No, Deadpool Doesn't Suddenly Mean Suicide Squad Should Be Rated R


Following the massive box office success of Deadpool this weekend, it was predictable that Hollywood would start to react immediately.

For years, superhero movies -- and most tentpoles in general -- have been primarily PG-13 fare, with a PG or less considered juvenile, and an R rating cutting into the potential box office draw of your film since families with kids or individuals under 17 can't go.

And now, with a bona fide box office smash coming out as an R-rated film, there's already talk of R-rated X-Force and Wolverine movies, along with endless blogs about which R-rated comic book movie should get the Hollywood greenlight next.

Predictably, there's a chorus of voices suggesting that DC/Warner's Suicide Squad ought to be rated R now.

But no, it shouldn't.

Why not? Well, let's take a quick look at Deadpool. The movie was designed to be an R-rated action movie with superheroes. That's all it ever was, and attempts by the studio to tone it down to PG-13 were reportedly so strongly opposed by the filmmakers that it was a big part of the reason the movie took six years to get off the ground. Deadpool was conceived and executed as the exact movie that it turned out to be.

And, yes, there are some superficial similarities. Antiheroes, a jazzy soundtrack, ultra-violence and lots of humor...

...which, of course, could also describe Guardians of the Galaxy. That movie did just fine as a PG-13 movie, and it was never intended to be an R.

Could they make a good, R-rated Guardians of the Galaxy movie? Sure. But it wasn't necessary and without major changes to the tone or content, it's difficult to imagine how that movie would have been better, had it been allowed to "upgrade" to the R rating.

Same for Suicide Squad. Could they make an R-rated version? Absolutely. David Ayer might even be the guy to do it.

But that's not the movie he made. It was never intended to be an R-rated movie. It was written, performed and directed as a PG-13 movie.

And the movie is in post-production at this point. They'd have to go back, reshoot, re-edit, and basically change what the movie was supposed to be in order to add raunch just for the sake of hitting the R.

The reason Suicide Squad doesn't need to go for the R rating just because Deadpool did big bucks is the same reason Deadpool shouldn't have been a PG-13 movie: that's not what it was designed to do.

It's not about "well, these characters could be..." or "this movie should be...". it should be about servicing the story, servicing the film that the filmmakers and the studio and the actors set out to do. If the movie's good, it'll make money, regardless. That's why Deadpool worked and Fantastic Four didn't, and why Guardians of the Galaxy worked and Jonah Hex didn't. It's a fairly universal truth, really.

So far, Suicide Squad looks like it's working. Don't mess with that just because another, unrelated movie was more popular than expected.