Does The DCU Need An R-Rated Superman?

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Does The DCU Need An R-Rated Superman?

James Gunn has officially been announced as the director of Superman: Legacy and this could mean we may get an R-rated film featuring the Man of Steel. Ever since the first live-action Superman film in 1978, the popular DC hero was always in family friendly content that played well to mainstream audiences. That changed with Man of Steel, which took a darker approach. However, Zack Snyder‘s version of the character never properly got off the ground because Superman’s journey was cut short due to behind the scenes drama.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League was an R-Rated feature, but that wasn’t a solo adventure focusing on Clark Kent/Superman. It may sound unnecessary, but doing an R-Rated Superman opens up the storytelling possibilities that expands on the world and character. Stories like Kingdom Come, Red Son, or What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice, And The American Way are praised for their darker and adult themes that explored an alternate version of the character. James Gunn directing Superman: Legacy can turn out to be a wonderful delight like The Suicide Squad.

It Allows For James Gunn to tell Darker Superman Stories

Does The DCU Need An R-Rated Superman?

Not every DC story needs to be dark and grim, but some of the best comics with Superman focus on adult themes that expands on the character. It’s understandable why Warner Brothers wants to keep the character family friendly; however, the rebooted DCU needs to take some bold risks with its storytelling. The best films that have come from the brand tend to be more adult affair like Joker, The Suicide Squad, and The Dark Knight. This doesn’t mean that DC can only tell good stories when they’re R-Rated, but the company’s brand should allow them to take bolder risks with their characters that reach beyond your ordinary superhero film.

That’s where stories like What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice, and The American Way come in. The comic challenges Superman’s morals due to The Authority and The Elite being ruthless bands of superheroes. It opened the scope for a personal journey that allowed for Joe Kelly to navigate a different side of Superman. More importantly, the political themes and messages resonated more because it matched society on their views on violence and heroism. DC has largely excelled at going beyond what a stereotypical superhero film is, and it would be great if James Gunn took that approach with the new Superman movie.

It Would Interesting to See Superman Interact With The Suicide Squad

Does The DCU Need An R-Rated Superman?

Taking Superman into an R-Rated direction in the DCU also allows for Gunn to organically interact with characters like The Suicide Squad. Gunn has proven that he can tell compelling PG-13 stories thanks to Guardians of the Galaxy. However, the new DCU Suicide Squad has already been established and its highly doubtful that Gunn will scale back on the violence and themes at this point. As such, it would be extremely awkward to have The Suicide Squad’s crude jokes and violence mixed in with Superman’s character…but it’d still be interesting to see.

Superman doesn’t need the violence and crude humor of his DCU counterparts. In fact, it would be a mistake if he did because that’s never been Superman’s character. Even when Superman was the villain, he didn’t relish on violence and humor out of pure joy. There was an understandable meaning behind his actions. Superman’s ideology clashes with the likes of The Suicide Squad and The Authority, which makes for a perfect story that can elevate every character. Introducing them all at once would be a mistake; however, building a phase with a key focus on these characters can turn out to be on the level of Avengers: Endgame if done properly.

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