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What the ‘Eternals’ PG-13 rating means for you and your family

There’s a chance you won’t take your children to the next Marvel Cinematic Universe film

The new “Eternals” poster from Marvel Studios.
The poster from Marvel Studios’ “Eternals.”
Marvel Studios

Blockbuster films have, in large part, been PG-13. There’s a simple reason for it, one that makes sense from the Hollywood side of things. The PG-13 rating often suggests a movie for all ages, including teenagers and even some younger children, if parents are willing to allow it. Generally, the PG-13 rating is a sign that the film will straddle the line between PG and R, but often will appeal to a larger overall audience.

“Eternals” — the upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe film about a group of eternal aliens living on Earth — received a PG-13 rating from the MPA’s Classification and Rating Administration on Tuesday, which is pretty common for Marvel films. The film received the ranking due to “fantasy violence and action, some language, and brief sexuality.”

The PG-13 rating is a sign that the MCU is changing and that there may need to be more considerations from families about seeing an MCU film before they buy their tickets.

According to the MPA, PG-13 ratings often suggest to parents that they may want to be cautious about bringing their children to that movie.

The PG-13 rating isn’t a huge deal here since the Marvel Cinematic Universe films tend to be PG-13 because of their mature language, the fantasy violence and the darker themes within them. But, as ScreenRant points out, the franchise has largely stayed away from sexual content, which raises eyebrows about this new rating.

“While the rating itself comes as no surprise, the note of ‘brief sexuality’ is noteworthy considering the fact that the franchise has largely strayed from overtly sexual scenes following Disney’s acquisition of the studio,” according to ScreenRant.

So you might think that there’s going to be some romantic love scenes or romantic moments in the film that warrant the rating. But there’s another possible reason for the rating — the “sexuality” could refer to the more diverse cast that’s going to be highlighted in the project.

According to The Direct, the “brief sexuality” might be a reference to the male character Phastos’ husband since it is an LGBTQIA+ relationship. This would be the first LGBTQ couple in the MCU.

There’s no question that Phase Four of the MCU has become more diverse. We kicked things off with the female-centric “Black Widow” and then “Shang-Chi and the Legends of the Ten Rings,” which focused on an Asian superhero. “Eternals” will have a cast of people from different backgrounds, too.

The MCU is no longer just about the big battles and the huge fights on top of skyscrapers. In many ways — just like Marvel Comics has been — these movies are chances to teach your children lessons about family, diversity, race and the constant struggle of the world. When deciding to see an MCU film, families won’t only decide if they want to see Hero A vs. Villain C. Rather, they’ll be deciding what lessons they want to teach their children.

“Eternals” drops on Nov. 5.