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

Disney+ Disney Plus Comics on TV E! award winner Classic Film Summer Black History Month indiana jones movies Baby Yoda Fall TV sequel Action Superheroe Turner Rocketman The Walt Disney Company worst blaxploitation DC Universe Country LGBTQ werewolf WGN king kong comedies TV movies slashers Rom-Com Tarantino Teen Fantasy stoner a nightmare on elm street reviews ABC toy story hidden camera Pacific Islander pirates of the caribbean CBS All Access CBS rotten biography natural history Anna Paquin adaptation PlayStation unscripted rotten movies we love 2019 documentaries Heroines children's TV hispanic directors zombies police drama docudrama aliens Netflix Christmas movies saw Nat Geo CMT Election MCU Fox Searchlight theme song Valentine's Day Endgame 007 Arrowverse Amazon Prime Video dceu Thanksgiving lord of the rings disaster zero dark thirty fresh Exclusive Video dc Paramount Network Bravo Hear Us Out book robots crime thriller Mudbound Columbia Pictures Reality Competition Schedule Emmy Nominations Shudder Cosplay breaking bad FX Biopics 2020 4/20 serial killer festivals AMC cooking YouTube Academy Awards batman Premiere Dates french Year in Review Binge Guide Pop Oscars sitcom indie blockbuster tv talk BET spanish language Chilling Adventures of Sabrina composers Esquire streaming movies NYCC OneApp Stephen King Alien richard e. Grant Video Games A24 supernatural rt archives 2015 Character Guide OWN Emmys Women's History Month criterion TV parents cults HBO Max diversity twilight TCA Winter 2020 cancelled strong female leads Rock Turner Classic Movies Avengers Mary poppins Peacock Countdown politics Spike Paramount Plus Animation USA Broadway ITV Toys Pride Month Certified Fresh Star Trek TCA 2017 Polls and Games spain space Epix remakes kong SXSW Cannes spy thriller New York Comic Con anthology HBO Go boxing kaiju Superheroes anime Nominations Acorn TV TCM south america El Rey women reboot Crunchyroll The Witch emmy awards Netflix Nickelodeon psychological thriller Disney Channel Holidays Shondaland sequels concert Pixar festival Ellie Kemper Vudu Star Wars christmas movies Rocky asian-american Black Mirror jurassic park Comic Book Fox News CNN LGBT Calendar Awards book adaptation Sneak Peek deadpool scorecard all-time See It Skip It Musicals Crackle animated CW Seed mockumentary halloween tv VOD Lucasfilm docuseries Horror Apple free movies comics dramedy Food Network 72 Emmy Awards movie talk show rom-coms new star wars movies Apple TV Plus cars documentary renewed TV shows high school nfl critics 21st Century Fox The CW Kids & Family Trophy Talk Amazon social media Spectrum Originals kids Pop TV San Diego Comic-Con game of thrones classics cartoon Holiday monster movies Mary Poppins Returns spider-man YouTube Premium Travel Channel football Mary Tyler Moore Winners elevated horror cancelled television 45 sports Infographic target streaming GoT TV Land harry potter Television Critics Association Marvel television Music australia Extras Red Carpet 2018 venice worst movies Hulu jamie lee curtis Marvel Television Winter TV Masterpiece joker stop motion Writers Guild of America Syfy screenings crime drama Song of Ice and Fire Spring TV heist movie based on movie Warner Bros. blockbusters period drama DirecTV Grammys scene in color BBC chucky comiccon ratings medical drama Lifetime Christmas movies telelvision archives Amazon Studios laika Captain marvel Disney streaming service 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Discovery Channel Christmas video Adult Swim Sci-Fi YA fast and furious Showtime comic books PaleyFest Photos Quiz Hallmark Christmas movies boxoffice japanese razzies Super Bowl TCA Awards halloween thriller SundanceTV Trailer hollywood mutant marvel cinematic universe video on demand Watching Series transformers TLC Elton John franchise crossover Marvel Studios Hallmark Musical Trivia sag awards Western ABC Family Marathons doctor who psycho Pirates name the review dark romantic comedy true crime DC streaming service travel Creative Arts Emmys TNT Drama toronto finale Apple TV+ Sundance TV obituary child's play spinoff ghosts The Academy Interview Television Academy casting History historical drama FXX Reality stand-up comedy X-Men scary movies Film independent Walt Disney Pictures Martial Arts National Geographic First Look Cartoon Network Tumblr ID Sony Pictures IFC cops miniseries APB popular Freeform ABC Signature Chernobyl Sundance Now cancelled TV series VH1 Comedy 71st Emmy Awards 2016 Dark Horse Comics versus mission: impossible TruTV cancelled TV shows BBC One Paramount MSNBC black BET Awards prank HBO james bond series Comedy Central Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt MTV teaser Brie Larson quibi 99% Family YouTube Red films witnail President Set visit zombie Pet Sematary USA Network A&E Sundance Legendary Box Office DC Comics PBS Ovation justice league 20th Century Fox GIFs trailers Britbox Tomatazos italian dogs die hard GLAAD The Arrangement Starz The Walking Dead international game show NBC new zealand VICE Amazon Prime vampires ViacomCBS American Society of Cinematographers Funimation political drama golden globes TBS crime superhero comic godzilla satire Awards Tour TV One 2017 science fiction Lionsgate Ghostbusters hist Mystery revenge discovery green book BBC America nbcuniversal 2021 Best and Worst new york nature technology news Opinion romance 93rd Oscars TV renewals what to watch spanish TCA Tubi Film Festival cats RT History Logo Disney singing competition SDCC adventure Podcast aapi WarnerMedia foreign Image Comics universal monsters Disney Plus FOX latino TIFF Lifetime IFC Films binge canceled TV shows golden globe awards DGA superman RT21 know your critic best E3 24 frames Universal ESPN live action cinemax war The Purge FX on Hulu screen actors guild canceled Mindy Kaling facebook dragons First Reviews BAFTA