'X-Men: Apocalypse' Goes Long; R-Rated 'Batman' Movie May Be In The Works

If any Batman movie demanded an R-rating, it would be an adaptation of The Killing Joke. If any X-Men movie deserved to run a little long, it would be the one that brings the team into conflict with Apocalypse. So that brings us to this news post, which exists to inform you that the upcoming animated version of The Killing Joke may get slapped with an R-rating and that X-Men: Apocalypse will probably be the longest X-Men movie yet.

For news on just how long X-Men: Apocalypse will be and details on the first R rated Batman movie, hit the jump.

Let's go ahead and tackle these one at a time, shall we?

The news of The Killing Joke landing an R-rating was first plastered across Twitter by fans and writers attending the Batman: Bad Blood panel at New York Comic-Con. Polygon has since clarified the story. According to producer James Tucker, Warner Bros. has given the nod of approval to allow the animated, direct-to-video adaptation of Alan Moore and Brian Bolland's iconic/controversial Batman story to go full "R." They just haven't decided if they will take advantage of that quite yet.

The fact that this option is even available speaks volumes about who is actually buying DC's animated movies, which hit shelves like clockwork a few times a year. Sure, superhero-loving kids are surely watching these things, but the meat of the audience must skew a little older if the company can even consider slapping a restricted rating on one of their releases. If you chat with any parent who has watched the more recent DC animated movies with their kids, you'll hear them talk about just how violent these releases have gotten. That's not a judgment, just an observation. An R-rated Killing Joke adaptation would simply be the culmination of the DC placing a priority on older, existing fans rather than cultivating new ones. Then again, anyone who has read comics published in the New 52 era knows this particular game plan already.

To be fair, The Killing Joke is pretty gnarly and will push the boundaries of good taste even if it's toned down to respectable PG-13. Originally published in 1988, the infamous comic finds the Joker attempting to drive Commissioner Jim Gordon insane. Step one: he shoots (and paralyzes) Gordon's daughter, Barbara. And then things start to get worse. It's an undeniably effective story and its influence can still be felt in Batman comics and adaptations to this day... possibly to their detriment, many fans would argue.

Revisiting this story, especially in movie form, will resurrect the whole debate over whether this was a key moment in the history of superhero stories "growing up," or the moment that stunted them forever. Even Alan Moore has disowned the comic, but Alan Moore is the world's grumpiest Undisputed Genius, so him not liking something isn't always a cause for alarm.

In any case, The Killing Joke movie is expected to arrive in 2016. Whether it gets an R-rating or settles for a PG-13, prepare for thinkpieces (lots and lots of thinkpieces) from both sides of this argument. Hey, at least Mark Hamill is voicing the Joker again. That's always good news.

Meanwhile, across the aisle, director Bryan Singer spoke about X-Men: Apocalypse at the San Pedro Film Festival (via Coming Soon), where he revealed that his latest, and supposedly last, X-Men adventure will be the longest one yet. But for good reason – it needs to effectively wrap up the entire series thus far:

The cut's a little long right now, but I think it's going to be a longer X-Men movie. The X-Men movies I usually I keep under two hours, but this one I may actually let be a longer movie because it's sort of a wrap-up of six movies. It's kind of a wrap up of X-Men 1, 2, 3, First Class, Days of Future Past, and there's even an homage at the end, a scene. Its going to get spoiled because they decided to use it in the trailer which comes out in like six months, but it's a really cool trailer. But it's kind of a wrap up of six movies. So, it might run a little bit long.

The X-Men movies have been downright breezy in their running times when compared to the bulk of the Marvel Studios and DC/Warner Bros. releases, which have frequently approached or even surpassed the two-and-a-half-hour mark. So unless your mutant power is extra butt-cushioning, prepare for Apocalypse and his Horseman to do a number on your lower back when the film opens on May 27, 2016.