Post-Deadpool: Where do Comic Book Movies Go From Here?
It would seem that everyone loves the new Deadpool movie (including myself). With critical praise and box office success, Deadpool was a worthwhile risk for 20th Century Fox and pull it off, earning them a seat at the “superhero movies” table with Marvel’s MCU and DC’s upcoming DCU. The big question now is where do comic book movies come from here: PG-13 or R?
My good friend (and bigtime Deadpool comic book fan) Adam Lydard offers his own opinion and the matter of the Deadpool movie as well as the future “rating” of superhero movies.
Take away Adam….
Written by Adam Lydard
My first thoughts walking out of Deadpool were ‘”Wow. Fox actually did this.” I went with my wife, as some of you may have, and my friend Pat and his wife Teresa. We all wanted to see this movie from the day it was announced that it was in production. The Deadpool that was seen in X-Men Origins: Wolverine was not Deadpool. And we all know what happened with the First Class series, where the X-Men timeline reset everything. As of now, we have the proof that Wolverine Origins was reset. It is quite possible that this is another universe; given the fact that Deadpool likes to poke his head into the different Marvel universes in the comics. But like the Deadpool quote goes “McAvoy or Stewart? These timelines can get so confusing,” I am not going to try and lay out which timeline or universe this could be. Everyone has his or her own theory. The questions that we all have to answer now is, where do comic book movies go from here and what are the possibilities of more rated R comic movies in the future?
Before we try to answer these, let’s explore why Deadpool was successful. If you read the comics, most of us know how Deadpool works. He is a foul-mouthed mercenary that works for the highest bidder. That is basically Deadpool in a nutshell. He goes around wrecking havoc on the different universes because he can. In Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe, he literally kills the Marvel universe. If you haven’t read it and you are a Deadpool fan, I highly recommend it. This was the reason Deadpool worked. He had to be rated R. A PG-13 rating would have not done Deadpool justice as a character. Movies that are made PG-13 are mostly made for the money. Studios want as much attention as they can get with these movies (i.e. the more attention, the more money). It’s a cycle that has been used for years. So when talking about a rated R comic book movie, studios tend to shy away from it. Sure there have been a bunch of R superhero movies in the past, but they all have been different eras and generations. Judge Dredd, (Sly and Bullock) was made in 1995. The Sin City series was made in the mid 2000s. Punisher and Constantine (both are my favorites) were made in 2004-2005. I could go on, but the point is, when these movies were made, the studios were willing to risk making rated R comic book movies. If you take a look at some of them made in recent years like Punisher: War Zone, and take away the fact that they didn’t use Thomas Jane, making this rated R was a mistake mainly because who was going to see it? Avid comic book fans that read these comic back in the day that are now old enough to do so. This movie cost so much to make and yet barely broke even. In the economic drought these days, that is not good enough. Hence, almost every comic book movie coming out being PG-13. They make money, plain and simple.
