Venom is likely to be the next in a long line of PG-13 superhero movies, but does that mean the traditionally violent character will be toned down for the big screen? Not necessarily. Ruben Fleischer, the director of Venom, is promising that the new film will come as close to the comics as it can get. The goal is to honor the comic history of Venom and create something as close to what fans are expecting as possible. Because it just wouldn't be Venom otherwise. According to Fleisher...
Our movie wants to honor the comics as close as we can tonally. In the comics, he bites people's heads off and eats brains. It would be weird to make a movie with Venom if he wasn't doing that. We tried to honor it as closely as possible. This is definitely a darker, more violent, more vicious Marvel character than I think anyone's ever seen before.
Early reports indicated that the Venom movie would follow in the footsteps of Deadpool and Logan and become an R-rated superhero movie. However, most recently it has been implied that the goal is still to be a PG-13 movie, albeit, one that pushes the limits of what's allowed by the rating in terms of violence. Reuben Fleisher's comments to Comicbook.com give us some indication of what specifically we might see that will run up against the limits of the rating. A scene of Venom biting off somebody's head and eating their brains certainly qualifies as dark, violent, and vicious, though how you portray that in a way that still feels dark and violent but also fits within a PG-13 rating is beyond me. We know how many F-words you can use in a PG-13 movie (one) but has anybody figured out how many brains you can consume before getting an R-rating? Venom looks to find out.
Ruben Fleischer's comments here feel like a bit of hyperbole to me. The bar for dark, violent, and vicious Marvel characters on the big screen is clearly Logan which was able to go to places that most comic book movies couldn't because it had the freedom of an R-rating. It's hard to see how Venom will be able to top Logan without that rating, though it may certainly be the most violent comic book movie with a PG-13 rating.
In the end, making Venom super violent may not be all that important. If the story is there, if Tom Hardy is a great Eddie Brock, if the action is compelling, then most fans will be happy. Venom is certainly a dark character and that's important, but it's only one element and as long as the movie feels right it may be able to get away without actually showing all the violence. We'll find out this October.