Critics vs. fans

“Venom” garners mixed opinions

Critics vs. fans

Peyton Brush, Staff Writer

As I sat among friends on the opening weekend of the new superhero film “Venom,” I came to a realization fairly quickly. “Venom” is not a quality movie. In fact, it’s a bad movie.

I was aware of the conflicting opinions about the movie starring the new superhero film, directed by Ruben Fleischer and starring Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams and Riz Ahmed, before I even saw it. These opposing opinions were a big reason I decided to go and see it. The schism between critics and fans was interesting, to say the least. This is not the first time in superhero films this has happened. The DCEU (DC comics expanded universe) was a prime example of the conflict between fans and critics. Fans were unhappy with how superhero movies like “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” “Suicide Squad” and “Justice League” had poor reviews and the fans felt that Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator website, was attempting to sabotage the films despite the fact that Warner Brothers, the production company that creates the movies, owns 30% of Rotten Tomatoes.

Despite the controversy, I still wanted to give the film a fair viewing and didn’t read any of the reviews so my opinion wouldn’t be swayed. I really had a hard time enjoying it. I went into the movie with the intention of liking it; I tend to like Spiderman and his whole gallery of villains. I enjoy Tom Hardy as an actor and believe he is really talented. However, despite his best efforts, Hardy alone couldn’t save the film. The movie is poorly written. The CGI (computer generated imagery) is not great. The character interactions feel forced. The action is too chaotic. The movie, in the end, is just a poorly put-together film.

The writing for the movie feels out of place and forced. A bad script can often be fixed if the actor delivering it is talented; however, that didn’t happen this time around. The dialogue is clunky and things happen with no apparent rhyme or reason. Arguably the most important aspect of the plot was the relationship between Hardy’s character, Eddie Brock, and Venom, the titular character. Venom is an alien and he and other aliens of the same race find themselves falling to Earth, where they are captured by a massive company called the Life Foundation.  Eddie Brock is a down on his luck reporter who lost his job trying to investigate the Life Foundation’s shady activities, which includes human experimentation and murder. Brock sneaks into a facility, where he is exposed to Venom. Venom begins to speak to Brock and begins to slowly drive Brock crazy. Eventually, Venom bonds with Brock and attaches himself to him, causing them to become a huge CGI mess. The combination of the two is a large, black creature, looking like Spiderman if he was a monster. The combined Venom doesn’t feel like it has a lot of weight, and the character looks and sounds like an early 2000 superhero film.

Eddie and Brock operate as if it was buddy cop movie. I think that a better idea would be if instead of Venom wanting to stay with Brock and Brock wanting nothing to do with Venom, the roles were switched. Eddie Brock is a loser, who, after getting a taste of power through combing with Venom, wants to keep him so he could feel empowered. Venom would not care about Brock, but eventually he’d come to respect Brock. It would have created an interesting dynamic between the characters and would have audiences engaged in the plot. People love an underdog story. Brock is a loser, who gains some power and feels he cannot survive without it. Venom growing from hating Brock to accepting him would create some emotion. It’s not much, but it would work better than Venom, an alien who kills without thought, liking Brock and wanting to be his friend. Brock, a loser who lost his girlfriend and his job for his morales, doesn’t want to be around Venom in the slightest. This is realistic yes, but it would be far more interesting seeing a more desperate Brock, so desperate for a good feeling, using Venom almost like a drug. He could even throw Venom away and be clean for awhile. However, the idea they went with was a lot more safe. Making movies is a risky game, so they did a generic save the world type deal, which is what fans and general audiences do in the end, want to see.

The worst part of the movie, by far, was the action. Great action movies know how to film action and what kind of pace it should have. An action movie can be fast paced and quick, while still maintaining visual clarity to show the audience what’s happening. Some movies that do this well include “The Matrix,” “John Wick” and “Kill Bill.” Good action can also be based off of spectacle and amazing things happening, like “Terminator 2: Judgement Day.” Chaotic action can be good, when the audience is still able to know what is happening. “Venom” tries to do this, but the screen is too dark and the characters move too quickly. The audience doesn’t have time to register what is happening on the screen. The use of jump cuts make it even more difficult, as before anyone can register anything, it’s already onto another shot where the viewer has no clue what’s going on.

Despite its massive flaws, the movie does have some good qualities. Again, Tom Hardy is a good actor and his performance was not terrible. He was able to convey emotion really well through his features and expression. Then again, he can’t use his full range due to the script. I also thought the Stan Lee cameo at the end was a fun little appearance. I thought there were a couple of good lines sprinkled throughout, but I’m grasping at straws at this point.

In the end, the film’s quality is on the lower side. It is riddled with problems, moves at too quick a pace and is really badly written. As I’ve said before, I was interested in seeing it because of the controversy and wanted to form my own opinion. I think my opinion falls more in line with the critical side of it, rather than the fan side. This is coming from a person who enjoyed Spiderman’s stories since I was a little kid. After I saw it, immediately I knew that I must see how much it’s made in the box office. Much to my surprise, the poor reviews don’t appear to have impacted the film’s success. As of Oct. 16, the film has grossed $380.2 million from a budget from around $100 million, or $116 million. The film had a very strong debut of $60 million, very strong opening.

It appears that people will either blindly like it for being a superhero movie, like it because they like the franchise, or like it because they do genuinely like it, which is fine. People do have different tastes and everyone is entitled from to their own opinion. Opinions aside, the movie “Venom” is a fundamentally broken film with few redeemable qualities.