Given the precedent set by Kick-Ass and Deadpool, along with the promise of a somehow-even-bleaker version of Batman v Superman, a hard-R animated adaptation of Batman: The Killing Joke and an R-rated bone-cruncher finale for Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, it’s pretty clear that hard-R superhero fare can bring in the mass audiences just fine. And yet Suicide Squad, the next installment in the nascent DC Extended Universe, has just been branded PG-13 by the MPAA, despite promising an ultra-violent slugfest featuring some of DC’s deadliest villains like Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Killer Croc, and Jai Courtney dressed up like a street hustler. In typical MPAA fashion, their reasoning for this ruling was pretty vague, claiming that the film merits a PG-13 rating due to “sequences of violence and action throughout, disturbing behavior, and suggestive content and language.”
After the criticism lobbed at BvS for its excessive violence and dour tone, it’s not surprising that Warner Bros. might want to paint this film in a less-grim light, but the Suicide Squad are a government task force of C-list villains, all of whom have a talent for murder and destruction. Unless they’re planning to start a band and/or combat the forces of evil with the power of friendship, it feels wrong that the movie about DC’s villains is considered lighter fare than Zack Snyder’s fully realized version of Batman and Superman punching and glaring at each other. We’re still hopeful that Suicide Squad will be good, but going in knowing it won’t quite have the bite that it probably should isn’t exactly upping our expectations. See what we mean, if you haven’t already, below.