FEATURE: The Case for a PG-13 Deadpool

The Deadpool franchise has been a considerable success for 20th Century Fox, succeeding as an R rated franchise where many comic book projects failed. This is largely in part to Tim Miller and Ryan Reynolds’ vision for the character, lifting the lovable Merc with a Mouth from Rob Liefeld’s pages and letting him run free in a Fourth Wall-shattering silver screen sandbox. The first film’s $783 million worldwide gross is nothing to turn your nose at: this character connected with a LOT of people.

BUT. But. Hear me out, friends: what if Deadpool was a PG-13 franchise? Would that be so bad? Would it hamper the filmmakers’ ability to tell Wade Wilson’s story? Consider these points:

  • A PG-13 Deadpool would reach the coveted teenage demographic, elevating Deadpool to Four Quadrant status and sending Box Office sales soaring.
  • It could make fun of the PG-13 sandbox, opening a new field of comedy and adding a layer that might prevent the series from going stale.
  • A PG-13 Deadpool would have a longer shelf life beyond theaters, as the series lives on with younger viewers enamored by DP’s irreverence. 
Of course, the downsides of a PG-13 Deadpool are obvious too:
  • A PG-13 Deadpool would have its humor constrained and could result in a less innovative product.
  • A PG-13 Deadpool could alienate the series existing audience, resulting in fewer ticket sales.
  • By abandoning what made the series work, a PG-13 Deadpool might be forgettable in the same way Alien 3 was.
These are all hypotheticals, of course. But it’s fun to consider the possibilities. For many film goers, Deadpool is still an off-limits franchise. For other film goers, it’s the only superhero franchise that follows a formula that appeals to their sensibilities. 
From a storytelling front, there’s nothing preventing a PG-13 Deadpool from working. But should Wade Wilson actually BE a PG-13 character? That’s up for debate.

Deadpool is different from the chipper MCU and dour DCEU. Wherever the future of the franchise leads, I hope it retains its roguish personality. And if Wade Wilson arrives in the Avengers films someday, I hope Marvel has a lot of fun with those rating constraints. 

Ask me about Myst.