When the red band trailer for Deadpool hit San Diego Comic-Con, and then was subsequently leaked all over the internet, fans of the merc with a mouth drew a sigh of relief. This was the Deadpool they knew and loved. Still, the idea of an R-rated comic book movie is bizarre. With all of the comic book films out there and all the ones that are coming, Deadpool stands alone and feels unique. This, as it turns out, is exactly why the movie needed to be rated R in the first place.
Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese are the screenwriters behind the Deadpool movie and it turns out they wrote several different drafts of the film. Some were R-rated, while others were PG-13. The two said they actually both really liked the PG-13 version, but were hoping that Fox would go with the R script because it just felt right. In an interview with ScreenRant, Wernick says that it was producer Simon Kinberg who finally choose the R-rated script because that version would separate the movie from every other comic book film on the market.
The superhero market is so oversaturated. Guardians of the Galaxy filled a little bit of a hole there with the comedy side of it. But to go comedy, hard R just felt like an opportunity. And if they could keep the budget down, really it was the best move. And we’re most excited about that decision.
While an R rating is always something of a risk, as it shrinks your potential audience due to age restrictions, they may be able to bring in more of that older audience by supplying a film that is different from everything they’ve seen before. Deadpool will certainly succeed in being different. He’ll be so different that actually making him part of the X-Men universe will be somewhat problematic. We also know the budget for the movie will make Deadpool the comic book equivalent of an indie film. Mission accomplished.
It does actually make you realize how homogenous much of the movie landscape has become. Not only have comic book movies become a huge part of cinema today, but so many of them are fairly similar. Much of this is obviously intentional. The Marvel Cinematic Universe all looks very similar because all the characters exist together, you can’t make things too different or the pieces won’t fit together. Say what you will about DC’s plans to make their shared universe a "joke-free zone" (and I could say plenty) but that at least will help them differentiate their films from Marvel.
There need to be movies for everybody, but there should also be comic book movies for everybody. If you like heroic action you’ve got Captain America. If you like more comedy, try Ant-Man. Dark and brooding? Man of Steel. And if you’d rather your protagonist tell you to go fuck yourself, then enjoy Deadpool this February.