'The Suicide Squad' Harley Quinn
Source: Warner Bros.

Yes, 'The Suicide Squad' Is Actually Rated R — and It's Definitely Earned Its Rating

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Aug. 6 2021, Published 7:04 p.m. ET

Blood, gore, violence, and sex — what else should we expect from The Suicide Squad? The new version of The Suicide Squad, written by James Gunn, is rated R for many, many reasons. And parents, teens, and fans of the DC comics are wondering why it got the explicit rating when its predecessor is rated PG-13.

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There’s a lot going on in The Suicide Squad — and if we think about the premise of the film, it’s pretty impossible not to make the movie rated R. Basically, the film follows a group of ragtag villains who have bombs implanted in their brains.

It’s either complete the mission or die, and anyone could die at any time. Honestly, it’s kind of a miracle that the first Suicide Squad wasn’t rated R — maybe that’s why Warner Bros. wanted to remake it.

'The Suicide Squad' violence
Source: Warner Bros.
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James Gunn would only make ‘The Suicide Squad’ if it could be R-rated.

James Gunn was basically the reason that Warner Bros. decided to remake Suicide Squad in the first place. When he signed on to The Suicide Squad, he had several stipulations, and the studio begrudgingly complied. One of those stipulations was that his version would need to be rated R. He basically wanted no boundaries on what he could create, and so far, it’s paying off.

“I said, ‘It’s going to be rated R because it’s like a war film,’” James explained to IndieWire. “I have a big aversion to war films or gun films where people are getting shot and they’re getting thrown back and it’s [just the] impact, but no real repercussions to the violence.”

This is a fair critique — one of the biggest criticisms of superhero and action movies is the amount of destruction done in service of “the greater good” without consequences.

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'The Suicide Squad' gun violence
Source: Warner Bros.

So in this case, James wants us to see what those consequences are. “‘The only way I can do this and not have it be rated R is if I have them fighting a bunch of robots or something,” he continued.

“And I don’t want to make a movie with a bunch of robots, I want to make a war film.’ They were like, ‘Okay, you can write it rated R.'” So that's how The Suicide Squad ended up with its R rating, and Warner Bros. will likely thank James later.

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‘The Suicide Squad’ is rated R due to “strong violence and gore, language throughout, some sexual references, drug use, and brief graphic nudity.”

The new The Suicide Squad is rated R for reasons we’d expect: violence, gore, explicit language, sexual references, drugs, and nudity. That’s basically the whole gamut. And honestly, its explicit rating is very earned. Early on, we see Harley Quinn slit a man’s throat, Sweeney Todd-style, setting the tone for the gory film.

'The Suicide Squad' Idris Elba shooting
Source: Warner Bros.
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There are also explosions, death, murder, torture, and the worst kind of violence in The Suicide Squad. But it’s not just gore and violence (although there is a lot of it). There’s also sex, cursing, and drugs. By cursing, we mean that there are f-bombs dropped like there’s no tomorrow.

'The Suicide Squad' Harley Quinn
Source: Warner Bros.
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And as for the sex? Well, there’s more male nudity than female nudity, which is a fun twist on stereotypical film nudity. There's also lots of drinking, smoking, and hard drug use, which falls into the R-rated category.

While The Suicide Squad definitely earns its R-rating, it’s still all in good fun. It’s gritty and dark, but still humorous — it’s the type of morbidity we might crave in a world ravaged by atrocities. So don’t let the explicit rating turn you off… unless you’re under 17.

The Suicide Squad is now available in theaters and on HBO Max.

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