‘Man of Steel’ Gets Official PG-13 Rating from the MPAA

Published 2 years ago by

Man of Steel Title Logo Header Man of Steel Gets Official PG 13 Rating from the MPAA

The pre-release buzz and speculation for Zack Snyder’s Superman film, Man of Steel, has been full of interesting twists and turns. In the last two days alone we’ve seen rumors that suggest Jimmy Olsen will be swapped out for a female counterpart, Jenny Olsen, as well as been teased with the possibility of another Kryptonian bad guy.

The recent surge of Man of Steel news continues with a significantly less surprising piece of information – official confirmation that the film has successfully secured a PG-13 rating from the Motion Picture Association of America.

Considering that Snyder intended to position the film as a more realistic and grounded version of Superman, there wasn’t ever much doubt that the film would eventually land in the same MPAA rating window as most other superhero offerings. Aside from a few notable exceptions that have tried to flirt with PG or R-rated guidelines, nearly all mainstream superhero movies directly target the PG-13 audience – striking a careful balance between adult-friendly entertainment that many parents still allow older children to attend.

Before Brian Singer’s Superman Returns (starring Brandon Routh) was marked with a PG-13 rating, every single Christopher Reeve Superman movie successfully landed a PG rating – but that was before the MPAA reinforced stricter guidelines. For example, in 1984 Ghostbusters was also marked with a PG rating – in spite of several “four letter words” and an implied oral sex gag featuring Dan Aykroyd. As a result, while some might argue that even a “darker” Superman could work just fine in a PG film world, it’s possible that the original series might not even qualify as PG movies if they were re-rated by today’s MPAA.

Man of Steel Trailer Images Clark Kent Saves Oil Rig Workers 570x237 Man of Steel Gets Official PG 13 Rating from the MPAA

So that exactly are the criteria that landed the new film in PG-13 territory?

According to a recent MPAA report:

Man of Steel is Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence, action and destruction, and for some language.

Anyone who has seen the latest trailer for the film will surely be able to understand sci-fi violence, action and destruction but “some language”? Maybe the more “realistic” vision for the film equates to a curse-word heavy interpretation of Lois Lane – or maybe Tom Hiddleston will show up as Marvel villain Loki just to drop another misogynistic insult? Kidding. That said, despite the downright spiteful “mewling quim” line in the film, The Avengers did not get flagged for “language” (Fun Fact: The Dark Knight Rises did) – so it’s likely that whoever does the dirty talking in Man of Steel, they’ll at least be a little less “elegant” in their word choice.

Of course, as anyone who has seen the documentary This Film Is Not Yet Rated can attest, MPAA ratings are merely overarching guidelines, not play by play run-downs of every single potentially offensive element of a movie. Like any categorical scale in a creative medium, there’s a certain amount of subjectivity that comes into play at the MPAA – especially when films teeter between potential ratings.

Man of Steel Trailer Images Michael Shannon as General Zod 570x237 Man of Steel Gets Official PG 13 Rating from the MPAA

Fortunately, in the case of Man of Steel, it’s unlikely that Zack Snyder had to dial anything back or make painful cuts to the final film in order to arrive in that coveted PG-13 realm. We all know that these days, heroes have to get their hands a little dirty – even if they’re pursuing “truth, justice, all that stuff.


Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for more on Man of Steel as well as future movie, TV, and gaming news.

Man of Steel is currently in post-production and will hit theaters on June 14, 2013.

Source: MPAA [via Rope of Silicon]

Follow Ben Kendrick on Twitter @benkendrick
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  1. With the release date so far away, I’m surprised it’s completed enough to the point to be submitted to the MPAA.

    • Well 1.5 yrs of production can do that :P

      Loving the “intense sequences of sci-fi violence” part.

      • This is very true. As long as they’ve been working on it, I suppose the only thing not complete is the score and 3D post conversion – neither of which should have been needed for the MPAA process.

        • They actually complete the score on Monday according to one of the sound engineer’s twitter. Props to Snyder for having his s*** together. Hopefully it translates into a slick movie.

  2. SHOCKING…ly predictable :)

  3. Is’nt this Zack Snyders first non R rated movie? Believe so.

    • Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole was rated PG and Sucker Punch actually slipped in with a PG-13 rating.

      • I always forget Legend of the Guardians for some reason. But I had no clue Sucker Punch was Pg-13. I quite enjoyed that film.

    • Sucker Punch.

  4. I’m sorry but why is this news? Of course it was gonna be PG-13, lol duhhhhhhhhh, I wasn’t expecting an NC-17 movie & the only reason this movie has “buzz” is b/c Chris Nolan is tied to it. I love Superman but hate his morals.

    • It was outright stated in the article that no was expecting anything but PG-13 for the film. That said, official confirmations are still news and, if for no other reason, we thought it’d be fun to look back at prior Superman ratings as well as discuss how the MPAA actually approaches the rating system (plus how it has changed overtime).

      Not every single item on Screen Rant needs to be jaw-dropping late-breaking news.

