When it comes to the DC film adaptations, there are two truths we hold to be self-evident. On the one hand, the live-action movies have  —  at least to this point  —  been fairly underwhelming, whiffing on the elements of Batman and Superman we find endearing in favor of a gloomy music video vibe that leaves a bad taste in our mouth. That being said, there’s no denying that Warner Bros. Animation has something special going on with its superhero movies. Most of those films run the gamut from solid to great; we ranked them all last summer and weren’t shy that their animation department has given their live-action counterparts a run for their money.

Of course, the DC animated films are not immune to trends in comic book movies as a whole. These days that means a strong push for R-rated content, a push acknowledged by producer James Tucker when he was asked by ComicBook.com (via Heroic Hollywood) if we could expect more mature outings for DC’s characters:

It’s hard to say. I will say this, that they have said that if the content merits the R they’ll look into it, they’re open to it, which was not something that was a part of the landscape until recently. I like having that option because there’s certain things that you just can’t do without being a little edgy, without being a little more violent.

Fans of the DC animated movies will appreciate Tucker’s emphasis on variety. While fans may argue over the reasons behind the success of Deadpool, Logan, and Guardians of the Galaxy, what the conversation really boils down to is one of differentiation. Fans will eventually sour on a product that feels exactly the same each time out. What has allowed the DC animated universe to thrive is its ability to vary wildly from brightly colored movies appropriate for children to mature content more suitable for adults. Fans like having a variety of offerings available to them, and to this point, Warner Bros. Animation has arguably done a better job of delivering variety than any other studio.

If Warner Bros. Animation falls into the same traps as their parent company and starts letting recent success determine the types of stories they tell, then the studio could encounter some of the same pitfalls that have made Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice such divisive properties. There’s nothing wrong with having R-rated animated movies as long as that’s not the only type of animated movie you’re making. Superheroes offer filmmakers a chance to tell all kinds of stories; any artificial restrictions filmmakers put on themselves to chase a dollar only hurts the very thing that makes comic book adaptations special.

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