We’ve known for quite some time that writer-director James Gunn’s highly anticipated DC movie The Suicide Squad would be rated R, but now we know exactly why the film is getting the rating and buddy, buckle up. While most people now know Gunn as the filmmaker behind the delightful Guardians of the Galaxy movies, his pre-Marvel directorial efforts were pretty graphic and violent – Slither is a hilarious (and gross) monster movie, while Super puts a disturbingly realistic spin on crime-fighting. And with full creative freedom on The Suicide Squad, Gunn was able to bring some of his more violent sensibilities into the superhero genre.
The MPAA has rated The Suicide Squad R for “strong violence and gore, language throughout, some sexual references, drug use and brief graphic nudity.” That final notation may come as a surprise for some, and I think I speak for everyone when I say I really hope it’s referring to the King Shark character voiced by Sylvester Stallone.
Gunn was given free reign when Warner Bros. approached him about making a DC movie, and he chose the Suicide Squad franchise as the adaptation he wanted to tackle most. His film doesn’t necessarily ignore David Ayer’s 2016 film, and indeed features a number of the same characters from that movie including Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, but Gunn has said audiences don’t need to have seen Suicide Squad to be able to understand The Suicide Squad. His movie isn’t a reboot per se, but it’s not a full-on sequel either. It’s very much its own thing.
There was talk of Ayer’s film potentially scoring an R-rating back when it was in production, but Warner Bros. was still trying to play catch-up to Marvel and erred on the side of caution as they tried to figure out what they wanted to do with their interconnected universe. Then Joker grossed nearly $1 billion, and suddenly an R-rating – especially for a new movie from James Gunn – didn’t feel like such a risk. Now The Suicide Squad is officially one of the only R-rated movies in the loosely connected DCEU, which includes past films like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and upcoming films like The Flash and Aquaman 2.
The Suicide Squad was inspired by films like The Dirty Dozen and finds a ragtag group of mercenaries and misfits taking on an incredibly dangerous mission, from which not all of them will return. In addition to Robbie, the robust ensemble cast also includes Idris Elba, John Cena, Joel Kinnaman, Daniela Melchior, Jai Courtney, and Peter Capaldi.
Gunn is currently hard at work directing the Suicide Squad spinoff series Peacemaker for HBO Max, which follows Cena’s character, but he’ll then return to the almost-certainly PG-13 world of Marvel later this year when he starts production on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. He contains multitudes that’s for sure, but I really can’t wait to see Gunn’s R-rated sensibilities on full display in The Suicide Squad when it hits theaters on August 6th.
The Netflix movie will keep you guessing until the end.
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