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.


THE MOVIE

Venom (2018) 30%

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

Toys political drama Mary Tyler Moore unscripted sports historical drama ITV what to watch Comic Book Fantasy CBS All Access Opinion Star Wars sitcom boxoffice CMT Esquire Video Games science fiction Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Universal festivals CW Seed Disney Channel 2017 Fall TV docudrama Trivia CBS serial killer See It Skip It diversity Britbox Reality Election romance OWN Music Thanksgiving cinemax Character Guide DC streaming service Pixar Nominations Grammys zombie Country dc ratings Sony Pictures New York Comic Con Comedy Central Mystery dramedy Apple MSNBC Western NBC DC Universe IFC Epix Set visit YA History Netflix GoT Infographic Acorn TV TV Rocky Winners FXX Super Bowl finale mutant 21st Century Fox VICE Spike Sundance Now Cartoon Network ABC vampires Comedy Star Trek ABC Family SDCC NYCC WGN SXSW Holidays GIFs robots crime thriller travel Musicals harry potter transformers Shondaland Food Network MTV Interview cops streaming Countdown Fox News psycho FX TruTV 24 frames Red Carpet TCA Oscars Drama YouTube Red DirecTV Valentine's Day Paramount Network FOX Nat Geo Reality Competition Writers Guild of America Musical Lucasfilm Sci-Fi TBS Comics on TV Year in Review TIFF jamie lee curtis Pop blaxploitation discovery AMC crime drama VH1 Spring TV Certified Fresh hist PBS Superheroe E3 CNN 007 cults National Geographic politics Biopics TNT The Arrangement Bravo Rom-Com Calendar Emmys dceu President Creative Arts Emmys talk show 20th Century Fox Hulu Teen 2015 Shudder Columbia Pictures X-Men San Diego Comic-Con BET Adult Swim biography Pirates Masterpiece Cosplay binge American Society of Cinematographers composers Action Premiere Dates Sundance Trailer First Look comiccon Mindy Kaling crime crossover golden globes war Nickelodeon thriller Awards USA Dark Horse Comics LGBTQ Syfy 45 The CW Starz Tumblr Ellie Kemper cooking Winter TV Christmas TCM Podcast 2016 Watching Series zombies Ovation Walt Disney Pictures Marathons Warner Bros. TCA 2017 A&E Sneak Peek Photos adventure Disney APB SundanceTV USA Network Polls and Games DC Comics Box Office YouTube Premium Best and Worst Schedule aliens Paramount Lifetime Freeform Tomatazos anime Ghostbusters Martial Arts cats doctor who TLC singing competition PaleyFest Showtime IFC Films Kids & Family GLAAD Lionsgate TV Land technology Horror medical drama police drama based on movie El Rey BBC Marvel Song of Ice and Fire justice league spy thriller HBO RT History Rock Summer supernatural BBC America Crackle Superheroes E! Amazon social media period drama ESPN Animation Extras Logo