Disney’s Latest Marvel Film Creating A Stir About PG-13 Instead Of R Rating

Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen and Sam Raimi attend the "Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness" photo call at Ritz Carlton on April 21, 2022 in Berlin, Germany.
(Photo by Tamir Kalifa/Getty Images)

Disney’s latest film “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” is creating a stir — and even trended on Twitter on Sunday — as a debate rages over whether the film should be rated R instead of PG-13 due to its “intense sequences of violence” and more.

The new Marvel Studios film is the sequel to the 2016 superhero movie “Doctor Strange” which had the same rating. But the follow-up movie reportedly contains “intense sequences of violence and action, frightening images and some language,” which has some wondering why the film didn’t get a higher age restriction, reported the Hollywood Reporter in a piece published Sunday.

Some have argued the movie has scenes that were dark and involved “graphic violence” that deserved a different film rating, while others called the criticism nonsense. The outlet noted that what seems to be getting people upset stems from at “least three moments of disturbing, graphic violence involving cameos” — but details were not disclosed in the piece.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Senior Staff Writer Ryan Parker said he ultimately decided the movie didn’t warrant a higher age restrictions and explained why.

No. Likely, the violence and horror elements were seen through the lens of being conducted by superheroes and supervillains, which is how parents taking their younger children to see the film would also likely interpret the images and action, thereby making PG-13 the appropriate choice. After all, the Classification and Ratings Administration (CARA) board is composed of an independent group of parents.

However, Variety Magazine’s Senior Awards Editor Clayton Davis had a different opinion about the Motion Picture Association’s film rating and said when asked by friends if they would take their kids to see it, he said “I don’t think I would.”

Davis said it’s “debatable” whether the Marvel Cinematic Universe film, directed by Sam Raimi, is the “franchise’s first horror film,” as Marvel head Kevin Feige described it.

It’s debatable whether “Doctor Strange” is strictly a horror film or a superhero film with horror elements, but with brutal scenes of people getting cut in half, shocking jump scares, and a sequence that is a terrifying (albeit terrific) ode to Jack Nicholson in “The Shining,” we can safely classify this entry as the most “adult” MCU outing yet. 

An IGN (Imagine Games Network) review said “for better and worse,” “Doctor Strange” is a Raimi film “through and through.” It explained that the “horror element” was a big elephant in the room for this film and that “Doctor Strange” isn’t the only thing that goes “bump in the night.” It also asked if the movie was too scary for kids and noted the “horror aspects” helped the MCU movie get its PG-13.

The debate raged on social media with both sides pointing out their thoughts as well. Here’s a sampling.

(Disclosure: The Daily Wire has announced plans for kids entertainment content.)

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