If three is the magic number, R is the magic letter. Within the world of superhero movies, the recent trend of adult, R-rated adaptations and their consequent success has led to a demand for more: The rating frees the shackles; allows for more creative exploration and fully illustrates the power of superhuman ability. Those are some of the arguments explaining why more studios should take the same approach.
Wonder Woman, however, proves that those arguments are false, that all that matters, really, is the quality of the story. Yes, Deadpool (2016) was a riot, Logan (2017) was the most fitting depiction of Wolverine and Kingsman: Secret Service (2014) was stylistically ultra-violent. But, Patty Jenkins's live-action adaptation of the Amazonian Princess is the perfect example of a PG-13 rated film done well.
In an interview with CinemaBlend, Jenkins revealed that she was determined to keep the rating as it was, for one particular reason. She said:
"I cared a lot about it never being an R-rating. And I totally support the movies that do have an R-rating, but in this case I was very aware that little girls were going to want to see the film, and I was very protective of that. So it had to not be Rated R to me."
In fact, such was Jenkins's focus on making sure young girls got to see the film, she even had thoughts about aiming for a PG-rating, although the gruesome context of World War I — where over 38 million people died — made it impossible to censor to a level that was family friendly.
A PG-13 Makes Sense Due To The Importance Of 'Wonder Woman'
Jenkins is right, of course. Wonder Woman is an important film. And, without running the risk of over-exaggerating, it could even been the most important superhero film of a generation. Unfortunately, despite living in the year 2017, the world is still slanted unfairly toward 50 per cent of the population — men. For all its positives, Hollywood is one of the biggest drivers of the "male gaze," which is responsible for influence the ideology of millions.
Without sliding all the way down the slippery slope of patriarchy, women are still not equally entrusted by big studios to lead the way in big productions, even more so with superhero movies. Since the recent boom started in 2008 with the debut MCU feature Iron Man, no female Marvel character has had her own solo movie. It's admittedly disheartening, and although the times are changing — slowly — by the time Captain Marvel arrives in 2019, it'll have taken over a decade.
The #DCEU has added a female lead much quicker with #WonderWoman. The film has the potential to become a huge hit, fronted by #GalGadot's lead character; a lead character who is refreshingly unconventional (in an industry where conventions are exactly fitting). The character of Diana Prince was original created as by William Moulton Marston as "psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who should, I believe, rule the world."
Female director Patty Jenkins has maintained the same ethos, deviating from common troupes you may see with female leads. Although Diana has a love interest in Chris Pine's Steve Trevor, it's Trevor who is the damsel in distress. And, crucially, Wonder Woman is treated the same as every male superhero — she kicks ass, and a lot of it.
Take all of these things into consideration, and it's clear why Jenkins has made the right call. Come June 2, 2017, millions of young girls (and hopefully young boys) will go along to cinemas to watch Wonder Woman. They'll stare up at the screen and see a fierce, independent and intelligent female hero staring back. And if that means less profanity or gore, it's worth it.
Is Jenkins right to stick with a PG-13 rating for Wonder Woman?