It seems like the latest fad in entertainment is begging for R-rated everything — a growing contingent of cinephiles insists things need that big ol' R to be palatable. With the Marvel Cinematic Universe growing into the world's largest entertainment franchise, it's a topic fans can't get enough of. They keep asking, "Is Blade going to be rated R?" or they insist Disney+ isn't going to be up to snuff because the harshest content the platform will have would be PG-13/TV-14.
The question begs to be asked: why does the MCU need R-rated movies or television shows? Outside of gratuitous amounts of violence and Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) dropping an f-bomb twice per sentence, what does an R rating do to help bolster the MCU? Why are we already writing things off for not getting that coveted R rating? What would an R rating do to help the storytelling more than the "lesser-rated" movies already have?
To date, the MCU has made nearly $23 billion worldwide without a single R-rated movie. In fact, you'd have to wade through sixteen superhero properties before you'd find the first R-rated movie on the box office chart in Deadpool.Deadpool 2 is a few spots later and the critically-acclaimed Logan hardly makes it into the Top 50 at spot #47. Movies like Watchmen, Blade, and Blade II are #72, #83, and #79, respectively.
Outside of the Deadpool franchise, it's pretty safe to say R-rated superhero flicks don't perform too hot at the box office — certainly not as well as their PG-13 counterparts. In an industry where every decision is made based upon the almighty dollar, you already have the answer to the main question right there.
There's already a massive group writing of the freshly-announced Moon Knight series because it'll be on Disney+ — but for what reason? Moon Knight, for the most part, has been a tamer character for most of his existence. It wasn't until the mid-2000s he went off the deep end and cut the face of Raoul Bushman. Is it necessary for fans to see Marc Spector fillet a street-level criminal for newcomers to understand the character? No, probably not.
Fans seem to forget the fact every time Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) or Hawkeye (Clint Barton) fire their weapons, they're certainly not shooting to maim. Hell, even Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 had enough phallic jokes that'd make Deadpool himself blush. R-rated movies aren't always better — just look at the latest Hellboy reboot to see that.
Upcoming Marvel Studios projects include Black Widow on May 1, 2020, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier in Fall of 2020, The Eternals on November 6, 2020, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on February 12, 2021, WandaVision in Spring 2021, Loki in Spring 2021, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on May 7, 2021, What If…? In Summer 2021, Hawkeye in Fall 2021, Thor: Love and Thunder on November 5, 2021, and Black Panther 2 on May 6, 2022. Other MCU properties without release dates include Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, and She-Hulk.
Will you revolt if the MCU never has an R-rated movie or will you be fine with it? Why or why not? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or by hitting me up on Twitter at @AdamBarnhardt!