In Protest of the R-Rated Superhero Movie

Indulge me in a little experiment. Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck shit piss twat prick fuck.

I don’t know about you reading this but after that opening I certainly feel more grown-up, more edgy, more cool. Now, if you’ll excuse me I’m off to pray in front of my Rorschach poster while constantly murmuring Ayn Rand’s name, with maybe a few Frank Millers in there in case that feels too girly. If my incredible Spartan-muscled intellect is to much for you to handle, I’ll confess that this experiment is to show you how an R-rating for Justice League, a supposed family movie about Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Aquaman, and The Flash, is not made better by giving it the same rating as The Wolf of Wall Street. Apart from that last sentence, this whole paragraph made me feel dirty.

I have a confession to make. I used to be a huge Zack Snyder fan. I loved Watchmen, I even liked Sucker Punch (though at the time I knew absolutely nothing about women, but now I can confidently say I know more about them than Snyder), I thought his movies were cool -I even gave Man of Steel a pass because I was a bit of an edgelord when that came out and I was fine with the weird point-missing influence of Christopher Nolan on the blockbusters of the time. Frankly, I grew out of Snyder the more I learned about films, politics, psychology, people, and I realised that he knows very little about any of that. Am I saying that I, a lowly internet critic who self-publishes his own work, am smarter than this rich and famous director? Yes, hell, even my tiny idiot cat is smarter than him.

Case in point is the bambooziling decision to make Justice League an R-rated release. This continues Snyders complete lack of understanding of the intellectual property that he’s working with. There are, no doubt, certain comic book characters that suit an R-rating. Deadpool, for one, though I personally hate those movies. Logan is the only R-rated comic book movie for me that works, mainly because director James Manigold (who is ten times the filmmaker that Snyder is) used it as a platform to enhance the story.

An R-rating does nothing to improve Justice League. So what if Batman can say fuck, or Superman punches the bloody guts out of random terrorists, or Wonder Woman talks about anything to do with orgasms (I know that’s a weird and gendered example – but that would actually be worthy of an R-rating, Hollywood is really fucking sexist and still afraid of female sexuality)? It adds nothing, and only brings the image of Snyder as this teen stoner who tries to scare children with with the cinematic equivalent of the torch under his face – “Hey kids, in my movie, sorry, my do-over miniseries, Batman would get raped in prison.

To quote many a grizzled R-rated hero, Snyder doesn’t know shit about shit, and all he’s doing with these silly stylistic choices is using characters that live in the mainstream for everyone’s enjoyment, and making the story that only he would actually like. That would be fine if he was adapting a Vertigo title, but he’s using some of the most popular characters in all of media to put together his bullshit power fantasy. To whoever gets these characters next, after this whole project inevitably crashes and burns: don’t take Snyder’s view of these characters. Take Patty Jenkins view instead – she gave us the Wonder Woman she wanted as a little girl and made her one of the most definitive and accessible cinematic superheroes on her first go. Unless you’ve got compellingly good reason to do otherwise, which Snyder has consistently suggested with his previous releases that he does not, forget the R-rating and focus on elevating the story as it stands instead.

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By Kevin Boyle

Header Image: Comicbook.com

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