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) 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

Country Anna Paquin canceled TV shows FX on Hulu Warner Bros. Acorn TV supernatural festival Winners Tumblr ABC TIFF werewolf cartoon A24 Paramount Set visit Food Network cancelled TV shows free movies Animation comic books Summer National Geographic BBC America political drama San Diego Comic-Con Photos PlayStation japanese reviews DGA blaxploitation Kids & Family robots Apple TV+ Shondaland chucky LGBT Western Turner Classic Movies justice league reboot Marvel Television ratings sequels stop motion blockbuster Sundance TV Valentine's Day halloween Mary Poppins Returns medical drama comic Amazon Studios Captain marvel worst movies Biopics Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt toronto PaleyFest politics Adult Swim Musicals BBC documentaries Dark Horse Comics jamie lee curtis Disney streaming service Arrowverse GoT italian Emmys Cartoon Network OWN Mary poppins Best and Worst Freeform AMC slashers critics Comics on TV anthology Oscars spider-man American Society of Cinematographers 20th Century Fox comiccon CW Seed TCA Winter 2020 universal monsters Ovation scorecard Winter TV Comic Book crime thriller Sundance El Rey mockumentary Rock Shudder theme song 2017 Trophy Talk Awards The Witch Cannes Rocky Family french movies Pop joker HBO Max Starz CNN Netflix GLAAD screen actors guild Super Bowl sag awards Walt Disney Pictures Film Trailer Amazon nfl superhero Academy Awards Black History Month VH1 Comedy indie SXSW Awards Tour Classic Film Mindy Kaling zombies Disney Channel ID IFC Hulu vampires Pirates Bravo 4/20 Reality Song of Ice and Fire Spring TV Netflix Christmas movies Certified Fresh crossover Heroines Holiday Red Carpet Pop TV dramedy series witnail Rom-Com football satire Reality Competition game of thrones Watching Series mission: impossible finale miniseries Cosplay Disney Plus Syfy YouTube Premium Emmy Nominations Fall TV comics Esquire black Sci-Fi Vudu adventure aliens SundanceTV First Look 72 Emmy Awards Pride Month Television Academy Extras RT History Travel Channel Television Critics Association transformers asian-american Tubi DC Comics Sony Pictures FOX Podcast Quiz Nominations dark space ABC Family singing competition independent sitcom YA remakes Funimation TLC laika Christmas Elton John 21st Century Fox stand-up comedy Lifetime Christmas movies Hallmark President OneApp 2016 TBS Apple Turner facebook christmas movies discovery dceu harry potter TCA a nightmare on elm street Star Wars cancelled BAFTA Amazon Prime Video Endgame hispanic social media Apple TV Plus die hard spy thriller latino period drama Logo docudrama cops Ghostbusters dragons The Purge dogs 71st Emmy Awards Interview venice halloween tv Crackle Fox Searchlight emmy awards MSNBC Amazon Prime HBO Go hollywood Martial Arts Lionsgate TCA Awards kids PBS Paramount Network versus VICE HBO name the review Pet Sematary See It Skip It romantic comedy Comedy Central unscripted Video Games television game show zombie Epix 24 frames BET Awards Tarantino ITV composers toy story Superheroes YouTube films New York Comic Con The Walking Dead Grammys mutant casting fast and furious archives Hallmark Christmas movies Discovery Channel Writers Guild of America The CW Binge Guide batman WGN stoner Creative Arts Emmys cancelled TV series Box Office TV Land canceled sports USA Network Polls and Games Superheroe anime Ellie Kemper ESPN DC streaming service strong female leads Music boxoffice Showtime war video worst Thanksgiving spanish Mudbound news Action Rocketman scary movies crime drama Lifetime Marvel Studios CBS All Access Toys MCU The Academy 45 parents Women's History Month BET Peacock obituary Horror CMT australia Trivia Marvel police drama FX Hear Us Out classics psycho Chernobyl binge Year in Review Calendar Spike indiana jones Fox News Holidays spain teaser Countdown Teen Fantasy serial killer Columbia Pictures Crunchyroll TV RT21 rotten Marathons historical drama TNT nbcuniversal twilight psychological thriller Black Mirror franchise Election Drama Character Guide children's TV breaking bad Premiere Dates documentary spinoff TruTV TV renewals sequel 2020 comedies WarnerMedia First Reviews cults Star Trek APB Mary Tyler Moore USA Mystery adaptation Nat Geo Tomatazos 2018 cooking CBS doctor who hist Britbox LGBTQ 007 south america golden globes A&E natural history rotten movies we love biography cats TCA 2017 animated Stephen King VOD streaming what to watch renewed TV shows best thriller based on movie Disney+ Disney Plus travel talk show BBC One tv talk E3 2019 cars richard e. Grant true crime Sneak Peek Nickelodeon Disney disaster Pixar Sundance Now Lucasfilm movie FXX Opinion DirecTV X-Men MTV NBC ghosts Universal cinemax Masterpiece romance TCM IFC Films SDCC criterion GIFs Schedule nature 2015 elevated horror The Arrangement Spectrum Originals foreign Brie Larson dc NYCC crime Baby Yoda quibi DC Universe diversity screenings Musical Film Festival Infographic Avengers technology festivals History directors cancelled television concert science fiction video on demand E! Chilling Adventures of Sabrina spanish language green book book award winner revenge zero dark thirty all-time child's play YouTube Red