Venom: Let There Be Carnage parents guide

Venom: Let There Be Carnage Parent Guide

It's lazy, goofy, and just plain stupid at times but it's also a lot of dark fun for genre fans.

Overall C+

In Theaters: Eddie Brock, host to the killer alien symbiote Venom, is struggling to maintain a normal life as a journalist. But then he runs across a serial killer who becomes the host to another lethal symbiote.

Release date October 1, 2021

Violence C
Sexual Content A-
Profanity C-
Substance Use A-

Why is Venom: Let There Be Carnage rated PG-13? The MPAA rated Venom: Let There Be Carnage PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some strong language, disturbing material and suggestive references

Run Time: 90 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Still lying low after attracting major law enforcement attention in the previous film, Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) and his symbiotic alien, Venom, are having problems. Eddie wants to live a relatively normal life, continue his career in journalism, and live in a reasonably tidy apartment. Venom, on the other hand, wants to eat people’s brains, rampage around the city, and make as much of a mess as possible in the process. So far, Eddie has been able to keep Venom, if not happy, at least under control – until they meet Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson). Cletus is a deranged serial killer currently awaiting execution in San Quentin State Prison, and the only journalist he’s willing to talk to is Eddie. When Eddie reveals some of the murderer’s secrets, Cletus swears revenge by any means necessary, including biting Eddie during one of his last visits. But biting Eddie also means biting Venom, and when he swallows a little chunk of the alien, he grows his own symbiote: Carnage. Now free to bust out of jail and start eating heads, Carnage and Cletus set off on joint personal missions: Cletus wants to find his old love, Frances (Naomie Harris), and Carnage wants to eat Venom. So much for Eddie’s plans for a quiet life…

Superhero movies are, fundamentally, deeply silly. Let’s not act like the magic super-soldier goo, radioactive spider bites, or the literal ancient gods are somehow serious characters. Venom simply has the good sense to recognize that the genre tropes are insane and go with the flow. Thus freed from the conventions of what one might call sensible storytelling, Venom is like an open window in a stuffy, overcomplicated, self-obsessed room. It may smell weird outside, but at least it’s different.

Thankfully, Tom Hardy gives this movie more effort than it deserves, and that keep the sillier aspects from overrunning the picture. That said, it has its own problems. The pacing is wildly inconsistent and the plot is more than a little predictable. But none of that really matters, because none of that is why you’re here. You’re here to watch Tom Hardy have increasingly unhinged conversations with the alien riding shotgun in his body, who keeps heckling the other characters like some kind of carnivorous peanut gallery.

Which brings us to the content concerns. There’s no drinking, smoking, or sexual content, which is nice. There is, on the other hand, more profanity than you’d typically find in a Marvel movie, with 13 scatological curses and one f-bomb. Oh, right, and the protagonist sometimes eats people. Not as many as he munches through in the first film, but he still takes a few bites – and Carnage is far less discerning in his dietary habits. People are eaten, strangled, impaled, and thrown around at worrying velocities. This is not a film for small children, as the clueless viewer who brought an infant to my showing realized when they had to take the youngster out about 45 minutes into the show.

Despite its increasingly bizarre approach, Venom is far too much fun not to enjoy. Yes, it is in many ways lazy and goofy, and frankly, quite stupid at times. Yes, most heroes don’t snack down on their nemeses. No, neither Eddie nor Venom are good examples for children. And that is precisely why this movie is so worth watching. Besides, sometimes we all just want to bite someone’s head off – it’s just easier for Eddie.

Directed by Andy Serkis. Starring Tom Hardy, Woody Harrelson. Running time: 90 minutes. Theatrical release October 1, 2021. Updated

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Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Rating & Content Info

Why is Venom: Let There Be Carnage rated PG-13? Venom: Let There Be Carnage is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for intense sequences of violence and action, some strong language, disturbing material and suggestive references

Violence: People are devoured, beaten, stabbed, hanged, strangled, impaled, shot, and poisoned. A person is shown pushing their wheelchair bound grandmother down a staircase and throwing electronics in their mother’s bath during an animated flashback.
Sexual Content: Brief posterior nudity in a bathing context is seen in an animated scene.
Profanity: There are 13 scatological curses and one extreme profanity. There are infrequent mild curses and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: An adult is seen stubbing out a cigarette butt, and adults are briefly seen drinking socially in a bar.

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Other dark superhero films include Venom, The Dark Knight, Dark Phoenix, and The New Mutants. More anti-social and less gory fun can be found in Cruella. If you’re going to watch this, you may also want to watch Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3, as well as the more recent Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far from Home. Those last two will make more sense if you also watch Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame.