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'Suicide Squad' is PG-13: What this means for R-rated superhero movies

The upcoming DC Comics superhero film 'Suicide Squad' is officially rated PG-13, according to the MPAA. Recent films have changed the conversation about what ratings are best for superhero movies.

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    'Suicide Squad' stars (from l.) Margot Robbie, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Karen Fukuhara, Joel Kinnaman, Will Smith, and Jai Courtney.
    Clay Enos/Warner Bros. Entertainment/AP
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The upcoming DC Comics superhero film “Suicide Squad” will be rated PG-13, according to the Motion Picture Association of America. 

“Squad” stars actors including Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, and Will Smith as criminals living in the world of Batman who are offered forgiveness for their deeds in exchange for taking part in government jobs.   

The film will be the newest released by Warner Bros. and taking place in the DC Comics universe since this March’s “Batman v Superman,” which introduced Ben Affleck as Batman and  Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman and included the return of actor Henry Cavill as Superman. “Batman” was not well-received by critics, but it is the fifth-highest-grossing film of the year so far.

Before this year, whether “Squad” would be rated R would probably have been regarded as a much less likely possibility. But the R-rated superhero film “Deadpool,” which came out earlier this year, became an enormous success, showing that the traditional wisdom that an R rating will limit the moviegoers who can see a movie may not wholly determine a film’s financial performance. 

In addition, Warner Bros. is releasing an R-rated version of “Batman v Superman” on DVD. The DVD and Blu-ray will be released on July 19. Critics noted upon the original film being released in theaters that the movie already has various violent sequences, including a replay of Superman’s destructive fight against General Zod and Batman using particularly gruesome means against his foes. 

And violence seems to have been on the minds of those behind the scenes of superhero movies as well – two blockbusters this year had the characters themselves pondering the consequences of collateral damage inflicted by superheroes during fights against villains. In “Batman v Superman,” Bruce Wayne, also known as Batman, is angered by the damage Superman caused during his battle against General Zod, while “Captain America: Civil War,” the newest movie released by DC Comics rival Marvel, has superheroes facing consequences from the government for casualties caused by their match-ups with villains.

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