Let’s start by saying what we already know: the first and only live-action version of Deadpool that we’ve seen was absolutely horrendous. X-Men Origins: Wolverine stripped away everything that comic book fans love about the character, and the PG-13 rating certainly didn’t help (not a single drop of blood on his swords after cutting down a room full of guys? Really?). In the comics Deadpool is as psychopathic and violent as they come, and that just can’t come across unless a studio is willing to all but completely cut off audiences under the age of 17. The real tragedy in this case is that 20th Century Fox has been holding on to an R-rated script for years now and just haven’t had the guts to pull the trigger on the project. Screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick have said that their future of their film could end up being linked to the box office fate of this weekend’s Kick-Ass 2, so we’ll have to see where that leads.

Like Wolverine and Deadpool, Spawn has had his chance in a live-action movie before, but the problem is that it came back in 1997 before studios realized that some superhero movies actually need a budget to be any good. The movie may have looked good when it was first released, but time has not been very kind to it (in fact, it looks like it’s been beaten with an ugly stick). I’ve pitched the idea of a reboot before, but to take it a step further what they really need to do is make a hard-R version of Spawn. After all, the title character is an anti-hero assassin who is killed, sent to hell, sells his soul to see his wife again and comes back as a violent vigilante. Make it sit on the border of horror and action, find a director who can harness awesome visual effects without overshadowing the story, and you have the makings of a pretty badass comic book movie.

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