When you watch a movie like Marvel's The Avengers, the last thing that enters your mind is its PG-13 rating. You never question it. There are some big, explosive movies that sort of straddle the line between PG-13 and R, but The Avengers never felt like one of those films, partly because Joss Whedon's action-packed writing is infused with so many great bits of humor. You're never taken aback by all the alien carnage because you're still chucking at the thought of Hulk tossing Loki around like a ragdoll.
Behind the scenes it was a different story, though, as Marvel's Kevin Feige recently revealed to us that The Avengers actually came a lot closer than you'd ever think to being slapped with an R rating. During a conversation about Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which had no trouble obtaining its PG-13 rating according to Feige, the Avengers issues came up.
"When we submitted The Avengers, the first couple cuts of it came back from the MPAA rated R. That happened twice," he told us. "So we went back and had to make adjustments." When we asked Feige to explain what it was about The Avengers that earned it those ratings issues, he immediately singled out Agent Coulson's big spoilerish scene. "Well, whenever you impale somebody from their back and the blade comes out their chest, there are issues," Feige said with a chuckle.
This is how the scene played itself out in the movie. You'll notice we hear the weapon go into Coulson, but we never really see him get impaled. Based on what Feige told us, it would appear an earlier cut was a tad more gruesome.
Much of what follows this scene is now playing itself out in a storyline on ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. When we asked Feige whether Clark Gregg's Agent Coulson will return to the big screen for the Avengers sequel Age of Ultron, he wasn't about to give that up yet. "That is a good question that I probably shouldn't answer for any number of reasons."
Stay tuned for lots more from our chat with Kevin Feige as we inch closer to the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4.
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