Critics have been quick this past week to criticize the new Sony film Venom. Reviewers have been gleeful about attacking the film with a sarcastic vigor that has made for some admittedly highly entertaining blurbs. One reviewer Rodriguez Perez from The Playlist wrote ““How Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, and Riz Ahmed read this piss-poor script and decided it would make a deserving movie is an oral history worth reading 10 years from now.” The film currently has a 30 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Just to put that into perspective, the nightmarish children’s film Minions (2015) has a 56 percent rating. This shows that critics clearly have absolutely no love for this film. However, while I usually like to take into account the reaction of critics when deciding whether or not to buy tickets to a movie, this time, I paid the majority of them no heed.
This past weekend, I decided to listen to one reviewer in particular, Nick Schager of the Daily Beast, who wrote on Tom Hardy’s performance in the film saying “Far more entertainingly off-the-wall is Hardy, who appears to be channeling Nicolas Cage in Ghost Rider via Jim Carrey in The Mask.” This, I’ll admit, enticed me. Nicholas Cage, perhaps ironically, is one of my favorite actors. I can guarantee that whenever you enter a theater showing a film that is starring Cage, you will leave entertained. Confused perhaps, disturbed perhaps, but always entertained. Sometimes, critics get so caught up in the mechanics of film – the mise-en-scene, the politics, the cinematography – that they forget the most important goal of a movie; to entertain. While the critics score on Rotten Tomato score was low for Venom, the audience score was an 89 percent. This large discrepancy demonstrates a common issue among film critiques. Films are not just made for critics, they are made for the general public. And while we should pay attention to what professional movie watchers think of films, and while we should hold the film industry to a high standard, we shouldn’t forget what film is all about.
Tom Hardy gave an insane performance in this movie. One scene involving a lobster tank stands out most vividly in my mind. I have no idea if Tom Hardy was doing a good job, but I can say that he was most definitely putting in work. Sony most assuredly got their money’s worth out of him. Yes, the script was horrible; no one had a backstory, Sony didn’t own the rights to the character of Spiderman so Venom’s character had no real agency, and there was once again a comic book love interest played by Michelle Williams who had no purpose outside of her status as a prize for the main character. Critics are right to take notice of these things. But they are wrong to ignore the fun of the film; the fight scenes made no sense, but they were exciting, there was a ridiculous, but amazing kiss between Venom and Hardy, and the special effects for the most part were amazing.
So the question remains; was Venom a good movie? Unclear. Was it a bad movie? Probably. Was it fun? Yes. And if you have nothing else to watch this weekend, it’s not a bad way to burn 10 dollars.
“Venom is not a good movie, but I also want to make it clear that I had the time of my life watching it.”
– Mike Ryan (UpRoxx)
Photo Credits: http://www.smosh.com/articles/funny-venom-reactions
Screenwriting/Producing and Creative Writing