The Rated R superhero film Deadpool is kicking the crap out of the box office, mostly because it is a pretty solid film that stays exceptionally true to the spirit of the source material (while still fitting in well with the larger X-Men cinematic universe). But we (and quite a few others) predicted that the studios would learn the wrong lesson from this, and that we’d end up with a bunch of rated R superhero movies without any real plot or character reasons for the additional sex and/or gore.
And it looks like the tide has begun.
In an purported image from Toy Fair, the third Wolverine movie is now anticipating an R rating. Now it’s true that Wolverine is a borderline character who in the comics could dance between the equivalent worlds of R and PG-13 when it comes to violence, the film series has established that he works well in the realm of PG-13. And since Deadpool has already more domestically than the last Wolverine movie, I can understand the temptation.
But the studio needs to understand that the R rating isn’t why.
The Wolverine came out with a skeptical audience that last saw the character prominently in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a movie so bad that its own sequel does its best to distance itself in its title. Also, and this is key, Deadpool is a movie that fills no other niche.
Making a rated R Wolverine movie, at this point, is a trap. Trying to force the film that direction won’t give us anything other than the worst of the 90s version of the character.
And trust me, no one wants that.
The third Wolverine movie is expected March 3, 2017.