Recommendation for a New Movie Rating…

I took my twelve year old son to see Batman v. Superman yesterday. He enjoyed it. I enjoyed it. I thought it was flawed, don’t get me wrong, but I enjoyed it. I think I enjoyed it because I was watching it the same way my 12 year old son was watching it: with most critical faculties turned off.

And then I got onto Facebook today and saw responses to the film by a couple of friends of mine who were not only very disappointed in the film but so disappointed that they were very annoyed. I think this Mother Jones review speaks for them. They did not go to see the film with a twelve year old. They did not watch it with their critical faculties turned off. They did watch it as an extension and development of the DC films preceding this one. And they did not like it.

That’s when it hit me: we need a new movie rating system. Not one that takes into account nudity, violence, or swearing, as our current rating system does, but one that takes into account the mental age needed to enjoy the film.

So we know it’s rated PG-13. Without seeing it, we know there’s violence in the film and probably some language (I honestly don’t recall hearing any language or not).

Now suppose we also rated it MA-12. That would tell potential viewers they need a mental age of twelve years old in order to enjoy the film. A rating like this would tell viewers like me and my friends to scale their minds way back when they walk into the theater. Just don’t notice those gaps in plot or character motivation. Just allow the slimmest pretext to advance the plot to the next action scene, and then just enjoy the action scenes at face value: don’t question their plausibility (even given the world of the film), their respect for physics, or remember where you’ve seen those action sequences before.

I think if we had something like this the film might score a bit higher than 29% on Rotten Tomatoes.

By the way, Wonder Woman was in it, and she was really cool.

Published by James Rovira

Dr. James Rovira is higher education professional with twenty years experience in the field in teaching, administration, and advising roles. He is also an interdisciplinary scholar and writer whose works include fiction, poetry, and scholarship exploring the intersections of literature and philosophy, literature and psychology, literary theory, and music and literature.. His books include Women in Rock, Women in Romanticism (Routledge, 2023); David Bowie and Romanticism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022); Writing for College and Beyond (a first-year composition textbook (Lulu 2019)); Reading as Democracy in Crisis: Interpretation, Theory, History (Lexington Books 2019); Rock and Romanticism: Blake, Wordsworth, and Rock from Dylan to U2 (Lexington Books, 2018); Rock and Romanticism: Post-Punk, Goth, and Metal as Dark Romanticisms (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018); and Blake and Kierkegaard: Creation and Anxiety (Continuum/Bloomsbury, 2010). See his website at for details.

7 thoughts on “Recommendation for a New Movie Rating…

  1. MA-12 for mental-age twelve year olds – that’s a great idea and has the potential to inspire many more classifications. The one I want to see is RM, meaning “Only for those who haven’t seen the original movie, which was a lot better.” RM for “remake,” of course.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep, I thought of that, and it’s a problem. I think video games use a similar abbreviation too. I couldn’t think of a viable alternative right away. Intellectual age? Stupidity factor?

        Or maybe we could list it as a percentage of brain function? “You want to be operating at about 56% when you see this one.”


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