Recently, I heard the head of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige comment on whether the company will ever release an R rated (17 & over) film. This came about from reports that Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice had a longer R rated cut; Feige said in a diplomatic way, that they weren’t going to do that, that the movies were meant for the whole family. This makes sense since Marvel is owned by fucking Disney.
What I found hilarious about this question, besides that it’s a blatant attempt at fanning the Marvel/DC rivalry, was that Marvel Studios is already doing dark, R rated fare. What they’re doing on Netflix with their properties is enough to quench the vulgarity thirst that apparently a lot of comic book fans have.
Having just finished the second season of Daredevil, I was amazed at how much more rewarding the characterizations, and storytelling were compared to what the Marvel Studios films have been offering. Sure, Daredevil dropped the ball a smidge towards the end, but its a fuck load better than all of Age of Ultron.
In the first season, Wilson Fisk was just a hell of an antagonist. A villain that you could sympathize, and understand his motives. This time around that character is somebody who casual fans labelled a hero and that’s Frank Castle, also known as the Punisher.
The Punisher should be exhibit A in the case of why Marvel should own the rights to all of their characters. With three failed movie attempts, and not one of those being a sequel, the show demonstrates easier what went wrong with the other versions: they portrayed him as a hero.
Trust me, he’s not.
The first few episodes terrified me of the Punisher, as you should have always been. Yes, he has a tragic, and heartbreaking backstory, but the man is fucking deranged. No person can be labeled a hero when you’re that unhinged.
I also feel compelled to bring up the other Marvel Netflix show, Jessica Jones. You mother fuckers want dark R rated stuff? Well its right here. Yeah, on the surface its a cool superhero riff on Raymond Chandler. And if you know Raymond Chandler, then you know shit is going to fucked up real quick.
The entire show is a metaphor on sexual assault, namely the assholes who force themselves onto women against their will, and boy does this get real ugly, awkward, and uncomfortable real fast.
And this is a great thing.
It’s hard some people to empathise with such an ugly subject, and Jessica Jones pulls no fucking punches. Especially when the abuser, Killgrave, is played by beloved Sci Fi icon David Tennant.
And he’s so fucking charming!
This character is so god damn vile and despicable, yet so likeable that I wanted to take a long shower. When I said this shit got dark, I wasn’t exaggerating here. Comic book and science fiction works are always better when they’re metaphorical. It makes that horrible, bitter pill that much easier to swallow.
I get that there’s a lot more you can do with a comic book property on t.v. vs a film, but also Netflix shows that you can do some deep, fucked up storytelling that is ultimately more rewarding for an adult audience. It’s cool that Marvel wants to make the films for the whole family. I can’t show my six year old niece Jessica Jones, or my nine year old nephew Daredevil (well, not yet anyway). We have to remember that superhero movies are for kids, first and foremost. Then you add shit for the adults. Shit, who do you think is taking the kids?