‘Venom’ Forms Symbiotic Relationship With (Mostly) Bad Reviews: ‘Loud and Stupid’

But Sony’s “Spider-Man” sorta-spinoff starring Tom Hardy embraced by some critics for its cast and camp value

Last Updated: October 2, 2018 @ 11:23 PM

The first reviews and reactions to Sony’s “Venom” are in, but unfortunately for fans of the symbiotic alien at the center of Sony’s “Spider-Man” sorta-spinoff, they’re mostly not great.

In his review, TheWrap’s Alonso Duralde calls “Venom” “the kind of comic-book movie that people who hate comic-book movies think that all comic-book movies are like.”

Variety’s Owen Gleiberman meanwhile calls it “a textbook case of a comic-book film that’s unexciting in its ho-hum competence, and even its visual-effects bravura.”

And writing for The Hollywood Reporter, Todd McCarthy deems “Venom” to be “thoroughly irredeemable.”

But it wasn’t all bad. Some critics embraced what they saw as an imperfect, but fun film with camp sensibilities. For instance, Jonathan Shieber of TechCrunch cited its “script that aims for humor and hijinks and (seemingly) embraces the camp within its source material.” And Molly Freeman of Screenrant called it “a fun and entertaining ride.”

And even The Telegraph’s Robbie Collins, who panned “Venom,” still deemed it “interestingly terrible” on Twitter.

Based the classic “Spider-Man” comics villain,  though not a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the film stars Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock, a journalist attempting to save his career by investigating a shady corporation. He instead bonds with an alien symbiote that gives superpowers to its host. Directed by Ruben Fleischer from a script credited to Jeff Pinkner, Scott Rosenberg and Kelly Marcelt, it co-stars Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Scott Haze and Reid Scott. It hits theaters Friday.

See reviews below.

Alonso Duralde, TheWrap: 

“Leaping from plot point to plot point without the hindrance of logic or characters, this big-screen return of the legendary Spider-Man nemesis — last seen in the franchise-hobbling “Spider-Man 3” — is aggressively loud and stupid without being much fun at all. It exists as a waste of time (although, one hopes, a sizable payday) for some very talented actors, and it’s proof that even Marvel doesn’t always get it right.”

Laura Prudom, IGN: 

“The best description of Venom as a movie is provided by a quote from the titular antihero itself: “An armless, legless, faceless thing… rolling down the street like a turd in the wind.”

Molly Freeman, Screenrant: 

“‘Venom’ is certainly a flawed superhero movie, but Tom Hardy’s performances as Eddie Brock and Venom make for a fun and entertaining ride.”

Jonathan Shieber, TechCrunch: 

“To be clear, ‘Venom’ doesn’t quite hit the meta-movie high notes that made ‘Deadpool’ a smash, but powered by the performances from Williams and Hardy (who seem to have chemistry) and a script that aims for humor and hijinks and (seemingly) embraces the camp within its source material, Sony should have a solid foundation on which to build a new superhero franchise.”

Owen Gleiberman, Variety: 

“Venom could have been a fun creation, but the film spends too long watching him… originate. The movie ‘Venom’ actually wants to be is the sequel.”

Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter: 

“The only startling moment in the thoroughly irredeemable Venom that makes you sit up and take notice comes at the 71-minute mark, when the sight of a disheveled, stubbly, sweaty and bloated Tom Hardy jolts you with the realization that here is the perfect actor to one day play Harvey Weinstein.”

Nick Schager, The Daily Beast: 

“An absurdly sloppy comic-book extravaganza about a noggin-chomping villain who becomes something of a hero, ‘Venom’ is like its title character: so unbelievably bad it’s almost good. Almost.”

Robbie collins, The Telegraph: 

“‘Venom’ can be quite a lively watch, both as a reminder of why Hollywood stopped making superhero films like this, and also for the occasional glimpse of the off-the-wall, star-driven freak-out that might have been: Hardy did say earlier this week in an eyebrow-raising interview that his favourite 40 minutes of footage did not make the final cut, which is easy to believe. But in terms of basic entertainment, let alone as the foundation of a franchise, it is miserably shaky stuff.’