Venom Movie Reviews Roundup: What Do The Critics Think?
Here's what the critics thought of the new Spider-Man spin-off, which hits theaters this week.
With the release of Venom finally upon us, the reviews are in. The movie is the first of Sony's planned Spider-Man spin-offs based on heroes and villains from Spidey's Marvel comic books. While a deal between Sony and Marvel allows the wallcrawler to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Sony still holds the big screen rights to Spider-Man and associated characters, so if Venom is a hit, we can expect plenty more movies in a new connected Spidey universe.
The film stars Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock, a reporter who is taken over by a dangerous alien symbiote, and the cast also features Riz Ahmed, Michelle Williams, and Woody Harrelson. It's directed by Ruben Fleischer, who previously helmed the hit horror comedy Zombieland. Venom's current Rotten Tomatoes score stands at 27%, while Metacritic has the movie at 33%, neither of which are exactly high. But as we've seen many times before--most notably with the DC universe--a poor critical response doesn't mean a commercial failure, and box office predictions for Venom are good. So let's take a look at the reviews...
GameSpot -- no score
"Venom has all the ingredients of a decent superhero movie--10 or 15 years ago. With spotty CGI, poorly drawn characters, tonal inconsistency including forced "edginess" and awkward humor, sidelined female characters, and even cringeworthy licensed musical cues, it feels like a relic from the distant, pre-Marvel Cinematic Universe past. That may in part be attributed to the fact that it's been in production in one form or another since at least 2008. But its problems go way past simply being "old school," and ultimately, Venom lacks the charm, clarity, and ambition superhero fans have come to expect." -- Michael Rougeau [Full review]
CNET -- no score
"It's no Infinity War, but Venom delivers flashes of Saturday night silliness when the unhinged human-alien two-hander are onscreen. Like Eddie Brock himself, the movie is fairly unexciting until the bad guy pops out." -- Richard Trenholm [Full review]
ScreenCrush -- 4/10
"This is epically, fantastically weird stuff. The only thing stopping this movie from becoming an immediate cult classic is that it takes nearly an hour for Tom Hardy to go full Venom. If they'd trimmed 15 minutes out of this thing, cut right to the chase, and just piled on the Hardy, Venom would be unmissable. Once Tom Hardy bonds with this alien "symbiote," and this goo begins to talk to him as a gravelly voice in his head (also performed by Hardy), Venom suddenly becomes hilarious." -- Matt Singer [Full review]
Digital Spy -- 2/5
"The tragedy of Venom is that there are not infrequent flashes of a better film beneath. Inconsistent characterisation aside (is the alien a ruthless killer or Eddie's ally?), the interplay between the symbiote and its host is sometimes incredibly funny, delivering some genuine laugh-out-loud moments. But the movie refuses to choose a tone and stick to it, flip-flopping instead from serious to silly throughout. Had Fleischer committed to the horror-comedy elements of his film, Venom might have been a solidly enjoyable superhero flick." -- Hugh Armitage [Full review]
Mashable -- no score
"The first act of Venom suggests we're in for one of the worst films of 2018. Not in a fun way, mind you, but in that dull, dispiriting way where the lack of effort starts to feel like disrespect. Then Venom gets his man and a movie that initially seemed just-plain-bad becomes so-bad-it's-good. Or maybe it's just plain good. It's been a full day since I've seen it, and honestly, I'm still not sure. Either way, I laughed a lot." -- Angie Han [Full review]
Indiewire -- B
"As much a body-horror thriller as it is a comic-book movie, Venom is also akin to a buddy comedy in which one of the buddies has to prevent the other from wantonly biting people's heads off. If that sounds ridiculous, it is--but Venom both knows it and leans into it, playing up the dark humor until it's pitch black. Not all of Eddie and Venom's exchanges land as intended, but those that do are genuinely funny; over time, their relationship even becomes endearing in its own way, which comes as such a pleasant surprise it's almost enough to recommend the movie on its own." -- Matthew Nordine [Full review]
The Guardian -- 1/5
"Can Tom Hardy play comedy--intentionally? The question remains worryingly unanswered in this clumsy, monolithic and fantastically boring superhero movie-slash-entertainment-franchise-iteration. The supposedly massive final showdown is so anticlimactic and pointless that it was only when it was followed by Hardy ruminatively sipping coffee on a stoop and chatting that I realised… that was it. That was the big finish." -- Peter Bradshaw [Full review]
The Hollywood Reporter -- no score
"The pervasive lack imagination of this film under the auspices of director Ruben Fleischer, in his first feature outing since the dreadful Gangster Squad in 2013, makes one appreciate the thought and care that Marvel has lavished not only on the likes of Black Panther and Captain America but even on more minor-league entries such as the amusing Ant-Man titles. Everything here seems by-the-book, without amusement or surprise, save for Stan Lee's more extensive-than-usual last-minute cameo." -- Todd McCarthy [Full review]
Collider -- C+
"Venom almost gets away with its nonsensical plot in the end thanks to that Eddie and Venom bromance, but then you're reminded of the major missed opportunity here--more than once, actually. Venom should have been a quality start to Sony's own Marvel franchise. This, however, is a film that doesn't earn it and the multiple reminders from the studio saying, "Hey, don't forget we want to make more of these," only makes it worse." -- Perri Nemiroff [Full review]