There were a lot of things wrong with the first Suicide Squad, but its rating certainly didn’t help. Here is a film about a team of deadly (in some cases psychotic) super-villains forced to take on a suicide mission on behalf of the government; if they disobey orders, the government blows up their heads. If they fail, they die. And it was rated ... PG-13.

Suicide Squad is not a PG-13 rated concept. But hey, gigantic blockbusters are supposed to be for gigantic audiences, which means they have to be made acceptable for viewers of almost any age. Suicide Squad’s PG-13 was a pretty good summation of the movie as a whole — with the studio forcing the film to tick certain boxes they felt they needed out of a big DC superhero movie, rather than making the best and most faithful possible version of the comic possible.

We won’t know for a while whether the sequel, The Suicide Squad, turned out any better. But we already know that this time Warner Bros. let writer/director James Gunn make a more adult-oriented picture. The film has received its rating from the MPAA and it’s officially received an R for “strong violence and gore, language throughout, some sexual references, drug use and brief graphic nudity.” Brief and graphic nudity, you say? Okay then.

For sake of comparison, the MPAA rated the first Suicide Squad movie from 2016 PG-13 for “sequences of violence and action throughout, disturbing behavior, suggestive content and language.” So the new one has “strong” violence versus just “sequences” of violence, plus drug usage, sexual references, and that darn brief graphic nudity.

You know how you know The Suicide Squad is going to be darker and edgier than the original? This is an official publicity photo for the film, available on the Warner Bros. press site:

Warner Bros.

They are advertising this movie with a shot of a shark man eating a person. You kind of have to be R rated at that point. “Hey kids! Get your parents’ permission and then head on down to watch the guy who’s part shark swallow men whole!” is a questionable sales pitch. The Suicide Squad premieres in theaters and on HBO Max on August 6, 2021.

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