Although Deadpool and Logan being R-rated may seem to have opened the door for a title wave of R-rated comic book movies, it’s not clear this is really the case. Even though – on the surface – certain properties might seem like they could easily be made into an R-rated version, it’s not obvious this will happen. For instance, will we ever see an R-rated Batman? For various reasons, it seems unlikely.
R-rated ‘Deadpool’ versus R-rated ‘Batman’
While there’s no denying that the breakout hit Deadpool had its fair share of violence, blood, and gore, it’s not absolutely certain that this alone is what got it the R-rating. As noted by Cinema Blend, sex scenes, raunchy humor, and generally adult content also played a big role in this movie being R-rated.
When considering the possibility of an R-rated Batman, while the violence might be there, humor – raunchy or otherwise – almost certainly won’t be. If any superhero could be described as humorless and grim, it would certainly have to be Bruce Wayne’s Batman.
And it’s difficult to see Warner Bros. – which owns DC Comics – going along with the kind of sex scenes we saw in Deadpool between Ryan Reynolds and his costar Morena Baccarin. No indeed. So the Deadpool model for creating an R-rated Batman would seem to be a nonstarter.
R-rated ‘Logan’ versus R-rated ‘Batman’
In some ways, the differences between Deadpool and Logan would seem to make Logan a better template for any potential R-rated Batman. After all, both Batman and Wolverine are complete loners, except on those rare occasions when they join up with – respectively – the Justice League or the X-Men.
Also, both characters are highly skilled in combat and relentless when punishing bad guys. But the extent to which Batman in any future movie will be as bloodthirsty as he was in Batman v Superman is an open question. One of the principal problems that most moviegoers had with Ben Affleck’s new version of Batman – or perhaps it was Zack Snyder’s – is that he used guns and killed people without hesitation.
In the comic books and in most of the movies, even if Batman kills he always does so reluctantly. By contrast, Logan’s Wolverine is a killing machine without a shred of mercy for whoever he happens to be fighting. While the embargo hasn’t yet been lifted for reviews of Logan, the simple fact is that the blood and gore level of this Wolverine movie almost certainly vastly exceeds that produced by Batman’s undeniably high body count in Batman v Superman.
Batman Merchandising and Toys
While you might think that Deadpool and Logan both provide Fox with the same merchandising opportunities for toys, costumes, and games that Warner Bros. enjoys with its DC properties, this isn’t the case. When Fox Studios purchased the rights to these characters from Marvel years ago, one thing they didn’t get was the merchandising rights.
While on the one hand, this means that Fox is missing out on a fortune in toys, video games, and doodads, it also gives them a freedom to do things with their X-Men movies that they might otherwise be hesitant to try. After all, if you can’t sell toys to kids anyway, you might feel free to make R-rated movies.
Warner Bros. and their subsidiary DC comics are in a very different position. They have the full rights to all of the DC characters, meaning they enjoy huge profits from sales of Batman merchandise. Everything from Batman games and toys to Batman costumes and shower curtains adds to their ever burgeoning bank account. Creating an R-rated Batman could be a massive blow to these long-term profits. So while there might be some reasons to make an R-rated Batman, there are far more profitable reasons for Warner Bros. to stick to a PG-rating.
[Featured Image by Warner Bros.]