With a few superhero movies making the risky jump from being PG-13 to Rated R - including this year's Deadpool from 2oth Century Fox, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice's Ultimate Cut and the animated Batman: The Killing Joke - Marvel Studios continues to stick to its guns by not jumping on the R bandwagon. The trend of R-Rated superhero movies will be continuing in the future, starting with next year's Wolverine 3: Hugh Jackman's (supposed) final Wolverine film and a movie believed to be drawing inspiration from such violent comic book source material as Old Man Logan (among others).
PG-13 is generally considered to be one of the most commercially-viable ratings that a film can receive from the MPAA - and with good reason. However, something like Deadpool is a perfect success story of mature source material that needed to be adapted into a "Hard R" to truly stay faithful to the spirit of the comics that inspired it. However, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has yet to adapt such a property for the big screen - and that goes for this fall's release, Doctor Strange, too.
Doctor Strange still promises plenty of dark on-screen magic and mysticism (in keeping with the comics that it's based on) and comes from director Scott Derrickson: the filmmaker behind such R-Rated horror films as Sinister, Deliver Us from Evil and Hellraiser: Inferno. Derrickson has nonetheless confirmed that his Marvel film will, in fact, be Rated PG-13 - and revealed the reasoning for the rating (in his own words, not those of the MPAA) in an upside-down manner befitting a superhero movie that promises to be quite the mind-bender:
ƎϽNƎ˥OIΛ ϽIԀOᴚ⊥OHϽʎSԀ ˥∀NOISNƎWIᗡ-ᴚƎH⊥O ᗡN∀ ʎ⊥ISNƎ⊥NI ϽI⊥Ͻ∀˥∀ƃ ϽIԀOϽSOᗡIƎ˥∀ʞ ᴚOℲ 31-ƃԀ ᗡƎ⊥∀ᴚ
— Scott Derrickson (@scottderrickson) August 13, 2016
Here is the official Doctor Strange synopsis from Marvel Studios:
Marvel's "Doctor Strange" follows the story of the talented neurosurgeon Doctor Stephen Strange who, after a tragic car accident, must put ego aside and learn the secrets of a hidden world of mysticism and alternate dimensions. Based in New York City's Greenwich Village, Doctor Strange must act as an intermediary between the real world and what lies beyond, utilizing a vast array of metaphysical abilities and artifacts to protect the Marvel cinematic universe.
The exact meaning of "kaleidoscopic galactic intensity and other dimensional psychotropic violence" is up for debate. Still, based on that description, Doctor Strange features brutal battles involving the human psyche and worlds folding over on top of themselves - as The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) attempts to mentor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). Swinton has said that the film will "pull some s**t out that no one has ever seen before," and Marvel does seem to be pulling some Inception-style mind-bending trickery here, all things considered.
Doctor Strange opens November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming – July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; Avengers 4 – May 3, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.
Source: Scott Derrickson
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