In 1984, the PG-13 classification was introduced by the Motion Picture Association of America as its first new content rating addition in the two decades since its establishment. The reason for this change was a direct result of director Steven Spielberg's guilt over the release of his iconic film, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Back in the 80s there only existed four ratings, "G, PG, R, and X." Temple of Doom was rated PG even though it depicted violence and a graphic scene involving the extraction of a human heart. In order to rectify his "mistake," Spielberg contacted [then-MPAA president] Jack Valenti and asked that he consider a rating for an audience between PG and R. He felt that children should not be exposed to violence, sex, and foul language.
Noble as his action may have been, 31 years after the integration of the PG-13 classification, the MPAA has singlehandedly bled the cinematic industry of its originality and creativity. Looking at the current top ten highest grossing movies of all time, eight of them are PG-13, two are PG, and absolutely none are rated R. In fact, the highest grossing movie with an R rating is The Matrix Reloaded, sitting at the #61 spot. That movie came out 12 years ago, in 2003!
Creative movies do not necessarily have to be rated R in order to convey their adult themes, however, Hollywood is more concerned about profit, potential sequels and tie-in merchandise as opposed to contemporary and inventive material. The PG-13 classification is not the enemy, but it is widely overused by studios as a tool to better market their films to wider audiences. It is a movie limbo in which bloodless catastrophe exists and there are no consequences for mass shootings as long as the deaths happen offscreen. Cuts from the MPAA such as the complex fight sequences in Marvel's The Avengers or the downfall of Chicago in Transformers: Dark of the Moon showcase rubble and chaos but completely ignore any of the ramifications of the destruction. Because audiences have grown wary, yet complacent of the PG-13 classification due to studios diluting their films in order to stuff their greedy pockets, a concordant outcry ensued following the announcement of an upcoming Deadpool movie in production.
Reprising the his 2009 X-Men Origins: Wolverine role, Ryan Reynolds is set to star in the 2016 adaptation of Deadpool, "the merc with a mouth." What makes Wade Winston Wilson such a unique character (aside from breaking the fourth wall) is his degenerate behavior and his crude language. Anyone familiar with his comic book origin can attest to his deranged mental condition, viciously murderous impulses, and insane storylines. In the most simple of terms, Deadpool is a fucking badass.
Alas, fucking badass does not translate to modern, Marvel PG-13. Many, if not most, superhero movie adaptations stray from their source material in order to ground the story in such a way that it is entertaining for adults, but not too violent for children. This is ridiculous, especially in the age of gritty reboots and pointless remakes. The reason for the initial denouncement of a Deadpool movie was due to fans of the comic book antihero not wanting to have the crass fun sucked out of the titular character, and with good reason. What is the point of making Deadpool without the essence of Deadpool? The only way to achieve this level of integrity is to have the movie be rated R, but is Marvel, the monopoly of comic book movies, willing to take a risk for once?
It can be argued that superhero stories should now be televised as series, where writing and freedom of expression is at an alarming turning point. Taking into consideration Netflix's Daredevil, and its redemption of the comical 2003 rendition starring Ben Affleck, it is apparent that detailed story arcs and character development are favorable to the systematically tired Marvel formula. How many times will The Avengers assemble to save the world of mass destruction knowing very well they will triumph? In truth, superhero movies are getting tired and pointless, but they are raking in lots of cash. Because of this an overhaul seems very unlikely. Thankfully Deadpool arrives just in time to inject the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Fox's own with much needed comic relief and anti puritanical profanity.
Luckily for Deadpool fans, the world is a better place as the movie will indeed have an R rating. The red band trailer is two minutes and fifty-five seconds of violence, sex, and pure fun. This is only the beginning of the battle and what is most exciting about the revolutionary mainstream appeal of Deadpool and its R rating is its pioneering charge into war. Hopefully, this war will be won on February 12th, 2016. If Deadpool is a financial success, maybe Marvel and other major movie studios will stop pandering to the most accessible demographic and instead opt to create superior films for moviegoers with a hunger for realistic quality.