‘Deadpool’: Why a PG-13 Rating Wouldn’t Be the Worst Thing Ever

Trying to combine the world of Deadpool with the MCU is becoming a complicated, unifying goal for Disney, even though they realize the rating systems for both are a universe apart. At least the Deadpool franchise managed to finally create an underused genre at Marvel: Very adult superhero comedy.

We want to see more of that beyond just Deadpool and Thor. However, Disney is adamant in keeping the rating system the same for some of its film properties.

Deadpool
Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) | Lars Niki/Getty Images for Museum of Modern Art, Department of Film

MCU is known for always staying within the PG-13 wheelhouse. Fans have also been used to an R rating in the Deadpool movies. As a result, it leaves Disney in a quandary about how to make Wade Wilson not quite so foul-mouthed for an MCU assimilation.

Making it work for PG-13 might prove R-rated material is sometimes a go-to creative crutch.

Many ‘Deadpool’ fans don’t seem to mind a PG-13

According to many media sites, the general consensus is that wavering between PG-13 and R for Deadpool seems very reasonable. We don’t know how the more adamant fans feel about this, though, since many of them will say the real appeal of Wade Wilson/Deadpool was the no-holds-barred, raunchy comedic barbs.

While you can argue such a case, the only reason it received an R rating was due to the Deadpool’s hard-edge profanity. The real comedy came from the delivery by Ryan Reynolds and the hilarious plot situations.

This was proven when an edited, PG-13 version of Deadpool 2 released last December called Once Upon a Deadpool. Not to be confused with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, some of you might have seen this re-edited Deadpool 2 with some clever touches. One of those involved an added subplot parodying The Princess Bride where Wade Wilson kidnaps Fred Savage.

Ryan Reynolds only agreed to do this PG-13 version if they added these elements, plus send all box office proceeds to a cancer charity called, ironically, “F*ck Cancer.”

What will Disney ultimately decide if ‘Deadpool’ joins the MCU?

It’s inevitable Deadpool probably will join the MCU in some capacity thanks to Disney now owning 20th Century Fox material. According to Deadpool 2 director David Leitch, a third movie doesn’t necessarily have to be R to be just as uproarious as the previous two.

Let’s be honest and say R-rated material is usually the easiest creative playbook to dip into. Making profanity an art form has already been done by multiple filmmakers, and it sometimes seems gratuitous just to appeal to adults.

Also, the line between PG-13 and R is often starting to blur. As Leitch noted, a happy balance is probably more than possible since a lot of people loved the PG-13 Deadpool 2 re-edit.

Whether others are on board for the PG-13 compromise is anyone’s guess. Ryan Reynolds has always been at the forefront of making sure the franchise stays R-rated.

Writers gain more of a challenge staying within a ratings box

Based on the above argument, it looks like we’re evolving into arguing about PG-13 diluting a film as much as a G-rating would. When you look at that from a different perspective, there’s far more room for creativity when you’re boxed into a corner on a rating.

A lot of interesting things can be done when placed in a more restrictive creative place. It’s arguably good for writing teams to have such challenges to think a little harder when crafting a screenplay.

You could apply the same argument to a G-rated movie, despite no studio daring make a G-rated live-action movie anymore. Yet, when the line between PG-13 and R is probably only the difference of one or two four-letter words (and a little less violence), the blistering wit of Deadpool won’t be destroyed.

Even so, we can’t help but think how much of a mental challenge writers would have in creating a G-rated superhero movie. No doubt it would push writers to the brink of desperation in expanding their creative limits.