The MPAA has come under some flack of late for its one-size-fits-all rating system and vague-at-best explanations for those ratings. But there’s a fun flip-side to the murkiness: Speculating on what those ratings and their explanations might infer about the movie in question — in this case, The Dark Knight Rises.
The MPAA handed a PG-13 rating today to The Dark Knight Rises, for “intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language.” The rating itself does not mean the movie is totally done — films often screen well before the director is finished with technical elements like visual effects, sound design, and color timing. But it does provide us with a tantalizing indication for what may be in store with a wildly anticipated film that has otherwise put a high premium on plot details. Namely: Language? Sensuality? Intriguing!
As a point of comparison, 2008’s The Dark Knight won its PG-13 for “intense sequences of violence and some menace”; 2005’s Batman Begins was a PG-13 due to “intense action violence, disturbing images, and some thematic elements.” Beyond the obvious differences between “violence and action,” “violence and some menace,” and “action violence [and] disturbing images,” it appears that the final film in this trilogy is branching out into some new territory for the franchise. The “sensuality” could mean Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) gets horizontal with a cat-suited Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway). And “language” suggests masked villain Bane (Tom Hardy) could provoke Batman’s potty mouth. If that means we get to see more of Bale’s physique and legendary way with four-letter words, so much the better.