      • Agreed.

        Plus it helps create further buzz and discussion so thanks for reporting on stuff like this, even if it seems minor.

      • I guess.

      • glad to see you guys in the comments more these days. i thought it was a good article ben, and i watched “this film not yet rated” also (i love docs) and thought it was pretty good. I’ve always questioned some of the mpaa’s ratings. it was funny how that movie made them out to be more clandestine than the CIA. i recommend that to any movie junkie. it’s on netflix.

        • Cheers! Yeah, This Film is Not Yet Rated is a must see for anyone who is a fan of the movie industry. An interesting opportunity to learn more.

    • I”m probably baiting a troll, but how could you hate Superman’s morals when your namesake sacrifices whole worlds to save his own people. Little backwards there.

      That being said, sometimes I wish Superman was a Marvel character. I’d like to see how he would look as one of the Heralds of Galactus, with his own power ampified with the Power Cosmic, et al.

      • Um Gary, 1st of all i am no troll. 2nd, when it comes to him being a superhero, he is soft.

    • If you don’t like his morals, then you are obviously a horrible human being and I feel sorry for you.

      • No offense but i feel sorry for the people who named you Skyler, i’m not a horrible human being, i just see things differently.

    • If you don’t like his morals, then you are obviously a horrible human being and I feel sorry for you.

      • I wouldn’t agree that someone has to be a horrible person to disagree with his morals. I guess if people have gone through hardship in life, they could feel a little disgusted at the constant optimism that Superman represents.

        Personally, I prefer Batman as a hero but I relate more to The Joker out of all other comic book characters.

  5. Not surprised really.

    I mean, in the UK, I think this could be a 12A at the least (thanks to our BBFC wanting to rate the first Spiderman movie a 12 which garnered complaints from parents who said they couldn’t take their 8 year olds to see it, thus creating the 12A rating) like a lot of other movies recently.

  6. Maybe the MPAA weren’t too familiar with the meaning of the word “Quim”. After all, you guys have the word “Fanny” completely back-to-front (literally). (^-^)

    • Haha.

      This is true.

      Then again, not sure if I’ve been Americanized (Z spelling FTW) through all these movies, tv shows and conversations with friends across the pond but I rarely use the Brit versions of certain words these days.

      Then again, different markets, different ratings, I like the subtle changes. Except for the fact we got Die Hard 4.0 and Marvel’s Avengers Assemble while the US got the vastly superior Live Free Or Die Hard and The Avengers titles.

  7. ‘Caddyshack’ is rated PG and has topless women in it. Yeah, the ratings got different when the PG-13 rating was introduced in ’84…and since.

    • I find it weird because we’re more used to seeing sex and violence these days but back then, ratings were more relaxed.

    • caddyshack is R, not pg, caddyshack 2 is pg-13, and sucks.

  8. anyone else feel like the marketing for this movie needs to start ramping up a bit more? i understand the secrecy but goodness….

    • It’s still only January.

      Don’t know how it is in the US but we generally have only a week of commercials before release unless it’s a big movie, then we get two weeks.

      • Things will ramp up once ironman is released. Just like the dark knight rises which waited on the avengers

      • We’ll probably start seeing advertisement getting heavier and heavier during the month leading up to the release. And I expect an ad to air during the SuperBowl.

  9. I sure man of steel will push the pg-13 rating like chris nolan batman films, because they didnt feel pg-13 at all and hoping this take on sup doesnt either to be honest, hes so bad ass in the comics and im sure zack snyder will do him justice.

  10. Exactly what I expected. As the article states every superhero movie has been PG13 so no reason to expect different here. However, I was surprised to learn that Green Lantern the movie was PG13. I thought for sure that movie was rated PG.

  11. “…an implied oral sex gag featuring Dan Aykroyd.” I chuckled when it said “gag”

  12. I cant wait for this! Man Of Steel best film for 2013, im calling it already. Bring it on.

  13. So far so good. No readon to freak out over the rating. WB CAN NOT FAIL. It is not an option, they must hit a homerun with MOS or else they are in deep $hit!

  14. This has been my most anticipated movie since the trailers came out.

  15. Star Wars Episode 1 and 2 both were PG and featured more than a few decapitations which I think is interesting. Anyways, I like the intense sci-fi action descriptions for Man of Steel. Can’t wait. :)

  16. It’s confuzing that actress who took the role of Jimmy Olsen ? She would’ve played Chloe Sullivan or Lucy Lane that’s what I assumed ?

  17. I think it’s Mr. Myxtlptk’s fault for creating these issues

  18. Oh it’s all A game you know A ratings game. Wene the first Star Wars film(now called ep#4)came out it could have gotten A G rating. But the producers didn’t want that because then the teenangers wouldn’t go thinking it was kid stuf. So it got PG instead same thing here make them think they shouldn’t see it they will show up in droves.

  19. ALL of the Chris Reeve films would be rated PG if they came out today. They are very family friendly, there’s not much in terms of actual “violence,” and while there’s language, there’s nothing extreme.