It seems like both critics and some diehard fans of Marvel went into Venom hating it on principle alone. From the fact that it does not involve Spider-Man whatsoever to the PG 13 rating (which isn’t a sticking point for me, honestly), everyone is tearing this movie to shreds. As a HUGE fan of Venom my whole life, this movie is a mixed bag. It absolutely nails Eddie Brock/Venom’s character (while drastically changing his origin), but he is in a movie that is more generic than really bad. Definitely not the disaster that has been made out to you.
When I heard Tom Hardy was cast as Eddie Brock, I thought that was perfect. He has the physique and acting chops that Topher Grace (ugh) didn’t have with the laughable Venom we had in Spider-Man 3. Tom’s performance is actually more comedic, but with a dark side, and leads to some good scenes of him adjusting to the symbiote. Hardy also does the voice of Venom, and it is really convincing with his look also being straight out of the comics. Great job by Weta Digital on bringing Venom to life. Everyone else in the cast does their best, but doesn’t elevate the average script like Tom does.
Ruben Fleischer directs, and he seems like he loves the character of Venom, but was really restricted by a script that feels like Sony Pictures Executives wrote it. He does his best injecting humor and camp like he did with Zombieland. I would almost compare the direction to a Sam Raimi type of style just without the great camerawork.
Ludwig Goransson did the score, fresh off of Black Panther, but the music was more in service of the action and pacing, rather than being really memorable like in Black Panther.
There are several easter eggs in the movie for fans of the 90s era Venom stories, but it really doesnt feel much like Lethal Protector or Planet of the Symbiotes like was promised before release. At least, not until the very end of the movie. Also, there is a fan service end credits scene as well as a scene from Into the Spider Verse at the end (which looks fantastic, by the way).
Overall, if you love Venom like I do, you’re going to see this movie regardless of aggregate sites, which are really not a good tool for criticism. I would be interested in a sequel starring Tom Hardy, but please get a new writer, and find a way to involve the larger Marvel Universe. I hope a Sony Pictures executive takes the feedback.
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