recently spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about the current trend towards darker superhero movies, and while he admired the creative vision of movies like “Deadpool” and “Logan,” he’s not exactly rushing an R-rated adaptation of, say, “Moon Knight” anytime soon. “My takeaway from both of those films is not the R rating, it’s the risk they took,” Feige explained in the interview. “The chances they took, the creative boundaries that they pushed. That should be the takeaway for everyone.”

Feige seems right on the money here. There’s a danger with any new trend in Hollywood — from CGI characters to profane superheroes to digital de-aging — to end up in a situation where the tail is effectively wagging the dog, forcing screenwriters and directors to throw in blood splatter and swear words just for the sake of having them. Sure, Marvel has a few characters that would benefit from a more restrictive rating (see the aforementioned Knight, Moon), but building a cohesive cinematic universe is more important to the studio than chasing the latest Hollywood trend. And as Feige notes, fans really are responding more to the freshness of the content than the R-rated specifics. As long as fans feel that Marvel isn’t playing it safe with their properties — that they continue to be bold and take risks in service of their characters — I’m sure that Feige and company can live with the disappointment of a very vocal few.

  • Sleuth1989

    He’s not wrong. Fox didn’t look at it like that. “Oh an R-rating scares away general audiences.” That’s why it took three films to make the Wolverine film people genuinely wanted that showed the unhinged rage of a near immortal man who lives while all others die. But they failed to understand the R-rating is just a marker for the content. The content itself is what matters and the willingness to push a strong narrative forward that isn’t determined by a pre-assumed box office number but by what will allow the content to be at it’s strongest. Trust me, if the content is strong people will come. “Deadpool” was not exactly the most familiar of characters mind you. Heck I didn’t know exactly who he was till the film itself was announced. Honestly I didn’t even know the character Reynolds played in “Origins” was Deadpool and that I would say was most general audiences. “Iron Man” and “The Avengers” worked because Marvel took a risk. They said “We’re going to make a cinematic universe of our comic book characters” and they did it. They carefully picked their directors until arriving with super-nerd Joss Whedon himself to make the first true cinematic team-up film of superheroes. No other director would have instilled the same choice of appreciation for the material and the nerd culture in it like Whedon would have (He actually wrote “The Avengers” comic book series!). “Deadpool” and “Logan” took risks. To make more mature, adult stories about very mature, dark and unhinged characters. Fox put in half the budget for those films that Marvel put in for their risks. They were cutting corners wherever possible, Jackman had to take a pay cut and made “Logan” for the ridiculously-low budget of $97 million (Considering the “X-Men” films have at times been made for north of $200 million I’d say that’s impressive). “Deadpool” was made for like $80 million or something ridiculous and made MORE than “Days of Future Past”, which took an ensemble of over a dozen actors over the decade and a half the franchise has been around with the film itself more than anything serving as a giant fan tribute to the whole series (It was basically “X2” with time travel). Creative will always win though. Audiences want new and exciting. A fourth-wall breaking superhero, a Western-style characters story. You can’t beat a film with just a good story and committed performers. The love shows in the end. 🙂

    • Sleuth1989

      And I know what a lot of comic book fans are thinking…”No, that was NOT Deadpool in ‘Origins’.” so sorry if I offended anyone. You’re not wrong. LOL