‘Batman v Superman’ Will Be Rated R and It Means Nothing

Break out your knives and pitchforks, because something just happened to a superhero movie that you might not like. Your childhood memories are forfeit. Everything you ever loved was a lie. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is going to be rated R when it hits home video, and that means that superhero movies are doomed, and both Batman and Superman are tainted.

And if you agree with that, it also means that you’re probably getting way too invested in social media, because all of the knee-jerk reactions are pretty silly this time. Yes, the success of Deadpool probably paved the way for more R-rated superhero movies down the line, and yes, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice would probably never have been released with an R-rating in any format if that one Marvel superhero movie hadn’t just broken box office records despite or possibly because of a pegging scene. But no, it’s not the end of the world as we know it.

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For the record, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will be rated PG-13 when it hits theaters. That hasn’t changed. But according to FilmRatings.com, the “Ultimate Edition” of Batman v Superman will be rated R when it arrives on home video.

So let’s assume this information is accurate. What exactly does it mean? Does it mean that Warner Bros. freaked out when Deadpool was successful and reshot a whole bunch of stuff for their movie? Of course not. They don’t have the time, they probably don’t have the inclination, and frankly it’s not like the success of Deadpool means that PG-13 movies are destined to bomb from here on out.

What we are seeing here, if true, is an “extended” version of the film that’s a bit more violent, and probably not even ultra-violent. The MPAA is full of wusses. They gave the first Transformers movie an R-rating. And nothing even changed to bring it down to a PG-13. Steven Spielberg simply gave them a talking to, and he only did that because R-ratings were for many years considered the kiss of death for action movies. If he thought an R-rating was marketable he probably wouldn’t have bothered.

The Wolverine Unrated Cut

Have you ever prowled the halls of a video store and noticed all of the “unrated” and “extended” cuts of popular movies littering the shelves? Studios don’t usually even rate those versions because “unrated” cuts often sell better than R-rated cuts of PG-13 movies, or NC-17 versions of R-rated movies. Then along comes Deadpool with its R-rating, ultra-violence, and jokes about fellating Hugh Jackman, and it blows that whole paradigm out of the water.

So the extended version of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice that we were probably going to see eventually, which was probably already cut down for both time and violence, will now be released with an R-rating instead of without one. Because that’s a selling point now instead of a scarlet letter. Big whoop.

So just get over it. They haven’t ruined anything yet, at least as far as we know. The movie could still suck a worse than anything ever sucked, but it probably won’t have anything to do with how many punches we see get thrown on camera, and if it’s totally awesome it probably won’t be because you saw Batman with a bloodier face than usual.

Photo: Warner Bros.

William Bibbiani (everyone calls him ‘Bibbs’) is Crave’s film content editor and critic. You can hear him every week on The B-Movies Podcast and watch him on the weekly YouTube series Most Craved and What the Flick. Follow his rantings on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.


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