Warning: This article contains spoilers for the Venom film.
Do you want to know a fundamental difference between Eddie Brock and Cletus Kasady when it comes to their respective symbiotes? Brock has more control over the Venom symbiote and the two can come to an accord more often than not. With Cletus Kasady and Carnage, though, well, the man is a deranged serial killer. Heck, we can just list off some of his accomplishments from comic lore: pushed his grandmother down the stairs, burned down his orphanage, pushed a girl in front of a moving bus, and tortured his mother’s dog.
With all that in mind, and combined with the fact that Kasady is, again, a serial killer and sociopath, one would think or even expect that the inclusion of Carnage in all his symbiote glory in Sony’s cinematic universe would result in an R-rating for when he’s introduced in a follow-up to Venom. And indeed, the mid-credits scene of Venom has Eddie Brock, who now has his job back, set to interview Woody Harrelson’s Cletus Kasady who, unlike Brock and Venom, has no real semblance of a soul, based on his prior actions.
And given how Venom itself pulled back from an R-rating and went for PG-13, this sounds like the opportunity to go R. Think about the change in tone and brutality between the PG-13 The Wolverine and the R-rated Logan, both of which James Mangold directed. However, those thinking that Carnage’s inclusion could lead to a rated-R Venom sequel should temper their expectations, according to Avi Arad in a recent interview with Collider:
“When you hear Carnage, the only thing you can think of is R. But, if you know his story, if you really know the comic, there’s no R here. He’s a tortured soul. It’s not about what he does, because we never have to show the knife going from here to there, and the blood is pouring. What you have to show is, what is the motivation? Was he born like that, or [is he] someone we should feel for, because if you succeeding in making a villain someone you can feel for, jackpot.”
Heh. Jackpot. She’s also getting a movie. Okay, getting back on track, it’s easy to understand what Arad said when mentioning that most people associate Carnage with an R-rating because of his history. However, it seems the goal here may be to make us see his motivation and show us the violence without actually showing the blades going in. After all, when the Joker cuts Gambol in The Dark Knight, we never actually see it happen, to name one example.
Indeed, the idea for a Venom follow-up seems to be making Carnage a villain that audiences can feel for or, heck, maybe even identify with, if it gives us an indication of his motivation. Still, the idea of a PG-13 Carnage could split audiences the same way some hoped for an R-rated Venom film. But what do you think? After Venom, can Carnage be done with PG-13 restrictions? It would certainly do well for its box office versus an R-rating, but let’s not kid ourselves into thinking that kids wouldn’t find a way to see the film. I hope I’m not the only person thinking of Deadpool at this moment.
Either way, let us know your thoughts. Should a Venom sequel with Carnage go with a hard R or can it work with a PG-13 rating? Let us know in the comments below.
Venom is now playing in theaters.