‘Logan’ sets surprise precedent for R-ratings

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Last year, I wrote a column about how the success of Fox’s “Deadpool” would likely bring on some less than desirable moves by other big companies in an attempt to cash in on “Deadpool’s” R-rated success.

Exhibit A was the pointlessly slapped together R-rated director’s cut of “Batman v Superman,” a decision that ultimately made a bloated movie feel even more desperate for fluff. I saw this as the beginning of a trend that would see clueless movie studios pumping out unwarranted R-ratings on their superhero properties.

This year, however, we have seen another R-rated superhero movie that shows itself off as a more low-budget, art-driven project, much like “Deadpool.” Of course, this film is Hugh Jackman’s last venture before he hangs up the claws for good, “Logan.”

The way I see it, there were eight X-Men movies divided up into three sections: the good (“Days of Future Past,” “X2”), the merely OK (“The Wolverine, “First Class,” “X-Men”), and the terrible (“Wolverine: Origins, “The Last Stand,” “Apocalypse”). As the ninth X-Men movie (not counting “Deadpool”), “Logan” is looking to round out that top section and make it three movies in each. This almost seems like a conscious decision to go bold on Jackman’s last run and really make a movie that brings something completely different to the superhero genre: a dramatic, unfiltered character study.

These are the kinds of risks I was not expecting when it came to the success of “Deadpool.” If I were to guess, I would have said that Jackman’s last Wolverine movie would be more of the same from the Bryan Singer saga of films.

Now, we all know what this means for Warner Bros. and the DC cinematic universe. Warner Bros. will likely see “Logan” as more proof that R-rated superheroes are “in” and will continue to pump out raw sewage of gratuitous blood and cleavage just so they can smack on an R-rating and watch the gravy pour. What is more intriguing to think about, however, is how Marvel will respond to this.

They could continue on, doing what they are doing with the movies and giving audiences what they want. They could keep the tone they have going now all the way into phase five of the Avengers films and leave their more explicit material for their Netflix series.

Marvel (or really we could say Disney), could look at what Fox is doing and send some of their lesser-known but highly demanded characters into a more low-budget setting and introduce them to the world with something we have never seen before.

At this point, we all know what to expect from future films, so how cool would it be to see Marvel really take some chances and fire up a compelling, minimalist story that is lighter on the giant action set-pieces. Given their track record with their properties thus far, we all know that Paul Feig and crew would give this film the utmost care it deserves if given enough freedom.

This is what I want to see from future superhero films. These types of movies will not be popular forever, and the only way to prolong their lifespan is to take more risks and deliver more content over flash.