After several false starts, and a disappointing appearance in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, all signs are pointing to Fox’s Deadpool being the proper starring vehicle for the politically incorrect hero that both fans and actor Ryan Reynolds have been wanting to happen since the mid-2000s. Of course, one of Deadpool’s most notable aspects is its hard R-rating, an almost unheard of classification for a superhero film in the current box-office climate of PG-13 Marvel Cinematic Universe dominance.
During a recent appearance on BBC One’s The Graham Norton Show, Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds began things by amusing the crowd with his imitation of the “in a world”-style movie trailer voiceover, even managing to include fellow guest Suicide Squad’s Will Smith in the hilarity. A clip of that bit can be seen above, but Reynolds did manage to drop another interesting bit of Deadpool news amid the laid back fun that Norton’s show is known for.
Elsewhere during the show, Reynolds confirmed to Norton that Deadpool has received a 15 certificate by the UK’s BBFC ratings body. This might seem like an odd decision on the surface, considering that Deadpool’s graphic violence and sexual content made it a lock to earn a R-rating from the MPAA, thus deeming it inappropriate for persons under 17. There are several factors to consider though, one being that the MPAA has notoriously conservative standards for what it deems worthy of certain ratings levels, and another being that the UK has a generally more permissive attitude toward so-called “adult content” in movies and television than does the USA.
Another factor worth noting is the context of the violence and sexual references. Deadpool is clearly an over-the-top comedy, and not meant to be taken too seriously. The BBFC has a history of taking it easier on films that present arguably offensive levels of violence and sex if the tone of the film clearly establishes that the audience is meant to chuckle as much as cringe. For example, similarly hard-hitting comic book film Kick-Ass — and its sequel Kick-Ass 2 — passed BBFC classification with a 15 rating. So in that respect, Deadpool getting a 15 makes sense. The BBFC has also confirmed that Deadpool passed through its process uncut, so UK fans needn’t worry that Fox removed any choice moments in order to get a more inclusive rating, a fate that has befallen more than one film in the past.
In less than two short weeks, the world at large will finally get to experience Deadpool’s debut feature film. Will the Merc With a Mouth kick ass and take names at the box office, signaling a renaissance of R-rated superhero films? He might, but even if he doesn’t, at least Deadpool is finally getting his due.
Deadpool hits theaters on February 12th, 2016.