Venom disappoints despite promising strong box office sales

Allie Boulier

By Allie Boulier

When I walked into the movie theatre on Venom’s premiere weekend, surrounded by Marvel fans already clad in their Venom merch, I was not expecting to leave bored and disappointed. Critics on Rotten Tomatoes rated Venom a horrendous 31 percent, and as someone who sat through Venom for its entirety, I can confirm the critics got it right. But I seem to be in the minority, as audience members gave a whopping 88 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and it raked in almost $36 million on its first weekend.

From the getgo, Venom is slow-paced, even for an origin story film, delaying the inciting event (when Eddie first makes contact with Venom) for the first 45 minutes or so. I tapped my fingers on the armrest, likely annoying those around me, as I waited for something to actually happen.

Keep in mind, for me, Venom was a highly anticipated film. Since Spider-Man is my all-time favorite superhero, the origin story of his largest antagonist was something I have waited for since I was a child and watched Spider-Man (2002) where Tobey Maguire plays our beloved hero.

Also, rumors of a secret Tom Holland cameo were proven untrue as he did not make an appearance in Venom. Although I was essentially waiting the entire time to see him, this was a sigh of relief as a Sony movie featuring Tom Holland would be a power move with potential for major consequences, as Sony and Marvel jointly own Spider-Man as a character. I was simultaneously relieved and disappointed, but part of me wishes that Venom made some effort to acknowledge Spider-Man in at least a small way since Venom is his arch nemesis. Venom without Spider-Man is like a constant drum roll, and we’re all just waiting for the real action to begin.

Venom also reverted to the former style of Marvel movies, using basic, unoriginal humor as a crutch to give the audience a false sense of entertainment despite a mediocre film – which is why unlike critics, audience members on Rotten Tomatoes gave Venom such big support. Taken at face value, Venom is funny. A scary looking monster gets upset when the man he shares a body with calls him a parasite and complains about burnt tater tots. However, especially in the past few years, I have come to expect more from Marvel.

In all fairness, the wake left behind by Avengers: Infinity War has left big shoes to fill. This is primarily why I think fans are desperate to like Venom, as Marvel fans are starved for content until Avengers 4. The degree to which Marvel fans crave more content is obvious through its huge box office sales.

A particular scene that bothered me was when Eddie (played by Tom Hardy) was having a long internal conversation with Venom, which was common throughout the duration of the film. Eventually, I think the director realized a man talking to himself for a few minutes can generate interesting dialogue but lacks anything for the audience to look at. In a desperate attempt to provide a visual effect in some scenes, Venom partially removes himself to speak to Eddie, which as anyone who has seen Venom knows, is riddled with plot holes and looks weird.

Overall, Venom fell flat compared to recent Marvel movies, using cheap jokes as a leg up during a slow-paced film that still managed to have a rushed, sloppy ending.

Marvel and Sony, let’s leave the anti-hero trope and the jokes to Deadpool – Ryan Reynolds does it best.