For a second there, it looked like Deadpool and Logan might be about to get a new buddy in the R-rated superhero club, as Sony’s standalone Venom movie was promising the potential for all sorts of “dudes get their faces eaten by an alien tongue monster” action. But alas, not even symbiotes can take on the power of the MPAA (or the effect of an R on box office receipts), and so the studio revealed today that Tom Hardy will instead be playing a PG-13-rated thirst-inducing slime monster—you know, for kids!
That’s not to knock PG-13 superhero flicks—the vast majority of Marvel’s celebrated output, plus stuff like The Dark Knight, have all proudly carried that in-betweener label—but it does seem like a guy who runs around threatening to eat people, and who sports roughly a million teeth with which to carry out those threats, might be able to get a little nastier for once. (Especially without any long-term crossovers on the horizon that might force him to later tone it down.)
Even more, this speaks to the strangeness of a Venom movie in the first place, which has always seemed like a compromise that Sony settled on after making the deal to hand Spider-Man (but not his associated characters) off to the MCU. As a character, Eddie Brock and his parasite pal have always skewed far more violent than acceptable hero behavior, falling into a vigilante role more like The Punisher (albeit with way more tentacles). The just-released rating presumably confirms, though, that, for all his bluster and Eminem rapping—itself perfectly suited to a PG-13 audience, now that we think about it—this is a lighter, softer take on the giant sexy space monster.