A decade ago, the idea of an R-rated superhero movie, let alone one based on one of the biggest superheroes of all, would have seemed ridiculous, but thanks to movies like Deadpool, Logan, Joker, and The Suicide Squad, Hollywood has seen that an R rating can work in the realm of tights-wearing crime fighters. That had given hope to some that Matt Reeves’ decidedly dark take on Batman, The Batman, would get an R-rating and tell a bloody story with Robert Pattinson’s Batman: It’s not happening. The MPAA released its official rating for The Batman, and it will be PG-13.
Now, that PG-13 rating is for a host of decidedly adult things. The rating says the film contains “strong violent and disturbing content, drug content, strong language, and some, suggestive material.” Clearly, as we’ve seen in the trailers, the movie is going to be violent and dark — this isn’t Joel Schumacher putting nipples on Batman — but the PG-13 means it won’t be that violent and dark. The rating shouldn’t really come as a surprise to anyone. Warner Bros. wouldn’t sacrifice the butts in seats that one of its biggest characters brings, especially during a surge in the pandemic.
It does, however, make sense that people held out hope for an R rating for The Batman as the Caped Crusader can be brutal and brooding, but a PG-13 rating doesn’t mean the movie won’t still be that. Reeves brought intense action, emotion, and story to the Planet of the Apes films with PG-13 ratings, and those movies had talking monkeys in them. To think that he won’t be able to bring the same gravitas to The Batman because he can’t show Batman snapping a thug’s arm in half is ridiculous.
The Batman will release in theaters on March 4, rated PG-13.