Why An R-Rated 'Batman V Superman' Could Be All About ‘Deadpool’

As a big fan of superhero movies, I have a lot of opinions about some recent Batman v Superman news, namely the announcement that Batman v Superman will have an R-Rated version to be included on the home video release (the regular theatrical release will be PG-13). The first on-screen pairing of the two most famous superheroes in the world should be a solely joyous occasion, but the report gives me some pause, and leads me to wonder: is BvS's grittier rating the first major consequence of the so-called "Deadpool effect?"

Given that the declaration about the movie's R-rating was made in the midst of Deadpool 's astounding success, it's hard not to think that Warner Bros. has decided to use Deadpool's darkness as an example for some of its movies going forward. After all, although prior wisdom had suggested that an R-rated superhero movie could not succeed at the box office, the raunchy Ryan Reynolds flick has proven that line of thinking to be very, very wrong. With that movie reaching massive success (even if, in my opinion, it has way more to do with accurate character representation than an R-rating), it makes plenty of sense why the studio would want to push through with an R-rated version of Batman v Superman, and why they'd assume that more movies going forward should follow Deadpool's lead.

But maybe I'm wrong about that. Maybe Batman v Superman always had an R-rated version on the works, and is not upping the adult content in an attempt to capitalize on Deadpool's success. Maybe the timing is merely a coincidence. But it still is a curious decision. At their core, Batman and Superman (especially Superman) are not R-rated characters. These guys aren't Deadpool, whose comic books are raunchy and whose fans have always skewed older. These are two heroes who were invented in the '30s and were intended for children, and putting them in an R-rated movie seems an odd choice for the characters, especially if the film plans on marketing to the demographic for whom Batman and Superman were originally created — kids and teens.

Yet really, who knows? Batman v Superman may indeed end up being a great movie, and the R-rated version of it could be one of the best things to ever happen to the superhero genre. But I can't help but wonder what led to its creation — was it how the movie was intended all along, or is "the Deadpool effect" truly taking hold, influencing the way superhero movies are made going forward?

Images: Warner Bros.; giphy.com