Mainstream movies these days tend to be profoundly unsexy. If there’s romance in today’s blockbusters, it tends to be chaste. They rarely even hold hands. So while no one batted an eye when Eternals, the next one up in the MCU, earned a typical PG-13, one of the explanations for that rating caused some heads to turn.
As pointed out by /Film, director Chloe Zhao’s follow-up to her Oscar-gobbling Best Picture winner Nomadland earned the rating for the following reasons: “fantasy violence and action, some language and brief sexuality.” The first two are de rigeuer for the MCU. The last one isn’t.
It’s not that there’s no love at all in the Marvel-verse. But when there is, it’s hinted at. Scarlet Witch and Vision never made out. In some movies, it’s inferred that Black Widow and Bruce Banner are hooking up, but they barely even shoot each other charged glances.
Remember: Whatever “sexuality” is on display in Eternals will be “brief.” There’s a love triangle afoot between Gemma Chan’s Sersi, Richard Madden’s Ikarus, and Kit Harrington’s Dane Whitman/Black Knight, but the most we may get could be some mild French kissing or some moderate petting.
For the record, there is a tiny bit of sex in the MCU. You just have to go far back to find it. Both Iron Man, the one that started it all, and 2008’s The Incredible Hulk scored their PG-13s for “brief suggestive content.” Sure enough, the first shows Tony Stark have a one-night stand with Leslie Bibb’s journalist (morning after only, of course), while the second has Edward Norton’s Bruce Banner about to get it on with Liv Tyler’s Betty Ross (cutting out before there’s even tongue, of course). But then, those were simpler times.