The Deadpool Movie Will Probably Be PG-13 (And Why That’s Not A Big Deal)

A couple of weeks ago, the Deadpool movie was finally confirmed with a release date of February 2016. The movie had been in purgatory ever since the release of X-Men Origins:Wolverine which infamously neutered the Deadpool character and enraged fans everywhere. Then in August 2014, test footage put together by visual effects director Tim Miller and Ryan Reynolds surfaced… and it was everything fans wanted from a Deadpool adaptation. Reception of the footage was so positive that the film was seemingly resusitated as a result of the fans’ praise. And now that the Deadpool movie is on its way to being realized, many of those same fans are panicking over the likelihood that the film won’t be a “Hard R”, but in actuality, PG-13. Please friends, dry your tears, cease your impassioned typing, and allow me to tell you why PG-13 ain’t such a bad thing.

1) That Test Footage You Watched? That was PG-13 Worthy

If you didn’t get the chance to watch the leaked test footage, well…here:

So, let’s do a breakdown of what was essentially the pitch to 20th Century Fox

  • Deadpool cursing (no F-bombs, but hey, we’ll be okay)
  • Deadpool snapping a man’s neck
  • A man being thrown out of a high-speed vehicle prior to being run over.
  • Deadpool decapitating a man and playing with said decapitated man’s decapitated head.

Now, maybe I’m an 17th-century Calvinist (look it up in your history books, kids) but that seems like a decent amount of bombastic violence for me. Did you want the “Hard-R” Deadpool to be riddled with a wide-array of appalling vulgarities? Thoughts on that later.

2) PG-13 Makes it More Likely the Movie Will Get Made

This movie has already beat the odds by escaping pre-production purgatory. Going for a PG-13 rating will keep the studio confident in the film’s potential success. Look at it from 20th Century Fox’s point of view:

Relatively unknown character...

Relatively unknown character…

Possibly associated with negatively received movie.

Possibly associated with negatively received movie…

Actor with turbulent superhero history attached.

Actor with turbulent superhero history attached…

Unproven approach...(Deadpool is definitely not a conventional hero)

Unproven approach…(Deadpool is definitely not a conventional hero)

3) PG-13 Has Worked for Other Notoriously Violent Characters

For whatever reason, there’s never been much outcry for Batman or Wolverine not having any R-rated films. While Batman has had some admittedly lighter phases in his past–that mostly ended in the last twenty years or so of comics history. (See: crushing bones, throwing batarangs into criminals nerve endings etc.)

Also, were there any complaints about how “soft” the content and action was in The Dark Knight?

And for Wolverine? A hero who’s known for slashing and stabbing opponents with great Canadian gusto? Not a theatrical released R-rated movie yet, and I haven’t felt like mister bub-man’s action scenes have been particularly sensitive.

On that note, let me bring up The Wolverine which had a PG-13 theatrical release before having a Director’s Cut on blu-ray which contained the R-rated version. Who’s to say they won’t do the same with Deadpool?

4) Boundaries Spur Creativity

I would argue that the violence and vulgarity in Deadpool comics are not the true appeal of the character. No! What highlights the character and sets him apart from others is definitely the weird, meta, looney aspect of the guy. The simplest way to pitch the character to anyone would be to say:

“He’s a crazy ninja dude that’s fully aware that he exists within a comic book.”

And most people would respond:

“Go on…”

The ones who matter, anyways.

So that aspect of the character will end up untouched by the PG-13 rating, I think the rating is even an asset to the movie. Those restrictions will give even more for the movie to play around with in the signature “breaking the fourth wall”. Imagine Deadpool bouncing around the screen ala Bugs Bunny, telling mobsters to watch their language in order to keep it PG-13, along with creative uses of blurred pixelation, etc.

The movie is being directed by the visual effects director from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World  anyway.

Censorship, everybody!

Censorship, everybody!

This PG-13 goal is just another way that the studio can ensure the film reaches as broad of a market as possible. And once it succeeds, the prospect of a “Hard-R” Deadpool will become that much more likely!


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