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PG-13 rating for ‘Man of Steel’ teases a Superman who’s back in fighting shape

Movie Talk

PG-13 rating for ‘Man of Steel’ teases a Superman who’s back in fighting shape

Henry Cavill in 'Man of Steel' (Photo: Warner Brothers)

Fear not -- the upcoming adventures of the Last Son of Krypton are safe for the impressionable minds of teenagers. But things are going to get a little rough.

Not surprisingly, the MPAA has granted a PG-13 rating to "Man of Steel," arguably this summer's most anticipated superhero extravaganza and Warner Bros.' latest attempt to make their Superman franchise work for the 21st century.

Of course it got a PG-13 rating -- most comic book movies get a PG-13, especially when they're hot franchise-friendly properties with lucrative merchandising and Happy Meal deals. But it's the reason for the rating that's significant here, and how it sets the stage for this bold new vision of the Man of Tomorrow -- simply put, there's probably going to be a lot more fighting and flying and things blowing up in director Zack Snyder's Super-film than there was in Bryan Singer's somber "Superman Returns" (2006), as "Man of Steel" has been rated PG-13 for "for intense sequences of sci-fi violence, action and destruction, and for some language" (versus the PG-13 for "Returns" for simply "intense action violence").

So does this mean Superman is actually going to punch things in this one? (And might exclaim "S**t!" while doing so?)

It's pretty much a guarantee (at least for that first part). Sure, the film's two trailers make it seem like Terrence Malick made the movie with its haunting voiceover and close-ups of, uh, pencil erasers, but that's just to assure us that WB is going for the more grounded, character-driven approach taken by Christopher Nolan on his Batman movies (indeed, Nolan is a producer on "Man of Steel"). But more than that, Warner Bros. wants to go in the completely opposite direction of "Superman Returns" and give us a film that isn't tiptoeing around the Christopher Reeve museum -- one that features a hero who does a lot of leaping tall buildings in a single bound (and slams Michael Shannon's General Zod against brick walls and such).

There might even be giant robots to pummel with his mighty Super-fists, as some leaked toy designs have revealed. Which would be, of course, beyond awesome.

Michael Shannon recently revealed that his supervillain doesn't bellow "Kneel Before Zod!," the phrase made famous by his "Superman II" predecessor, Terrence Stamp. It might be because this Zod knows that his high-flying, two-fisted enemy would never in a million years consider doing such a, you know, wimpy thing.

"Man of Steel" punches its way into theaters on June 14.