Why Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow Is Rated PG-13

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Some things are inevitable in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Another Avengers movie is always in the distance, and some new theory about what something like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier means in the long run is waiting to be debunked. Not to mention that the MCU’s cinematic entries are always going to be rated PG-13, at least for the foreseeable future. So Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow’s recently being branded with that particular label is not that surprising, nor are the reasons.

You might have an idea for how exactly the long delayed start to Phase 4’s story arc received those honors. According to FilmRatings.com, Black Widow has quite a bit of the usual Marvel Studios moxie, grit and instances of “thematic material” that wouldn’t allow its products to be rated PG. Here’s the specific reasons why Natasha Romanoff’s solo adventure is PG-13:

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence/action, some language and thematic material.

It’s admittedly a standard practice for Marvel Studios to put out PG-13 level projects, as Kevin Feige himself has stated the only real exception in the cards right now is the traditionally R-rated Deadpool series. But there’s probably fans who show up to the hype circus each time a new film like Eternals or Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness comes along, hoping maybe an R-rating will appear. Basically, it’s the phenomenon of Star Wars fans hoping the traditionally PG-rated franchise would jump to PG-13, in hopes of some increasingly dark thematic material. That's definitely been happening more often in the Disney era with the cinematic entries in a galaxy far, far away.

Though there are some fans who would tell you the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been doing rather well in the PG-13 space, and Black Widow certainly wouldn’t be the exception to break the rule a little further. Plus, R ratings, like it or not, vastly reduce the audience that would be able to see Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh work out their family issues through some kinetic action set-pieces. Again, this is a case where the rating is expected, and thus welcomed.

It’s certainly going to be something people pay attention to quite a bit throughout 2021, as the slate of Marvel films this fall also includes Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Eternals and Spider-Man: No Way Home. None of those three films will even set foot close to an R-rating... or at least that’s what a fan would presume. Let’s not forget, there was once at time that somehow The Avengers almost got an R-rating.

Marvel’s Black Widow will finally take the stage, in the heart of summer, on July 9. So there’s plenty of time to stream WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and almost any other MCU project, on Disney+. Not a subscriber yet? That’s ok, as you can sign up for a triple play of that platform, as well as Hulu and ESPN+, through the special offer currently available to newcomers.

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Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.