Intense, dark, and violent, but should Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness deserve to be given an R classification for its adult themes? Following the release of the Marvel Studios picture this last weekend, a discussion has sparked.
Some have suggested that the latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, directed by Sam Raimi, should have been classified R for horror aspects and at least three scenes of disturbing, graphic violence featuring cameos that will not be addressed in this article.
The discussion sparked such a firestorm that the topic gained traction on Twitter on Sunday, with some agreeing that the picture is too dark and intense for PG-13 and others dismissing the criticism, citing comparable films that have pushed the PG-13 barrier far further.
Did the ratings board miss out on Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness? The answer is no. The violence and horror scenes were likely seen through the lens of being carried out by superheroes and supervillains, which is also how parents bringing their younger children to watch the film would likely understand the sights and action, making a PG-13 rating being suitable. After all, the Classification and Rating Administration (CARA) board is comprised of an independent parents’ group.
Neither the MPA nor the CARA provides any commentary on rating determinations. It is the discretion of the director to dig into the nitty-gritty of what is required to get a certain rating.
It was created in 1984 after outraged parents gained public attention for claiming that Steven Spielberg‘s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was much too violent and unsettling for its PG classification. There was also controversy around Gremlins, which Spielberg executive produced.
Spielberg was influential enough at the time to approach MPA president and ratings originator, the late Jack Valenti, with a proposal for a new classification system that would better prepare parents for the content between PG and R.
The ratings adjustment proposal was the first time the system had been changed since its inception in November 1968. Garry Marshall‘s The Flamingo Kid was the first picture to get a PG-13 classification by the organization in 1984, but since it was not come out until December, the first film to receive the new rating was Red Dawn, which was released in August.