‘Venom’ Review Round-Up: ‘Unimaginative’ & ‘Hopelessly Juvenile’

Ruben Fleischer Venom Sony Tom Hardy Marvel Spider-Man Birds of Prey IMAX

The first full-reviews for Sony’s Venom have been published and much like the early reactions to the film, critics are overwhelmingly unimpressed with the titular anti-hero’s first standalone film.

Venom marks Sony’s second attempt at bringing the fan-favorite Spider-Man villain to the big screen in what the studio hopes will be the first installment of their own superhero universe. However, it would appear that Sony’s Universe of Marvel Characters is off to a bad start as reviews for Venom have found little to be enthused about. While some were entertained by the film and commended the dark humor, particularly the “buddy” scenes between Eddie Brock and Venom, others found the film to be a creative mess or ultimately forgettable.

You can check out some of the reviews below!

Heroic Hollywood‘s Shawn Madden”

“If you’re expecting Venom to be an average superhero film, you might be disappointed. It’s far from the basic Marvel film. It’s more of a weird and twisted buddy comedy and I know that might not sound like it works but it totally does. The best parts of Venom are his and Eddie’s odd relationship and watching it roughly grow. Once Eddie is taken over by the symbiote, the film becomes immensely entertaining and engaging.”

The Hollywood Reporter‘s Todd McCarthy:

“Venom feels like a throwback, a poor second cousin to the all-stars that have reliably dominated the box-office charts for most of this century. Partly, this is due to the fact that, as an origin story, this one seems rote and unimaginative. On top of that, the writing and filmmaking are blah in every respect; the movie looks like an imitator, a wannabe, not the real deal.”

Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman:

“‘Venom’ is a textbook case of a comic-book film that’s unexciting in its ho-hum competence, and even its visual-effects bravura. Make no mistake: The effects can be dazzling. The alien matter splattering itself around like random tentacled liquid, the way Venom cross-breeds Spider-Man’s skyscraper-hopping agility with the Hulk’s dynamo destructiveness — it’s all diverting eye candy. But to what end? This gateway into the Sony Universe of Marvel Characters (get ready: there are 90!) may not sputter as badly as Tom Cruise’s “The Mummy,” but it could turn out to be a similar case of a franchise kickoff that doesn’t fully attain franchise liftoff.”

The Wrap‘s Alonso Duralde:

“Hardy is always mesmerizing, even when the material is less so, but in “Venom” he’s finally found a project he can’t overcome by sheer talent. […] Williams gets stuck with a role that’s mostly The Girl, although she does occasionally get to step up (after accepting the Venom situation in record time), and Ahmed and Slate give what may be their first bad performances, respectively overplayed and tentative.”

IGN‘s Laura Prudom:

“Sadly, Venom suffers from the same lack of cohesion and rejects everything that might’ve turned it into a badass joyride in the vein of Deadpool or Guardians of the Galaxy. The result is a muddled hodgepodge that isn’t sure whether it wants to be comedic or take its troubled antihero way too seriously. (When your main character is threatening to eat someone’s pancreas as a tasty snack, you probably want to lean into the absurdity.)”

Entertainment Weekly‘s Chris Nashawaty:

“Visually, which is the only thing really going for it, Venom has a stylishly gloomy Nolan-does-Gotham vibe. But Venom, the character, never comes into focus until the last five minutes, when it finally, at long last, starts to get interesting. Until then, he’s just another bit of secondary Marvel IP who scowls and growls, and never shows us why he should be headlining his own movie.”

Den of Geek‘s Don Kaye:

“Sadly it’s first and foremost a tonal and creative failure, swinging wildly from would-be ominous sci-fi/horror to low comedy that verges on camp. The script (by three credited writers) plays out like a Marvel movie that might have been made in 1996, with no nuance, little character development, and a clunky, on-the-nose style of advancing its plot that seems hopelessly juvenile and antiquated in the era of fare like Captain America: Civil War and Black Panther.”

Indie Wire‘s Michael Nordine:

“‘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.”

Screen Rant‘s Molly Freeman:

Venom has clear intentions to be a buddy comedy set within a superhero universe and, for the most part, the relationship between Eddie and Venom is the most successful aspect of the film. The script – written by Jeff Pinkner, Scott Rosenberg and Kelly Marcel from a story by Pinker and Rosenberg – works to flesh out the dynamic between Eddie and Venom, but it often sacrifices actual development for a cheap joke (jokes that, admittedly, do get a laugh). For its part, the script for Venom recognizes the outright wild premise of the comic book character and leans into the weirdness enough to really have some fun (though some viewers may be left wanting even more weirdness).”

Are you still excited to see Venom or have the negative reactions dampened your enthusiasm? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Venom follows Eddie Brock as he attempts to revive his journalism career by investigating the Life Foundation only to come into with an alien symbiote that bonds with him, granting him powers and transforming him into the titular anti-hero.

Directed by Ruben Fleischer from a script by Jeff Pinkner & Scott Rosenberg and Kelly Marcel, Venom stars Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Scott Haze, Reid Scott, Jenny Slate, Ron Cephas Jones, and Woody Harrelson.

Venom will be released in theaters on October 5, 2018.

Sebastian Peris

Sebastian Peris

Canadian film buff, political junkie, comic book geek, and board game enthusiast.