Batman v Superman: What Does The ‘R’ Rating Mean?


The director’s cut of Batman v Superman will be rated R, but what does that imply?

So it’s not surprising that Batman v Superman is rated PG-13, it’s a huge superhero meant to try and get as many people as possible into seeing it. For many people, PG-13 might as well be PG these days. Maybe a 5 or 6-year old shouldn’t see the movie, but you can bet there will be plenty of 8-10 year old kids in attendance who think Batman or Superman are cool superheroes, despite the seemingly grim and dark tone of the film.

What might be surprising is that yesterday, news broke that not only will there be a director’s cut of Batman v Superman, but it will be rated R. Rated R specifically for violent sequences. Some fans seemed overjoyed at the news, while others, especially certain comic book industry people, seem less enthused.

Now, it’s important to establish some things that people really don’t seem to understand. Yes, Deadpool is a Rated R movie that was a massive success. It might open the doors for many more R-Rated comic book movies down the line. It did not in any way affect anything to do with a director’s cut of a movie that’s already done and coming out a mere two months after it. Some people seemed to attribute Deadpool’s success to this director’s cut and that’s just a horrible misunderstanding of how the industry works and frankly how long it takes to make a movie. Odds are whatever Zack Snyder’s initial cut of Batman v Superman was may have garnered an ‘R’ rating, but it was probably just a first pass, you can believe with a movie such as this he was always going for a PG-13, because Batman v Superman simply cannot afford to be an R movie in theaters. This most likely won’t affect Suicide Squad either, because even if it’s about a bunch of nasty homicidal villains, it is a major piece of a PG-13 comic book universe, so they are most likely keeping it at that same level (though don’t count out an R-rated director’s cut of that either).

The second thing people seem to be reacting to is they seem to be assuming this means in this special cut of Batman v Superman that no one will see in theaters, because it’s ‘R’, it automatically means this will be a cut where Superman and possibly even Batman are just annihilating people left and right. Maybe part of that is director Zack Snyder having a history of admittedly grim, dark and violent movies. I mean, he basically made his name on Dawn of the Dead and 300.

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But as much as I am not a fan of Snyder, I don’t think that’s it. Sure, Superman and Batman have killed people in the comics, but usually that’s a resort of incredibly lazy writing. Superman should pretty much never kill anyone, and Batman should at least try real hard not to kill anybody. I think Snyder is fully aware of this, because even though Superman did kill Zod in Man of Steel, it wasn’t Superman’s first choice, he felt it was a last resort. Whether or not you agree with that is another issue. But it also means you won’t see Superman tearing Lex Luthor’s heart out through his chest or burning Batman to a crisp with his laser vision.

So essentially what we have is people celebrating or freaking out about this R rating when they don’t even know what it’s for. They just seem to assume it involves Superman or possibly Batman. But what if it involves a villain? There could easily be sequence involving Lex Luthor or Doomsday that was simply too much to stick with the PG-13 rating that probably doesn’t even have Batman or Superman in it. I’ve said this before. We have seen the ruined Robin suit in the trailers. It’s been heavily hinted that the Joker is in Batman v Superman in some form. The R rating most likely has to do with that sequence. Simply put, Joker probably killed Robin in brutal fashion. Could be Jason Todd, could be Dick Grayson, we don’t know. A scene like that could easily bump the film to an R without making any other drastic changes, and it’s something that could easily be edited or cut out and merely implied for the theatrical release.

Next: Batman v Superman Runtime Revealed

So, in essence don’t worry about Batman v Superman being “rated R”. It’s a director’s cut that a lot of people probably won’t even see (because people barely buy movies anymore). It’s not following a trend or setting a precedent, it’s (probably) not going to betray the core of what Batman and Superman are. It’s most likely just an extra scene or two that was a little too grim for MPAA, and ultimately means nothing. Batman v Superman opens in theaters March 25th, and obviously the home video release with the director’s ‘R’ rater cut will follow sometime after that, most likely not long before Suicide Squad opens in August.