With a 'Hard R' Multiple Man, Is Fox Learning the Wrong Lesson From Deadpool?


Earlier this month, Fox surprised the masses with a big revelation -- no, not the possible deal with Disney for X-Men and Fantastic Four rights, but rather that a new movie in the X-Men cinematic universe was coming, one centered on Jamie Madrox, the Multiple Man.

Gifted with the ability to create duplicates of himself, the solo film will have Tommy Wiseau clone James Franco take on the title role. What makes things weird, though, is Franco’s insistence that the film will be “hard R,” not entirely unlike last year’s Deadpool (and presumably next year’s sequel). “They are going to go hard R," he said in a recent interview. "And we’re going to take this superhero thing and really just push it into a new genre. So we’re working with Simon Kinberg on an X-Men property.”

RELATED: Who Is Multiple Man? Fox’s Latest Mutant Movie Star, Explained

On one hand, this logic makes some degree of sense from Fox’s perspective. Prior to the release of Deadpool, it was hard to argue against the claim that superhero movies were in something of a creative rut. There was no better opportunity for Fox to swoop in with a raunchy, violent, and more importantly funny superhero movie that give a middle finger to CGI third-act punchfests. After spending nearly an entire decade in development hell and positive word of mouth from the leaked test footage, Ryan Reynolds and crew suddenly found themselves the king of the superhero movie hill.

It’s hard to argue that with the exception of Logan, Deadpool and First Class, Fox's X-films had been uninspired for a number of years, delivering experiences that were largely serviceable, but also incredibly repetitive. Smartly, Fox has used this opportunity to go forward and give us X-Men properties that have made the brand much stronger, in some ways showing that they may be better suited to TV than we could’ve imagined. In addition to Logan and Deadpool, everyone’s favorite Mutants have made a welcome return to television via Legion and The Gifted, a pair of shows that offer very different takes on the X-Men genre, despite being unconnected (maybe) to the cinematic universe.

It also helps that, if any character was going to be the perfect vessel for an R-rated action-comedy film in the vein of Deadpool, you could do worse than Multiple Man. After becoming a member of the second version of X-Factor, Madrox settled into a role as the prankster, lending credence to the comedy aspect of things. With an extensive resume of comedy films ranging from Pineapple Express to This is the End, it’s hard to argue against the idea of him playing the character. The man is extremely funny, and with The Disaster Artist now on everybody’s radar thanks to that critical acclaim, the idea of him headlining a superhero movie would definitely get everyone to sit down to watch for two hours.

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