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R-Rated Superheroes Battle Royale: Who Is the Foulest A-- Kicker of All?

Deadpool? Hit-Girl? Logan? We counted the curses, marked down the impalings, and we're crowning a motherf--king champ.

by | May 17, 2018 | Comments

Anticipation for Deadpool 2 is huge — very, f—ing huge. So f—ing huge, in fact, that Rotten Tomatoes readers voted it their most anticipated movie of the summer. It’s already Certified Fresh, too. (We hope that won’t go to DP’s head, but we’re not optimistic.) Part of the reason for that excitement? That blast of fresh air that was the first Deadpool, which introduced the “merc with a mouth” in a blaze of f-bombs, filthy jokes and broken fourth walls, and earned audience and critical adulation — the movie sits at 85% on the Tomatometer.

It’s easy to forget that before Deadpool was calling people “s–t-spackled-Muppet-farts” and stuffing cigarette lighters into henchmen’s mouths, there were other R-rated superhero movies that featured over-the-top violence and delightfully controversial profanity. Remember the broody Crow? Or The Punisher — and Punisher: War Zone (don’t worry, neither do we). Or Kick-Ass’ Hit-Girl?

How does Deadpool stack up against other foul-mouthed superheroes? We’re taking an MPAA-inspired approach, looking first at Strong Language, then at Strong Violence (we even calculated, or guesstimated, the amount of blood each “hero” spilled), and finally giving each of our heroes a Classification for their un-angelic ways. To keep things fair, we didn’t include data from any sequels or prequels or reboots (Wolverine makes this whole thing complicated), as Deadpool only has one film — until this Friday. So, let the potty-mouthed battle royale begin.


Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) in Deadpool (2016) 84%

STRONG LANGUAGE?

Total Profanities from Deadpool in Deadpool: 95 (that’s 42 f–ks, 26 s–ts, and 27 other colorful words — including three instances of “balls”)
Best Line: “You only work for that s—t-spackled-Muppet-fart.”

Deadpool features a deluge of inspired profanity (144 swear-y words in total). That may seem excessive, but when compared to Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street or Kevin Smith’s Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (817 f-bombs between the two of them), you realize it’s not close to breaking any records. Some 95 of the movie’s profanities fly right out of our antihero’s mouth, and most are carefully crafted — Deadpool is the king of inspired wordplay and, if an f-bomb isn’t needed, he’s happy to let a pop culture reference or the word “avocado” carry the weight of the humor. Reynolds, alongside writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (“the real heroes”), turned swearing into an art-form, and because of their efforts, we now have at-the-ready phrases like “British s–tstick” and “crime-fighting s–t swizzler,” should we ever need them.

STRONG VIOLENCE?

Pints of Blood Spilled: 30.
Craziest Moment: A henchman hits a billboard and literally explodes like a blood-filled balloon.

The violence in Deadpool isn’t as creative as the profanity, and mostly revolves around headshots, impalings, and more headshots. Deadpool is at its best when its lead is about to smoosh a henchman with a Zamboni, or when he uses dead henchmen to spell out “Francis.” Deadpool kills 42 people, which seems like a lot, but not so much when you look at other death-happy comic adaptations: See 2008’s Punisher: Warzone (87) or Blade (65). If it weren’t for Deadpool’s play-by-plays and his reactions during the carnage, the violence might even come across as slightly stock.

Classification: The Deadpool creators knew their merc had a mouth, and allowed him to use it to turn swearing into an art form.


Hit-Girl (Chloë Grace-Moretz) in Kick-Ass (2010) 75%

STRONG LANGUAGE? 

Total profanities from Hit-Girl in Kick-Ass: 8 (that’s 2 f–ks, 1 c-bomb, and 5 other swear-y words — we’re counting “douche”)
Best Line: “OK, you c—ts: Let’s see what you can do now.”

Kick-Ass director Matthew Vaughn is a master provocateur who kicked off his directing career with the incredibly swear-y Layer Cake (210 f-bombs!) and moved onto the equally shocking Kick-Ass and Kingsman: The Secret Service, both of which included multiple moments that split audiences into two camps: He Went Too Far and We Want More. The Too Far camp will point out that having then 11-year-old Chloë Grace Moretz uttering the eight profanities that Hit-Girl unleashes in the film is “morally reprehensible,” as Roger Ebert wrote upon the film’s release. Hearing the tween Moretz saying words like “c–t” and “f–k” was certainly jarring, but more jarring — in retrospect — was her blunt deployment of the word “gay” in regards to the ineffective taser that Kick-Ass uses.

STRONG VIOLENCE?

Pints of Blood Spilled: 13.5.
Craziest Moment: Hit-Girl makes a henchman shoot himself in the head with his own weapon.

It’s crazy to think that the majority of the controversy surrounding Hit-Girl centered on her eight curse words and not the 41 people she kills. We first see what she’s capable of when she saves Kick-Ass from drug dealers in a close-quarters battle that features cheeky music, hacked-off legs, back slashes, and a woman being impaled with two blades as she is trying to run away. Hit-Girl is a murderous force of nature who enjoys close-up gun fights and stabbing her foes with tailored knives and spears to inflict maximum damage. The violence is insanely stylized, but not overly bloody — CGI does the majority of the blood work, which keeps the gore to a minimum. That’s a good thing, because if blood was allowed to spurt freely, Kick-Ass would’ve looked a lot like Evil Dead or Dead Alive.

