Should Doctor Strange Have Been R-Rated? The Internet Has Some Thoughts
Were zombies, possession and the Darkhold too far?
Out of the 28 movies we’ve seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe over nearly 15 years, there has yet to be an R-rated entry in the franchise. But after loads of audiences turned up for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, a discussion has begun brewing regarding the rating of Sam Raimi’s flick. The big question going around is this: should it have been rated R?
Multiverse of Madness is the closest Marvel has ever come to a horror movie, bringing in director Sam Raimi’s expertise from films like Evil Dead and Drag Me To Hell. As one Twitter user shared:
NGL tho Doctor Strange should Lowkey be Rated R, shit was going DOWN!! 😮, 9/10 movieMay 7, 2022
The latest Marvel flick, which has already collected over $700 million worldwide (making it the second most financially successful film of 2022), received a PG-13 rating by the MPAA for “intense sequences of violence and action, frightening images and some language.” After some viewers checked it out, they've been pointing out how it’s a bit more hardcore than your typical MCU movie. Here’s another reaction:
Lol, this Dr Strange Multiverse of Madness is rated PG 13😂? Movie is almost as gory as Deadpool without the comedy. Some scenes had me reaching to the random kids around me like pic.twitter.com/5Jskhf9I1gMay 7, 2022
The movie includes Doctor Strange in the form of a zombie, a book of evil spells called the Darkhold, a creepy ice cream song sung by children, a lot of violence at the hands of Scarlet Witch and plenty of horror-infused moments. However, not everyone is buying the idea that Multiverse of Madness should be in discussion for Team R:
Can’t help but feel like the whole “Doctor Strange 2 should’ve been rated R!” discourse is a manifestation of the latent fear that all this stuff is for the kiddos.May 8, 2022
While many people may want to see an R-rated version of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, it’s true that by the studio choosing a PG-13 rating, it’s opening the door for a larger audience to see the movie. Plus, the MCU has always been family-friendly and clearly wants to continue operating that way. Another solid point is how the Doctor Strange sequel is far from the first tentpole blockbuster to push the limits of what we might imagine for a PG-13 film:
I saw JAWS, POLTERGEIST, INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM, and GREMLINS growing up - all of which were even only rated *PG* - and I’m still alive https://t.co/KMQCC5QwqJ pic.twitter.com/fHTW7jITcAMay 8, 2022
Has anyone rewatched 1984's Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom lately? Wow, that movie is gnarly and also PG-13. There is something to be said about those few movies that do push those boundaries and expose younger audiences to things we wouldn’t typically see from movies with that rating. I know for me, seeing The Mummy as a kid absolutely terrified me, but it’s also one of the most memorable movies of my childhood. I can look back on it now and say I saw it as a kid and it was awesome. Here’s one more reaction about Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness:
Ok... does NOBODY remember Raimi's own "Drag Me to Hell"? Because that nightmare inducing horror fest was PG-13 and was a pretty strong indicator of what his Doctor Strange would be like. The man already knew where the boundaries were because he'd pushed them way harder before. https://t.co/wrXsToOcYOMay 9, 2022
While Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness may not be the first R-rated Marvel movie, we imagine the next Deadpool movie will finally break that fourth wall, per Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige's past comments about Deadpool 3. Until then, you can keep up with all the upcoming Marvel movies here on CinemaBlend.
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