Treading the line of movie ratings has always been a tricky business for comic-book movies. To choose between artistic freedom and making it palatable for young kids has always been a challenge which moviemakers constantly face. Moreover, there also lies profitability associated with a movie’s rating.
But fortunately, all the myths and preconceived notions regarding making an R-rated movie were shattered with the arrival of Deadpool. Fox’s ballsy move to release the unfiltered and uncouth Deadpool paid off as the movie earned a whopping $783 million against a measly budget of $58 million. Paving the way for R-rated movies, Fox’s Logan (2017) received universal acclaim and is still considered as one of the greatest superhero movies ever made. DC’s Joker (2019) directed by Todd Phillips followed the same route to become an instant success along with Joaquin Phoenix winning the Academy Award for Best Actor.
As Marvel Studios acquired the rights to use X-Men and Fantastic Four from Fox, the issue of R-rated movies in the MCU has arisen. Disney’s policy of PG-13 movies can make it difficult to portray some of the mutants, as well as non-mutants. Netflix’s Daredevil and Jessica Jones received universal acclaim for their graphic tone and mature themes, which would never have been possible under Disney. But as the MCU is going through a phase of Renaissance, there are hopes of getting R-rated movies in the future. Here are 10 characters who deserve an R-rated movie that can shine in the box-office.
The Man Without Fear aka Daredevil became a popular superhero when Frank Miller released his Born Again back in 1986. Filled with heavy biblical imagery, violence, and moral decadence, Born Again re-defined the character of Daredevil in Marvel.
After the fairly forgettable Daredevil movie starring Ben Affleck, Netflix released its TV series with Charlie Cox as the blind superhero. The widespread acclaim Daredevil received was unprecendented. It’s graphic nature, intense fight scenes, violence, and the accurate portrayal of the criminal underbelly of Hell’s Kitchen made Daredevil one of the best superhero shows ever created. Now cancelled, the future of Daredevil lies in the hands of MCU. If they do wish to visit Hell’s Kitchen once again, they better not shy away from a little blood.
9. Victor Von Doom
With Fantastic Four back in MCU’s roster, it’s only a few years till we get to see Marvel’s most complicated and sinister antagonist on the big screen. Victor Von Doom is the major antagonist of the Fantastic Four. After two horribly bad depictions, MCU needs to put all its resources to make Doctor Doom flawless.
To truly understand Doctor Doom, MCU should invest a movie entirely on his origins and the heinous acts he has committed over the years in his lust for power. From sacrificing his lover to damning Franklin Richards to hell, a Doctor Doom movie can be truly impactful if it’s R-rated.
8. Nick Fury
Samuel L. Jackson’s portrayal of Nick Fury has been a fan favourite. Yet, Jackson’s characteristic swearing has been missing in his Nick Fury. The closest fans got to was when Fury was wiped out of existence in Infinity War and managed to speak “Mother…” before turning to dust.
As the mastermind of S.H.I.E.L.D., Nick Fury deserves an R-rated movie of his own where we can get to see his early years as a spy working in dangerous conditions. While it’s a long shot to expect Nick Fury going full Jules Winnfield from Pulp Fiction, a few strong words have never done any harm.
7. The Hellstrom Siblings
If the MCU really wishes to push its envelope, it might need to look deep into Satan’s lair. Enter, the Hellstrom siblings. Daimon and Satana Hellstrom are literal Satan spawns who fight for the good guys.
With the Hellstrom siblings, Marvel can go absolute bonkers with its portrayal of gore, violence, and supernatural horror. With a satanic pentagon on Daimon’s chest, it can’t get any more gothic than this. Soon, Hulu will be releasing Helstrom TV series based on these demonic siblings.
6. The Punisher
Another stellar addition to Netflix’s library, The Punisher received widespread acclaim for its extreme violence, mature theme, and Jon Bernthal‘s portrayal of Frank Castle.
Now cancelled, the MCU might release a movie in the near future featuring The Punisher. A ruthless vigilante who mows down criminals with lethal precision, The Punisher cannot be depicted accurately in a PG-13 movie. Frank Castle’s misaligned sense of justice and take-no-prisoners attitude deserves an R-rated movie, if made.
5. Doctor Strange
Doctor Stephen Strange is not a character who drops casual F-Bombs even under the most distressing situations. Yet, pushing the artistic boundaries in the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness sounds like a great idea to us.
Directed by Sam Raimi, the upcoming Doctor Strange 2 is believed to have elements of horror and the paranormal. If the MCU is going down the path of horror, imagine the potential this movie can have if given an R-rated. From exploring themes of loss and guilt (Iron Man’s death) to visceral horror sequences, the movie can re-define the MCU.
4. Ghost Rider
The Spirit of Vengeance, Ghost Rider was portrayed in two fairly decent movies by Nicolas Cage. But now in the MCU, Ghost Rider can play a pivotal role in exploring the mystic side of the universe alongside Doctor Strange and other magical beings.
Having struck a deal with the devil, the Ghost Rider(s) has some incredible abilities which can be shown in great detail if allowed an R-rated release. From his excruciating Penance Stare to Pyrokinesis, Ghost Rider has committed some pretty morally ambiguous acts (using the Penance Stare on baby Thanos) which cannot be shown in the current MCU.
The two-time Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali is all set to star in the upcoming Blade movie. Though a surprising welcome to the MCU roster, depicting the vampire-killer in a PG-13 movie is nearly impossible.
In a constant war against vampires and other supernatural creatures, Blade does not shy away from gratuitous violence. Having gained most of his incredible powers after being bitten by Morbius, the half-vampire hero has rarely shown remorse for using excessive violence. Having a traumatic childhood and gangster-like upbringing, it’s only fair if the MCU lets artistic freedom triumph over Disney’s strict policies.
2. Heroes for Hire
This one does not really need an R-rating to work. But, having an R-rating can truly elevate this movie to the potential it really has. Heroes for Hire were shown for a brief period when Luke Cage and Iron Fist teamed up in Netflix, before getting cancelled.
As the MCU is exploring Shang-Chi in its upcoming phase, getting an Iron Fist movie is quite plausible too. If we do get to see Heroes for Hire on the big screen, it would be a terrific watch to see the two engaging in irreverent banter and occasional violence, unrestricted by a PG-13 rating.
This might be a controversial decision to take, and truthfully, might never even come to fruition. But, there are two ways an R-rated Spider-Man can shine in the box-office. As the MCU has teased Miles Morales in Spider-Man: Homecoming, we might get to see the death of Peter Parker on the big screen in a decade or so. If the MCU does decide to take that route, an R-Rated movie where Peter Parker is killed by Green Goblin can be as great as Logan, if not more.
The second route involves a certain mercenary we know. As the X-Men are now under the roof of MCU, Deadpool has also found his way too. In the comics, Spider-Man and Deadpool are an iconic pair. And, if they do make Spider-Man meet Deadpool in the movies, MCU’s least concern would be a barrage of expletives from the Merc, which would definitely require an R-rating.