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Top 10 R-Rated Superhero Movies

VO: Adrian Sousa WRITTEN BY: Johnny Reynolds
Script written by Johnny Reynolds. Just because they’re fighting for the greater good doesn’t mean they’re family friendly. Join as we countdown our picks for the Top 10 R-Rated Superhero Movies. For this list, we’re looking at movies featuring superheroes with violent content and mature themes, regardless of whether or not they were based on an existing property.

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Top 10 R-Rated Superhero Movies

Just because they’re fighting for the greater good doesn’t mean they’re family friendly. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 R-Rated Superhero Movies.

For this list, we’re looking at movies featuring superheroes with violent content and mature themes, regardless of whether or not they were based on an existing property.

#10: “Blade 2” (2002)

Marvel assumed domination of the box office with their MCU, but their first big venture into film came with 1998’s “Blade”. While that movie offers a fun, bloody viewing experience, it’s the 2002 sequel directed by Guillermo Del Toro that is the best of the trilogy. The plot follows the half-vampire, half-human hero as he teams up with the vampires he normally hunts to stop the Reapers. This powerful race threatens a global genocide of humans and vampires alike. It may not offer much character depth, but it features some truly entertaining (and truly violent) action sequences. Even back then, Del Toro knew how to craft an exciting creature feature.

#9: “Watchmen” (2009)

Many fans thought this influential Alan Moore graphic novel was unfilmable, so we have to give props to Zack Snyder for trying. Before the DCEU was conceived, Snyder tackled one of the gloomiest superhero tales ever put to page. Taking place in an alternate universe, the film follows the influence of a group of superheroes throughout multiple worldwide events. It focuses on a tense political backdrop with some extremely morally grey heroes. The film, along with Moore’s graphic novel, sought to critique the idea of superheroes within an increasingly uneasy and damaged society. And an ambitious project like this with such dark themes just wouldn’t have worked as a PG-13 adventure.

#8: “V for Vendetta” (2005)

Before “Watchmen,” a different Alan Moore graphic novel was adapted in the 2000s and takes place in a futuristic U.K. ruled by a totalitarian government. It follows an unassuming woman who teams up with a masked vigilante named V to destroy the tyrannical oppressors. What’s notable about this superhero story is that the main character is a regular person inspired by the hero rather than the hero himself. It’s an interesting look at how normal people could be affected by a masked hero, all while tackling social, political, and moral allegories. These allegories are also highlighted by some sleek action sequences courtesy of the Wachowski siblings, who wrote and co-produced the film.

#7: “Kick-Ass” (2010)

This 2010 adaptation of Mark Millar’s comic follows a geeky teen as he tries to be one of the heroes he reads about. Unfortunately for him, he soon stumbles into a war between the mob and real-life vigilantes. The film was released around the beginning of the MCU and towards the end of Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy, and therefore offered a very different take on superheroes. The film was a hit thanks to its ability to balance a satirical look at the genre with gritty, gory violence. And most of this violence came at the hands of a hilariously foul-mouthed, bad guy-slaying little girl.

#6: “Darkman” (1990)

Long before Sam Raimi directed the very first “Spider-Man,” he co-created his own superhero. The film stars Liam Neeson as a scientist working on a synthetic skin to help burn victims. But when he’s burned alive and left for dead, he relies on his own work to get his revenge. The film was able to capture the graphic look of comics at the time, making it a hit with critics. But it also featured the same surreal sense of humor found in Raimi’s “Evil Dead” movies. With so many superhero movies these days focusing on mass spectacle, it can be nice to revisit this dark tale that focuses on simple goals and lower stakes.

#5: “RoboCop” (1987)

If you’re looking for a superhero movie with the goriest, most over-the-top violence, there’s nothing quite like this 80s classic. Taking place in a future crime-ridden Detroit, the film follows officer Alex Murphy once he is turned into the titular cyborg after being brutally executed. His reemergence as the super-powered cop brings an all-out war on crime, resulting in some viciously violent sequences. Action movies of the 80s never shied away from violent content - often parading it as a centerpiece -and “RoboCop” is the cream of the crop. But beyond that, it was also an underdog story of a good cop vs. a ruthless villain.

#4: “Dredd” (2012)

Just because this movie didn’t astonish at the box office doesn’t mean it isn’t endlessly entertaining. The film takes place in a dystopic United States where officers called Judges act as judge, jury, and executioner to all criminals. We follow the famed Judge Dredd and a new recruit with psychic abilities as they’re sealed into a building run by a fierce drug lord and her many henchmen. Armed with some awesome tech, the Judges mercilessly take out waves of bad guys. The main draw of the film comes from its highly stylized action sequences and the effects of the drug called Slo-Mo. But an engaging Karl Urban steals the show as the gruff, no-nonsense Dredd.

#3: “The Crow” (1994)

There’s no motivator quite like revenge. This 1994 adaptation of the late 80s comic follows a dead musician who returns to life one year after he and his fiancée were cruelly murdered. Realizing that he has special abilities, he tracks down the men responsible and makes them pay. The gothic look of its source material translated extremely well to film with a unique and gloomy tone. The demise of the tortured hero also provided a lot of heart arguably missing from many superhero movies. The film has since gained a massive cult following, and understandably so.

#2: “Deadpool” (2016)

After his disastrous first appearance in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” everyone’s favorite merc with a mouth was finally given the chance to be himself. While the movie’s plot was basically just the overdone superhero origin story, its playful violence and hilarious wit helped it stand out from the pack. More importantly, Wade Wilson was embodied by an actor that truly understood him. Ryan Reynolds was given the freedom to explore the hysterically murderous, fourth wall shattering mutant in all his glory. It’s his pitch-perfect delivery that helped the movie become so successful, and he is now synonymous with the character. Which, sadly, can’t be said about many other heroes.

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

“Punisher: War Zone” (2008)

“Super” (2010)

#1: “Logan” (2017)

Taking place in a distant future, the majority of mutant kind has been wiped out. That is, except for the ones cloned and bred to be weapons. When Wolverine’s clone shows up looking for safety, he reluctantly agrees to help her. “Logan” tells a heartbreakingly human story with beautifully flawed characters beyond anything seen in superhero fare before. In his final appearance as Wolverine, Hugh Jackman gives his most haunting performance. And let’s not forget about the stand-out performances by Sir Patrick Stewart and newcomer Dafne Keen. As for violent content? Let’s just say this film finally lets Wolverine off the chain.

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