Parental Guidance

Venom Isn't Rated R, but It's Got Decapitations and Destruction

Sony's take on the Marvel antihero is bloodless but violent, and it may frighten young viewers.

by | October 5, 2018 | Comments

The decidedly Spider-Man-adjacent Venom looks likely to rule the weekend, as the highly anticipated Marvel antihero makes his way to the big screen for the first time since Tobey Maguire went jazz goth in 2007’s Spider-Man 3. And while Eddie Brock and his alien symbiote frenemy are indeed ripped from the comics, this is another would-be superhero who’s not exactly kid-friendly, even if the film isn’t rated R like many hoped it would be. With that in mind, Christy Lemire offers up a closer look at the film and its potential to frighten the youngest viewers.


Venom (2018) 29%

Rating: PG-13, for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for language.

Venom fans might have hoped – or at least expected – that a big-screen telling of the Marvel villain’s origins would come with an R rating. After all, he is a fearsome alien life force: a gooey symbiote who bonds with a hospitable host and uses it to wreak havoc. With his strength, speed and shape-shifting abilities, he causes particular trouble as a nemesis of Spider-Man. And he’s just plain terrifying to look at: a dark, hulking behemoth with menacing, white eyes and razor-sharp teeth.

But Venom, in theaters this weekend, ended up being PG-13. Granted, with its massive violence, it’s right there on the edge of what you can get away with and still earn that rating. But director Ruben Fleischer said it was always his intention to make his comic-book blockbuster accessible to the largest audience possible. In a recent interview with the website Polygon, Fleischer said: “We didn’t want to make a movie that excluded any fans… Venom fans actually are of all ages, and so we wanted to be inclusive to all the fans that were excited about the movie.” He added that we shouldn’t expect an R-rated director’s cut anytime in the future either. This is it: “I said throughout that I wanted to push the violence to the hilt.” That stands in contrast to the depiction of another Marvel antihero, the Deadpool movies, which wallow in their R rating in terms of violence, language, and raunchy humor.

Still, Venom isn’t exactly a movie for viewers of all ages, as Fleischer puts it. It’s graphic and intense, featuring a dizzying amount of carnage – but no bloodshed. Hence, the PG-13. One character is beheaded, while others get their heads eaten off entirely. The film features several punishing fight sequences as investigative reporter Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) finds that his limbs can stretch and transform into various sharp, shiny weapons once Venom takes over his body. His back throws off piercing spikes as if he were a giant, muscular porcupine. But Venom also features the usual kind of large-scale destruction you see in comic book extravaganzas: chase scenes resulting in car crashes, the fiery evisceration of a rocket ship, and countless rounds of gunfire from authorities struggling in vain to take down this powerful creature. There’s also quite a bit of language scattered throughout, including the one F-bomb allowed in a PG-13 movie. And we see a bit of kissing between Hardy and Michelle Williams as his ex-fiancée, as well as the suggestion that they’ve had sex.

I took my son to a critics screening of Venom and he wasn’t afraid of anything, but he’s also seen a lot more movies (including a lot more movies of this type) than the average 9-year-old. I’d say Venom is really more appropriate for viewers around 12 and older.

Tag Cloud

zombie psycho police drama TCA 2017 MSNBC PaleyFest RT21 Universal Awards CW Seed hist anthology Song of Ice and Fire President NYCC APB technology BBC Teen Rom-Com Pet Sematary SundanceTV romance The CW Bravo Thanksgiving WGN docudrama Masterpiece toy story IFC Films witnail FOX Captain marvel ratings period drama Amazon Prime Video teaser 2015 Dark Horse Comics Reality Comedy Central Disney Channel Ovation Shudder Ellie Kemper Acorn TV FXX Cartoon Network Photos political drama Tumblr See It Skip It BET dramedy Comedy award winner casting Country vampires Opinion ESPN Black Mirror Nominations Disney streaming service Super Bowl Fantasy A&E Pirates Calendar Sundance Now GoT TV Land Freeform richard e. Grant Winter TV YA CMT Quiz TNT USA Network animated Lucasfilm binge Election New York Comic Con 2018 Superheroes Rock CBS Cosplay Mary Tyler Moore 21st Century Fox aliens zombies Marathons finale Animation Crackle children's TV Heroines Rocketman Pride Month social media Epix Food Network YouTube Premium golden globes Mary poppins E3 GLAAD space ABC unscripted TruTV mutant 007 Spectrum Originals Syfy Shondaland war cats CBS All Access theme song Biopics Pop NBC Trophy Talk Oscars Trailer Drama Columbia Pictures supernatural USA zero dark thirty cooking The Witch Hulu mockumentary Emmys adaptation Set visit Marvel Stephen King Paramount WarnerMedia Elton John talk show Walt Disney Pictures OWN Rocky Best and Worst crime thriller Schedule LGBTQ Adult Swim Kids & Family crime thriller Fall TV HBO Max ABC Family Year in Review Emmy Nominations based on movie historical drama 2016 cinemax Writers Guild of America justice league Chilling Adventures of Sabrina LGBT Star Wars dragons PBS Christmas Britbox movies comiccon crime drama boxoffice Family Sundance psychological thriller Vudu nature Holidays serial killer Countdown National Geographic AMC FX Trivia Podcast quibi Tomatazos Video Games series travel Netflix DirecTV Star Trek Spike DC Universe comic TBS jamie lee curtis TLC Grammys TCA television Musical Horror GIFs Winners DC streaming service Anna Paquin sitcom DGA Awards Tour elevated horror spider-man Western disaster HBO festivals The Arrangement X-Men Film dc Infographic Musicals E! San Diego Comic-Con Apple Mindy Kaling ITV science fiction sports sequel cults Esquire Summer American Society of Cinematographers Amazon green book RT History First Look Ghostbusters SDCC adventure Starz politics Mudbound Polls and Games transformers Fox News composers Toys Extras Box Office 45 spy thriller Spring TV MTV Cannes Nickelodeon Sci-Fi Sneak Peek cops Comic Book Comics on TV harry potter kids VH1 Warner Bros. singing competition TV diversity doctor who Binge Guide facebook Logo game show Film Festival Music Action Reality Competition Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Premiere Dates strong female leads biography blaxploitation 2019 true crime MCU SXSW Sony Pictures DC Comics CNN IFC Disney Superheroe Showtime Martial Arts Red Carpet dceu miniseries Valentine's Day Certified Fresh tv talk natural history cars Character Guide VICE El Rey Paramount Network Tarantino Nat Geo History Mystery spinoff book Women's History Month Lifetime streaming Interview Watching Series YouTube Red revenge ghosts 2017 Lionsgate anime Mary Poppins Returns TCM crossover what to watch Brie Larson robots 20th Century Fox TIFF 24 frames Amazon Prime BBC America Creative Arts Emmys Chernobyl discovery Pixar medical drama