Now, where do comic book movies go from here? Fox took a risk that paid off. They knew that the first X-Men series ended on a horrible note. Luckily, The First Class series helped bail them out. Don’t even get me started on Wolverine movies. They were good, but not as good as they could have been. And we all know about the FF disaster that happened recently. So you could say that Deadpool was Fox’s last hope of becoming a major part in the comic book movie genre. The end game was that this had to work. If this didn’t work, then in my opinion, Fox would have been forced to sell the rights back to Marvel or needed to come up with something big. Of course, they have X-Men: Apocalypse coming out, but would that have really saved them if Deadpool flopped? Like I stated, this is just my opinion. Most of you will disagree if not all so don’t hate me. In the end though, Deadpool did work. It did something in the comic book genre that hasn’t been done in the Marvel universe since The Blade series. Deadpool has helped Fox salvage a seat in the comic book world of movie. Who knows what is going to happen with X-Men: Apocalypse, but they now have a Marvel character that they can build off of knowing the risks they can take will pay off. From here, most likely many Marvel comic book movies will still stay PG-13 because well lets face it, its Disney and Marvel. Family friendly films are their bread and butter. Of course, I could be wrong about this. They could surprise me in the future with a new rated R Blade reboot (I hope). In reality right now, many of the comic book movies that will get an R rating will be the ones that deserve one. Deadpool deserved it. I know a lot of kids will miss out on seeing it, but hey, my mom didn’t let me see Blade when it first came out. So the answer to the question: where do comic book movies go from here is a matter of an opinion, but I think they stay right where they are. Ever heard of the phrase “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”? Yeah, if it’s not broken then why change it? The Avengers are doing fine with PG-13 ratings. Guardians of the Galaxy are fine with this as well. This is mainly because they don’t deserve an R rating. Depending on the characters, I believe that is how the rating system will be judged for these types of movies. Don’t get me wrong, the R rating has always been in play, but studios need to be mindful of who gets what in the comic book world. And because of Deadpool’s success in this generation, studios will consider more R rated comic book movies in the future.
Will we see rated R movies in the future? We most certainly will. There is no doubt in my mind that this is a trend that will not be broken anytime soon. They are already contemplating Wolverine 3 being rated R. There have been talks of doing the Old Man Logan storyline. If this I done, then there is no way that this can be PG-13. That would be doing an injustice to the comic. If you haven’t read it, then I advise you to. It’s a great story for an already well established character. I think this could be a good thing, but you have to be careful since the two movie before were PG-13. You are going to lose an audience. If you can live with that, then by all means go for it. X-Force is already being planned, which is a great idea and that could be rated R as well. Fox has a whole universe to work with here and if they do it right, they could own the rights to X-Men for a long time. Could Marvel and Disney do a rated R movie? Yes they could, if they both agreed not to be so family friendly. It’s all about what the studios want and what type of audience they want to reach. Fox knew what they wanted for Deadpool and they also knew the audience they would reach.
Final note here. I want to say hats off to Fox to Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, and Tim Miller for making this film the way it should have been. More importantly, hats off to Ryan Reynolds for helping to get Fox on board and playing Deadpool the way he should have been. Not that crap in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
I’m personally concerned about this. What happened with comedies is you had one successful rated R raunchy comedy and now years later it is rare a non animated comedy is family friendly. It would make me very sad to see this happen with superhero movies too. You know there will be copycats but hopefully not too many
Oh I definitely agree. It’s the name of the game in Hollywood. They’ll take something that was successful (a film) and run the concept into the ground with various back wagon copycats. Just like the superhero movies of today. There’s plenty of over-saturation in that genre.
A good example of copycat mentality can be seen in all the Lego copycats we are getting. We will be getting trolls, pez,emoji, angry birds and more
They just have to be smart in who they pick. Pick the wrong character and the movie is doomed. But you all are probably right. It’s Hollywood so everything now will end up being rated R or having an extended rated R version for their blurays
Very true. I mean Ryan Reynolds was perfect as Deadpool. He had the right amount of snarky banter and comedic timing to pull a character like Deadpool. Could you imagine Deadpool as someone else…..I couldn’t.
No I couldn’t. Just like when they recast Wolverine I can’t imagine anyone else but Jackman doing it
Nice article. I think Deadpool is exactly what the comic book genre needed. Something that was fresh and could prove there’s a place for R rated movies in the genre. I think Marvel is set on the PG-13 movies, while their Netflix series will be as violent and grounded as can be (because they’re street level characters). DC/Warner Bros will likely stay PG-13, but the fact that an R rated version of BvS exists means its possible they could consider R rated movies. As for Fox, now they see what kind of success they can have if they just get out of their own way!
Yeah, there. Thanks for writing. I agree with you. Even studio head (be it Marvel, Neflix, DC, etc) is pretty much set in their ways. Its like the old saying “It its not broke…don’t fix it”
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