Venom

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Venom Movie Poster Image
Violent, uninspired comic-book tale misses the mark.
  • PG-13
  • 2018
  • 112 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 34 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 64 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Pretty minimal: The bad guys believe that humans have ruined the world/environment and no longer have any right to live, and the good guys believe that everyone has a right to live.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Main character begins by betraying those closest to him. While he's Venom, he's involved in a great deal of violence, with (apparently) many casualties and no consequences. He likes the power that Venom gives him, despite the danger -- and despite Venom's penchant for killing.

Violence

Intense comic book/fantasy violence. Little blood. Slicing/stabbing with Venom-made blades. Lots of punching, hitting, fighting, etc. Venom throws his victims around and bites off a few heads. Guns and shooting. Some on-screen deaths, many offscreen deaths. Car chases/crashes. Exploding rocket ships. Thug threatens a woman at gunpoint. Vomiting. Venom is very scary to look at, with his vicious fangs, overall menacing appearance.

Sex

Frequent kissing. A couple falls into bed and is later shown sleeping together (sex is implied). They talk about getting married. Months later, the woman briefly kisses another man.

Language

Several uses of "s--t" and "bulls--t," one use of "f--k," one use of "p---y," plus "ass," "d--k," "hell," "turd," "goddamn."

Consumerism

Some offline merchandising, but less than with other similar properties.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Main character drinks whiskey in a bar and a beer from his fridge. Glasses of wine seen on table at dinner.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Venom is a violent, disappointing comic-book action movie starring Tom Hardy that's based on a villain from the Spider-Man universe, though Spidey isn't mentioned here. The violence, while mostly bloodless, is frequent and intense, with fighting, hitting, punching, and bashing, guns and shooting, stabbing and slicing, car chases, explosions, etc. Some characters die on-screen, and many die offscreen. Plus, there are jump scares, and Venom himself (itself?) is pretty scary to look at, with his giant fangs, and there's no real consequence for his brutality. Language includes several uses of "s--t" and "bulls--t," a use of "f--k," a use of "p---y," and more. A couple kiss frequently, and sex is suggested. The main character drinks whiskey in a bar and beer at home. Unfortunately, it's an uninspired mess, though perhaps some teens will enjoy the effects, sci-fi imagery, and Hardy's performance.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 11 year old Written byMarbelTwintler33 October 4, 2018

It’s not a bad movie!

I have an 9- year old son, and what I do with any movies like these is I go and watch them with my 11 year old son first. I have been a Marvel Comics fan since... Continue reading
Adult Written byStevie111 October 4, 2018

Entertaining comic book adaptation is intense and dark

Venom is a great comic adaptation. I really like what they did with the character and the story. I thought the film was done well. The special effects are prett... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byTony Stark 123 October 4, 2018

Nice movie but good for kids who ate 13+

Venom is quite violent with people eating heads off and throwing them around, beating people up...etc. People are used in experiments and MOST of them end up dy... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byMatureFungus October 3, 2018

Not as bad as rotten tomatoes score

At 32% fresh at the time of me writing this, Venom sounds like a complete fail. However, several of the ratings that seem to critizise the movie actually compli... Continue reading

What's the story?

In VENOM, a spaceship containing alien specimens crashes on Earth. One of the samples, a symbiote, gets away, while the others are taken to San Francisco for testing by the Life Foundation and its wealthy CEO, Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed). Meanwhile, investigative reporter Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) discovers damaging information about Drake on a computer belonging to his lawyer girlfriend, Anne (Michelle Williams), and tries to use it during an interview with Drake. The choice costs him his job -- and his relationship. Later, Drake's assistant (Jenny Slate) starts to feel guilty about what's going on at Life Foundation and sneaks Eddie onto the premises. There, he becomes the host for another symbiote and turns into the powerful Venom. But Drake wants the creature back and will stop at nothing to get it.

Is it any good?

It moves quickly and is fairly good-natured, but otherwise this flatly written, uninspired comic-book action movie feels more like a paycheck-driven business decision than an artistic inspiration. (Sony no longer holds the rights to the Spider-Man character, in whose universe the Venom character originated, so Venom could have been an attempt to cling to some kind of money-generating superhero franchise.) The movie boasts some interesting creature visual effects, but Hardy is the only actor who seems to be trying. And he feels miscast as a character who's part intrepid reporter and part comical buffoon; he has trouble with the jokes' timing.

The other characters are badly underwritten, especially Williams' Anne and Ahmed's soft-spoken, psychotic villain, Drake; they never feel like more than just plot placeholders. As for Venom, while he's a full-fledged villain in the comics (and, when last seen on-screen in Spider-Man 3), this movie takes several highly implausible logic turns to make him into a hero -- and to justify Eddie wanting to leave the intruder inside his body. The story is softened into a cheerful, good-guy romp rather than taking the character to its natural extremes and making it a flat-out scary monster movie. Instead, it feels like a bungled attempt to make a movie that's widely appealing -- as this Venom will appeal to very few.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Venom's violence. How does the lack of blood affect its intensity? What are the consequences of violence in the movie?

  • How does this version of Venom differ from the character shown in the comic books or in the movie Spider-Man 3? Did you like this one better? Worse? Why?

  • Would you allow something else to take over your body in exchange for superpowers? Why or why not?

  • The villains argue that humans have destroyed the world's environment and that punishment is the only answer. What other solutions could there be?

Movie details

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