Is Eternals The First Marvel Studios Movie To Receive A PG-13 Rating For ... SEX?!

Look away now and preserve your innocence, puritans! Everyone else, kindly settle in for an incoming rant. 

Forgive me for painting with such a broad brush, but I'd go so far as to say that blockbuster filmmaking has rarely felt more cold, sexless, and emotionally distant as it does now. I won't try to dissect all the social or political reasons for why this might be the case, but nowhere is this trend more apparent than in the most popular and consistently profitable ongoing franchise: the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

When it's so difficult to imagine Marvel's idealized heroes desiring anything more than a chaste kiss with their love interest every now and then (the heroes who actually have one, that is), it's certain to raise eyebrows that the otherwise tame-sounding MPAA rating description for Marvel's upcoming "Eternals" also includes the phrase, "brief sexuality."

We are, as you can imagine, completely scandalized by this development.

Marvel Horniness: An Investigation

Brief sexuality? In my Marvel movies?

That appears to be the case with "Eternals," the next installment in a franchise that — with very few exceptions — has become almost completely devoid of romance, love, or desire altogether. With thanks to ComingSoon for alerting us to the Film Ratings post for "Eternals," we now know that the superhero movie has been rated PG-13 for "fantasy violence and action, some language and brief sexuality." The film is already noteworthy because some trailer footage that's been released has revealed a simmering love triangle between Gemma Chan's Sersi, Richard Madden's Ikarus, and Kit Harrington's Dane Whitman/Black Knight. 

Between director Chloé Zhao apparently blowing minds by filming on location and now her intention of including romances that apparently result in (gasp) brief sexuality, "Eternals" appears to be shaping up as one of the MCU's most visually distinct and emotionally mature films yet.

Before anyone comes in and tries to claim that we're asking for superhero movies to be wall-to-wall orgies or shameful trysts that would be more fitting in soap operas (that's what Amazon's "The Boys" and the CW shows are for), this is more of a simple plea to depict the whole spectrum of human behavior that makes us, well, human! Stubbornly standing on the edges of ostensibly flesh-and-blood characters while continuing to push the envelope on violence feels like an oddly misguided sense of priorities, doesn't it?

Won't Somebody Please Think of Character Development?!

Look back through the history of the MCU and a distinct trend becomes clear. The MPAA ratings for 2008's "Iron Man" and "The Incredible Hulk" (both under Paramount's purview at the time rather than Disney's, notably) received similar disclaimers that included "brief suggestive content," stemming from the fact that the films actually depicted their main heroes enjoying themselves in bed with another person for a very brief moment. In both cases, the scenes were far from gratuitous and actually helped add depth to their personalities, flaws, and, in Bruce Banner's case with the constant monitoring of his heartrate, the sacrifices made as a result of having superpowers. 

Take that, "Sex scenes don't add anything to movies and shows" weirdos!

Ever since then, however, the MCU has been a dry, barren desert of "sci-fi action violence," "some language," and, daringly, "brief suggestive comments." Seriously, we checked! The rare instances of viewers latching onto a character or a charged moment between characters have often seemed like an exception to the rule, such as the internet going wild over Cate Blanchett's goth look in "Thor: Ragnarok" or the passionate shipping fandoms that have sprung up around Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes. "WandaVision," at the very least, had fun playing around with the early sitcom trope of double beds and thus added far more energy to Wanda and Vision's relationship than in all of their combined movie appearances.

In any case, rest assured that we'll be paying attention to "Eternals" and ready to document whether this rare glimpse into romance and sexuality irrevocably scars any of the kids that these movies are mostly aimed at. Something tells me it won't!

"Eternals" opens in theaters on November 5, 2021, "brief sexuality" and all.