ByEleanor Tremeer, writer at
MP staff. I talk about Star Wars a lot. Sometimes I'm paid for it. More ramblings on Twitter @ExtraTremeerial
Eleanor Tremeer

Deadpool was an unparalleled success, both financially and critically, surprising the naysayers and probably Fox too, considering they refused to make it for 10 years. We can expect the results of this success to impact Hollywood in a big way, because Deadpool proved once and for all that R-rated movies can still rake in cash. Many people are expecting this to pave the way for more R-rated comic book movies... but Suicide Squad won't be one of them.

'Suicide Squad' Sticks To PG-13

On the surface, Suicide Squad seems like the perfect candidate for an R rating. After all, it is about a bunch of antiheroes and villains on a literal suicide mission, with plenty of commentary on mental health and a probable torture scene. Although the second trailer showed Suicide Squad's sense of humor, the first trailer really made the point that ultimately this movie is pretty dark...

And yet, the film got a PG-13 rating, and when speaking to Entertainment Weekly producer Charles Roven warned fans not to expect this to change any time soon.

"I think right now we’re going for the PG-13. I don’t know that that’s going to materially change. We can give that movie the edge that it needs and still maintain a PG-13."

It's unfortunate, but understandable. After all, Suicide Squad was made far before the success of Deadpool rocked the superhero movie world. But even before this success, fans were wondering why such a supposedly dark movie would chase a PG-13 rating.

Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad
Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad

The PG-13 rating was invented so that studios could garner the most ticket sales by having the movie be available to the widest audience possible. R-rated films have a limited release, and of course anyone under 17 years old has to be accompanied by an adult. Which admittedly, kinda sucks if you're a teen who just wants to see their favorite superheroes beat up some bad guys.

So what impact will the PG-13 rating have on Suicide Squad? Will it really hamper the storytelling? Well, we've already had plenty of gritty movies that have toed the PG-13 line, including one of DC's darkest films...

PG-13 Is Darker Than You'd Think

PG-13 has plenty of room for mature themes and dark threats of violence. The crux of the issue, usually, is how much blood and gore the directors are allowed to show. The content can be psychologically horrifying and as long as there isn't too much blood the film can go to some pretty disturbing places. Which means we get delightful scenes like this one from The Dark Knight...

Obviously just the one scene doesn't do The Dark Knight justice: although the film was a PG-13, it is renowned as one of the darkest superhero movies yet, building tension with Heath Ledger's truly terrifying Joker. Of course, this does raise problems of its own. Hollywood has a strange double standard going on with the PG-13 rating, wherein they can show the psychological effects of trauma but the characters aren't allowed to swear.

Even more worryingly, a woman can be tortured on screen (within reason), but cannot be shown experiencing sexual pleasure (forget R - showing a woman's face mid-climax is enough to push the movie to NC-17). And by chasing the family friendly PG-13 rating, blockbuster franchises like the Terminator movies have been steadily getting less and less intense.

Terminator Genisys disappointed fans.
Terminator Genisys disappointed fans.

There's a lesson to be learned from Terminator Genisys compared to The Dark Knight — your PG-13 film doesn't have to be squeaky clean, and you can pack in all those deliciously dark themes as long as you don't overload on the gore.

So there's hope for Suicide Squad yet: the film may not have the bloodshed we expected, but the themes and tone of the movie won't probably tamed by the PG-13 rating. And who knows, with Deadpool's success maybe Suicide Squad 2 (already in the works) might push the rating to R.

[Source: Entertainment Weekly]


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