Who says movies based on comic books are just for kids? Despite intended for a limited audience due to the “restricted” rating, it is amazing how crude elements such as strong language, violence, and drug usage are enough to make a movie stand out from the rest. Here are the 15 best R-rated comic book movies of all time:
15. Punisher: War Zone (2008)
Nearly a decade before Jon Bernthal was rocking Netflix as the Punisher, it was Irish actor Ray Stevenson who gave a proper glimpse of how mercilessly entertaining the comic book anti-hero Frank Castle can be.
Though Punisher: War Zone earned an abysmal $10.1 million at the box office against its $30 million budget, it was considered a slight improvement as compared to the previously released two Punisher movies.
14. Constantine (2005)
Similar to the aforementioned case of Punisher, the comic book character Constantine made his live-action debut on the big screen almost a decade before Netflix. Starring Keanu Reeves as the chain-smoking occult detective, the movie definitely lived up to its R-rating.
Unlike several movies of the same category that rely on gore, drugs, violence and even sexual thrills to in order to capitalize the box office, Constantine utilized a different approach by employing demonic images.
13. Batman v. Superman: Ultimate Edition (2016)
There are no two ways about it. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice was the most anticipated movie of the entire year but turned out to be an extremely disappointing mess. However, the superhero flick had a few upsides and the biggest one being its “Ultimate Edition” which was released on Blu-Ray and DVD.
Featuring 31 extra footage that contained more violence, Batman v. Superman: Ultimate Edition still could not manage to save its storyline from abominable reviews but the additional scenes of violence surely secure a place in one of the best R-rated comic book movies.
12. Wanted (2008)
Based on the comic book series of the same name, Wanted (starring Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman) was released the same year as DC’s The Dark Knight and Marvel’s Iron Man. Amid the crucial year for comic book movies, Wanted proved that there are alternatives for movies based on DC and Marvel superheroes.
Though the movie does not contain the typical superhero scenario, Wanted did not shy away from showing blood and violence during and solidified James McAvoy as a versatile actor.
11. Blade (1998)
Two decades prior to Black Panther getting his very own solo movie, it was Blade who made a mark for African-American superheroes. As one of the earliest released R-rated comic book movies in the list, it is essential to realize how risky Blade was.
It was not traditional for a superhero movie to feature dark content such as vampires and gore yet Blade did the impossible and its massive success encouraged Marvel to steadily release more movies based on their comic books.
10. Dredd (2012)
Among the cluster of movies that received positive reviews but underperformed at the box office, Dredd is one of them. Starring Karl Urban as the law-enforcing superhero Judge Dredd, the movie is admittedly forgettable but definitely worth a watch for any fan of R-rated comic book movies.
The science-fiction action film may be for a niche audience but Urban’s dedication for the role cannot be understated. For his preparation for the role of Judge Dredd, he undertook rigorous training for operating weapons under fire, breaching doors and arresting lawbreakers.
9. Kick-Ass (2010)
Being a superhero is not at all a walk in the park, especially if you do not possess any superpowers. Dave Lizewski learned that the hard way when his passion for comic books drives him to try his luck at being a crime-fighter.
Now going by the name of Kick-Ass, he joins forces with cop-turned-vigilante Big Daddy and his daughter Hit-Girl only to find out that a scheming gangster has plans to crumble his alliance.
8. Watchmen (2009)
Zack Snyder surely showed a lot of promise as a director during his rookie years. Fresh off the mammoth success of 300, the American film-maker released Watchmen; a dark film-adaption of the dystopian comic book series of the same name.
Despite the relatively obscure nature of Watchmen comic book series, Snyder was more than competent enough to combine its alternate history timeline with graphic violence, crude language, and nudity to churn out a unique take on the superhero genre.