There's no denying that Deadpool changed the game earlier this year. Wade Wilson's pitch-perfect story of love and revenge endeared the character to audiences all over the world, and definitively proved that an R-rated comic book movie can work if everyone involves reveres the source material. However, that doesn't mean that every comic book movie should automatically opt for a hard R classification, as well.
Suicide Squad recently received a PG-13 rating from the Motion Picture Association of America -- much to the dismay of fans who had hoped to see a hard R depiction of classic DC characters like Joker and Deadshot. We here at Cinema Blend are here to tell you definitively that a PG-13 rating is what Suicide Squad -- and to a larger extend, DC -- needs right now. Maybe Lobo, or even Red Hood will one day get the R-rated treatment, but for right now Suicide Squad is fine just the way it is. We've gone through the recent history of the comic book genre, and come up with three definitive reasons why Suicide Squad should remain in the realm of PG-13...
DC Needs A Hit After Man of Steel and Batman V Superman
First and foremost: DC and Warner Bros. are in no position to take risks with the release of Suicide Squad. 20th Century Fox gambled big on Deadpool by giving it an R-rating, but do you know what X-Men movie they had last brought to theaters? The wildly popular X-Men: Days of Future Past. It also doesn't hurt that Deadpool was an insanely cheap investment, costing less than $60 million to produce. After the lackluster reception of Man of Steel and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, the DCEU simply doesn't have the sort of goodwill necessary to take that sort of chance. Suicide Squad needs to cast the widest possible net, and give Warner Bros. a bona fide hit before the studio can even consider taking a risk on a wide release R-rated film.
Appealing To Young Fans Could Help Create A Long-Term Suicide Squad Fanbase
No, I don't mean to sound like Tipper Gore in the 1980s, because I don't think we need to protect our kids from extreme content. However, appealing to a younger crowd still matters when it comes to superhero films. These movies often serve as a jumping off point for younger fans to immerse themselves in the world of comic books and graphic novels. There's simply no denying that the success of widely marketable Marvel films in recent years has introduced a whole new generation of comic book fans to the medium. By exposing younger audiences to these niche DC characters, the studio has the ability to create an entire new wave of fans who will actively seek out oddball comic books, video games, and TV series based upon characters like Deadshot, Boomerang, and Katana. It worked for Marvel with Guardians of the Galaxy; it can work for DC.
Suicide Squad Should Be More Concerned With Getting The Source Material Right Than Pushing The Envelope
Finally -- and perhaps most importantly -- there's the simple fact that Suicide Squad doesn't need an R-rating to achieve greatness. Deadpool obviously worked, but its R rating isn't really what made it successful. Deadpool succeeded because the filmmakers understood the irreverent sensibilities of the character, and Ryan Reynolds completely nailed his portrayal of the Merc with the Mouth. To attribute Deadpool's success to its rating would be a gross oversimplification of its strengths. Rather than adding buckets blood, gratuitous nudity, and dictionaries full of foul language, David Ayer's Suicide Squad needs to concern itself more with building a universe that's faithful to the source material while maintaining an appeal to mainstream audiences. It looks as though the cast and crew have nailed that aspect of Task Force X's first cinematic outing, but we will have to wait and see.