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.
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.
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]