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Why Logan Director James Mangold Hates PG Ratings

Hugh Jackman Logan

James Mangold finally brought the version of Wolverine that many fans had been waiting for to the big screen thanks to his ability to shoot an R-rated movie. As it turns out, the director actually has issues with PG-rated films. Mangold says that PG, and PG-13, rated movies actually make violence more palatable than an R-rated movie because they actually have just as much violence, but they remove so much of the detail that we don't experience it the way we should. According to Mangold...

I have a lot of misgivings about violence and PG ratings. A PG film might show hundreds of people dying, falling off buildings, getting mowed down by rapidfire guns, but you don't feel the deaths because the ratings system dictates the amount of agony being played by the actor. In a weird way, that makes violence more palatable because when we excise the upsetting bits, we de-sensitize ourselves to death to the point where it's almost like shooting ducks at a carnival.

It is certainly true that violence is rarely lacking in PG action movies. There are plenty of guns, plenty of fights, and potentially as much death as a similar rated-R title. However, for the PG film, there is little to no blood, death often happens off screen, and we never see the pain that these people feel as a result of the violence they have been through. This is done intentionally so as not to subject younger viewers to images that they may not be ready for, but James Mangold's point to The Credits is a valid one, that doing this could have the consequences by making the violence seem to be not as bad as it actually is.

While R-rated movies are still movies, and violence is still going to be stylized, especially in comic book movies, we do get to see a much more realistic depiction of what violence really is. We see the blood, the pain, and the death. These things might be upsetting to some viewers, of any age, but that's sort of the point.

Certainly, there's value in not subjecting some people to things they don't want to see or don't want their children to see. The key, it would seem James Mangold is trying to point out, is realizing that there's a big difference between what you see on screen in a PG movie and the real thing. PG violence should still be treated with weight and respect because it really is just as awful, even if we don't see the worst parts of it.

Comparing Logan to the other X-Men movies really does show how different the same sort of violence can look when you don't hide the ugliest parts of it. It certainly causes you to react very differently, and while that is exactly why the rating system does what it does, it can't be argued that there's also value in seeing the reality of it all.

Dirk Libbey
Dirk Libbey

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.