Classification: Hit-Girl’s eight word shock-and-awe blitzkrieg of offensiveness was wildly successful and got Kick-Ass tons of press, and a Certified Fresh Tomatometer score of 75%. “Gleeful profanity” says the Critics Consensus, while, as noted, some outliers found it all a bit “morally reprehensible.”


Logan (Hugh Jackman) in Logan (2017) 93%

(Photo by © 20th Century Fox Film Corp. )

STRONG LANGUAGE?

Total profanities from Logan in Logan: 47 (that’s 22 f–ks, 21 s–ts, and 4 more swear-y words, including one “dick”)
Best Line: “Bad s–t happens to people I care about.”

No gratuitous and overly clever potty-mouthing here — for Wolverine, it’s about character. Logan has seen a lot of s—t, and he vents his frustration by dropping f-bombs when his car won’t start or letting loose a quick “s—t” when a gang of mercenaries are laying waste to his home. It’s a bit of a shock to hear one of our favorite PG-13 heroes let her rip, but don’t forget that in X-Men: First Class he dropped a perfect “go f—k yourself” — the dude’s been mastering the one-off f-bomb for well over 60 years. The most impressive aspect of Logan, though, when it comes to the rude and crude, is that Professor X is the one who unleashes the most wonderfully blunt and curse-stuffed one-liners. Some of the best cinematic moments of 2017 involved Patrick Stewart unleashing gems like “I’m f–king 90” and “F–k off Logan” in his trademark baritone.

STRONG VIOLENCE?

Pints of Blood Spilled: 23.
Craziest Moment:
Logan uppercuts a henchman, claws unsheathed, and we actually see the blade go through the bad guy’s mouth and into his brain.

Terrible things happen when two angry men (both played by Hugh Jackman) with adamantium claws are given a reason to start murdering people (45 people to be exact). The violence in Logan is close-quartered and dirty, because Logan and X-24 don’t use guns and need to be near their opponents to slice them in half. Their rages lead to severed limbs, decapitated heads, and so many puncture wounds it’s easy to lose count (though we didn’t, promise). Fans loved seeing Hugh Jackman receive a proper send-off in an R-rated movie — now the world knows what his claws can do without the PG-13 restrictions.

Classification: The f—king awesome script was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at this year’s Academy Awards — and helped earn the movie a 93% on the Tomatometer.


Blade (Wesley Snipes) in Blade (1998) 53%

STRONG LANGUAGE?

Total Blade Profanities from Blade in Blade: 5 (that’s 3 f–ks and 2 other swear-y words, including an “ass”)
Best Line: “Some motherf—ers always trying to ice skate uphill.”

Blade left the majority of the swearing to the villainous yuppie vampires and his assistant Whistler (Kris Kristofferson), which was a shrewd move, because when he did drop an f-bomb, it hit like a stake — or sword — to the heart. When Wesley Snipes swears in Blade, so sparingly, it just confirms the character is cooler everyone else — look at the time he turns to a security guard who just shot him and says “motherf—er are you out of your damn mind?” Also, kudos to Snipes for unironically unleashing one of the oddest f-bombs in vampire movie history — just try to get the image of ice skating uphill out of your head.

STRONG VIOLENCE?

Pints of Blood Spilled: 33 (and 32 pounds of ash).
Craziest Moment: Blade rips a security guard’s throat out.

The fight choreography in Blade is a marvel to behold (see what we did there?). It works because Snipes has the martial arts chops, and because a dedicated group of stuntmen allowed him to beat the crap out of them. Generous guys. The fights in the first Blade might be the best in comic book history (except perhaps for Blade 2), and the camera lingers appreciatively on the choreography — no quick-cut cheating here. Bloodwise, you don’t get much: that’s because the bad guys turn to ash when slain. However, gorehounds should note that there is a ridiculously awesome Roadhouse-esque throat rip, and three vampires literally explode, which boosts the blood count to a respectable total.

Classification: Not super bloody for a movie about bloodsuckers, but Wesley Snipes found a great showcase for his martial arts skills and Blade is great because of it. Plus, keeping Blade’s f-bombs to a minimum meant that when they eventually came — ICE-SKATING UPHILL! — they landed like a perfectly executed triple axel.


AND THE MOTHERF–KING WINNER IS…

Don’t throw us at a billboard or anything guys, but it’s a motherf—ing draw. Deadpool swears the most, and Blade is the deadliest, but after looking at all four movies and the foul-mouthed heroes at their centers, it’s impossible to pick a winner. Each character had their moment to shine and none of them disappointed, so we’ve created five awards.

Most Deadly: Blade

Most Profane: Deadpool

Most Shocking: Hit-Girl

Most Violent: Logan

Biggest Loser: Henchmen

Let us know your favorite R-rated comic book movies and moments in the comment section!

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