Comic book movies are, by their sheer nature, generally aimed towards the teen market and upwards; even as filmmakers like Christopher Nolan try to push the superhero film in unexpectedly dark, gritty directions, it is still an entertainment that fundamentally serves the inner-youngster in all of us, as well as actual youngsters who account for those billion-dollar box office grosses. That said, occasionally comic book properties dabble in a little R-rated action - Blade, Punisher and Kick-Ass, for instance - when there's no other option, yet when studios can get away with it, they will almost always try to wrangle a property into the coveted PG-13 pigeonhole, for the sake of box office dynamite. Though some of the films on this list are excellent, most are very, very bad, and a large part of the reason is their diluted content as a result of the PG-13 rating. Each of these films could have been improved with an R-rating, whether it would simply result in some cleaner editing, or allow the writers to fashion a more fittingly mature story. Here are 10 comic book movies that should have been R-rated...
10. The Wolverine
James Mangold's recent stab at X-Men's most famous character was a considerable improvement over the mess that was Gavin Hood's jumbled X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but it still had one major thing holding it back (aside from the rather disappointing third act); the fact that it needed to be R-rated. Bryan Singer has talked at length about how challenging it was to secure a PG-13 rating for X-Men 2 given that Wolverine runs around a mansion stabbing legions of Stryker's guards, and that's exactly it; how is a film about a man stabbing lots of people supposed to be aimed at kids anyway? The original plan for The Wolverine was that it would be R-rated, and it's widely speculated that the real reason for Darren Aronofsky's departure from the director's chair is that Fox simply could not abide such a decision. Just imagine; if it had been R-rated, we could have had Wolverine's claws sticking through his enemies in glorious 3D!
Frequently sleep-deprived film addict and video game obsessive who spends more time than is healthy in darkened London screening rooms. Follow his twitter on @ShaunMunroFilm or e-mail him at shaneo632 [at] gmail.com.