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Thank you, Wade Wilson, thank you so much. The recent release of Deadpool has become an unprecedented, unequivocal smash hit at the box office. In less than week’s time, the film has gone on to become the all-time best February opening, as well as one of the biggest superhero debut’s ever. Making things even more impressive: it did all of this with a hard R-rating.
We really can’t understate how massive this is for the comic book movie genre as a whole. The success of Deadpool has clearly begun to pave the way for other adult-oriented comic book characters to get their chance to shine in an R-rated adventure of their own. While some heroes and villains work perfectly within the confines of a PG-13 rating, others need to push the envelope in order to stay true to their roots. With that in mind we have compiled a list of the 10 comic book characters that truly deserve to be brought to life in an R-rated silver screen adventure. Check out the list and let us know what you think. Now let’s get the ball rolling with No. 10…
10. Hugo Strange/Arkham AsylumGrant Morrison’s Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth has become known as arguably one of the darkest Batman tales ever committed to paper. In those pages it becomes patently obvious that the Gotham based loony bin is just as much of a character as the freaks that inhabit its cells. A film centering upon Dr. Hugo Strange and his demented experiments on the Asylum’s patients could mark a serious, mature turn for the DCEU. Think Shutter Island meets The Dark Knight. The Caped Crusader himself wouldn’t’ even need to show up, just make the whole film a morose character study about one man toying and tinkering with whatever rogues happen to currently reside at the haunting nuthouse.
9. DeathstrokeIf Wade Wilson gets an R-rated adventure then it only seems logical that Slade Wilson should get the same. One of most dangerous assassins in the DC universe, Deathstroke has developed a reputation as a stone-cold killer with a penchant for swords and guns, whose body has become enhanced through a super soldier program. Unlike the upcoming Suicide Squad film, which appears to have quite a bit of fun with its PG-13 portrayal of its DC villains, an R-rated Deathstroke movie could set itself apart by showcasing just how brutal and efficient of a killer Slade can be. By establishing that brutality early on, the character could then go on to become a formidable opponent for future DC films by taking on heroes like Batman or the Teen Titans.
8. Swamp ThingThis character was technically already done in the 1980s, but it’s time for another go at it with modern technology. A conscious, humanoid mass of vegetation, Swamp Thing is a tragic character wholly deserving of an R-rated adaptation. Although he is a hero, the character has strong horror roots and there exists immense potential for David Cronenberg-esque scenes of complete body horror and monster mayhem. That thought alone makes us want to throw our money at the project. Beyond Swamp Thing’s potential as a standalone character, there’s also the possibility that getting his own successful R-rated film could pave the way for him to take part in the long awaited Justice League Dark movie.
7. The ThunderboltsEveryone has tried to act as though Guardians of the Galaxy and Suicide Squad are analogous to one another. Anyone with a cursory knowledge of the comic book landscape will tell you that Marvel’s true response to Suicide Squad comes in the form of the Thunderbolts. A ragtag team of reformed super villains, an R-rated Thunderbolts movie could round out the morality of the Marvel Cinematic Universe by showcasing a group of characters unafraid to get their hands dirty in pursuit of the right thing. They are "the ends justify the means" personified. Members have ranged from Baron Zemo to Green Goblin to even Hawkeye, so there exists endless potential to draw from all corners of the Marvel mythos.
6. Moon KnightMoon Knight often receives the label of "Marvel’s Batman," and in all honesty we can't ignore the similarities. Both are highly trained avengers of the night who use a combination of stealth, wealth, and weaponry to achieve their goal of ridding the streets of crime. However, while Batman has become fairly pigeonholed by the PG-13 rating over the years, Marvel has an opportunity to try something a bit different with Moon Knight. Slapping this particular character with an R-rating would allow Marvel to get up close and personal with the action and showcase the brutal – and often deranged – nature of a rich man who consciously chooses to fight the scum of the criminal underworld with his bare hands.
5. LoboOriginally created as a mockery of the badass antihero, Lobo has since gone on to become a modern icon in the world of comics. A violent, sociopathic intergalactic bounty hunter, Lobo has a foul mouth, a twisted sense of humor, and a big ass motorcycle. His modus operandi involves taking things to extreme. Between hard drinking and excessive violence, nothing can be off limits for this insane character. As a parody of anti-heroes such as The Punisher and Wolverine, Lobo has no qualms with killing to get the job done – and as a result, often gleefully racks up substantial body counts. Much like Deadpool, an R-rated Lobo film could allow the character to join his particular comic book universe – DC in this case – while still providing razor sharp comedic satire of the superhero landscape.
4. CarnageIf anyone from the Spider-Man mythos deserves the hard-R treatment it has to be Cletus Kasady, a.k.a Carnage. An offspring of the Venom symbiote, Carnage is a psychotic killer modeled in many ways after DC’s very own Joker. He possessed a twisted view of the world and an undying love for the idea of chaos. Unlike Venom, Carnage can morph parts of his body into bladed weapons and he often kills his victims in extremely grisly fashion. The MCU has yet to truly witness a villain as diabolically vicious as Carnage, and his inclusion in the franchise – particularly the Spider-Man world – would show an intriguing willingness to no longer play it safe.
3. WolverineHe’s the best he is at what he does, and what he does isn’t very nice. Look, we have all come to know and love Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of Wolverine over the course of the last 16 years, but that doesn’t change the fact that his hacking and slashing has always felt somewhat neutered by the PG-13 rating of the X-Men films. We want to see the full extent of Wolverine’s berserker rage unleashed on some poor unsuspecting bad guys, and we want to see all of the blood and carnage that goes along with it. You’ve only got so long left in the role, Hugh, you better make it count.
2. The Joker & Harley QuinnWe won’t know what happens between Harley and Mr. J until Suicide Squad officially hits theaters in August. That being said, the film clearly hints at a long, violent relationship between the two psychos. In a world populated by genuine magic and the supernatural, audiences need to see just how dangerous these two can be in order to understand the threat they pose to others. Think about it: Bonnie and Clyde meets Natural Born Killers meets the DC universe. I know, we got giddy with excitement when we thought about it too.
1. Red HoodThe violent and unhinged Robin. After his murder at the hands of The Joker, Jason Todd’s corpse took a dip in Ra’s al Ghul’s Lazarus Pit. However, as anyone who has ever used a pet cemetery will tell you: what comes out isn’t always what you put in. The Red Hood is a dark analogue to The Dark Knight himself. He has no qualms with using guns and taking out criminals permanently because he has suffered the consequences of what happens when monsters like The Joker are kept alive. His R-rated introduction to the DC universe would provide a perfect foil for Ben Affleck’s Batman, and add an extra element of moral ambiguity to the world Warner Bros. has created.