While 2018’s Venom (Releasing Oct 4th) looks to be the first true-to-comics film adaptation of the fan-favorite antihero, a number of signs over the past few days have pointed to the project being quite lackluster in terms of quality.
The first major pointer to this was an interview with Eddie Brock / Venom actor Tom Hardy, who said, in an interview with ComicsExplained, that his favorite 40 minutes of scenes and action had been cut from the film.
When asked what scenes were his favorite, Hardy had this to say:
“Things that aren’t in this movie. There are, like, 30 to 40 minutes’ worth of scenes that aren’t in this movie … all of them. Mad puppeteering scenes, dark comedy scenes. You know what I mean? They just never made it in.”
And while fans might assume that these were the scenes cut when the film ‘switched’ from an R rating to PG-13, director Ruben Fleisher indicated in the same interview that this is not the case.
“We only ever talked about this movie as PG-13”, Fleisher said. “What I’ve said in the past is that we wanted to push the violence to a hilt. The Dark Knight was always a huge reference point for me, personally, just as far as how far you can take PG-13″.
For that to be an inspiring film is a bit ironic, as director Christopher Nolan reportedly cut large sections of that film, including scenes that many actors particularly enjoyed, because he worried the movie would not make a PG-13 rating with them included.
But this was just one of the multiple bad signs for Venom. The second came when Sony revealed the date for the review embargo: October 2nd, less than 48 hours prior to release. This meant that critics who got early screenings of the film wouldn’t be able to share those reviews until that date, the latest date possible for an embargo.
Typically, if a studio understands that a film is good, they’ll lift the embargo quickly to allow positive critical feedback to build hype for the film. On the other hand, if the film is bad the embargo will be extended, as the studio hopes many fans won’t have time to read the negative critical consensus before they step into the theater. In this case, it seems Venom falls into the second category.
And now that the embargo has lifted and the first reviews are beginning to float in, we have an official confirmation: The movie isn’t great. Many critics have said that the film is somewhat of a mixed bag, containing enough entertaining moments to make it watchable but not enough cohesive storytelling for anything particularly memorable.
The film currently holds a 28% on Rotten Tomatoes.
However, in the comments below most negative reviews, commenters seem to have decided that they wish to see the film anyway. Many state it directly: On the IGN video review, the movie was given a 4/10 rating, commenter Rob Picken writes: “Only person’s opinion I’m trusting is mine… If I like it in theaters that’s all that matters”.
As with many films that receive a poor critical review, there are a number of commenters who blame the reviewers for not being able to understand the film, but many do acknowledge the vast majority of negative reviews. However, even among those that do, most seem ready to see the film anyway.
At the moment, it is unclear as to how big of an effect these reviews will have on the film’s opening weekend if any. However, once the movie has opened, it may fall off rather quickly, similar to other superhero films with poor reception but decent openings (ex. Suicide Squad). The film’s actors and directors had previously stated their interest in Venom making it into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the future, but at the moment, the film’s dubious reviews make it unclear as to whether that wish will ever become a reality.