It wasn’t all bad news though. Almost all write-ups cited Tom Hardy’s delightfully weird turn as investigative journalist-turned snarlying symbiote-powered antihero Eddie Brock as one of the film’s few positives. That said, these were quickly overshadowed by an inconsistent tone and frequent odd (and unintentionally humorous) moments. Clearly it seems like there are more than a few reasons why Venom hasn’t sat well with audiences. However, it’s hard not to think the root of its flaws could be boiled down to a single major issue that appears to be becoming more and more common with non-Marvel superhero stories: an obsession with preemptive world building.
Venom’s far from the first film to be guilty of this. Marvel has achieved lots in its impressive first decade and its success has given other rights-holders a serious case of FOMO when it comes to cashing-in on their assets. Probably the most notable culprit of this effect is rival company DC Studios who have tried and failed (and then tried and failed again and again) to find a short-cut to the type of character-rich expanded universe its main comics competitor has all-but perfected. Sony has also been guilty of coveting a quick-win. Remember Marc Webb’s short lived The Amazing Spider-Man double-punch and its even shorter-lived plans for a Sinister Six spin-off? If you do, you surely won’t remember them fondly. As these two examples have shown, when studios try to rush their shared universes to life at best they can be flawed misfires and at worst, downright confusing in their poorly thought out allusions. Either way, they’re cryptonite for both studios and audiences alike.
If there’s a lesson to be learned from their efforts its that there’s no reward in trying to run before you can walk. There’s no point raising your audiences' expectations with a Justice League film when only one of your heroes has had a properly thought out big-screen adventure. Marvel’s system worked so well because they gave their characters and storylines the breathing room needed to succeed and in turn, audiences willingly went along for the ride. Try and plan four or five movies ahead of yourself and you may encounter a case of too many cooks spoiling the symbiote. Patience is a virtue and while it may not be the hero comic book franchises want right now, it’s definitely the one they’re in dire need of.
Why do you think Venom got shabby reviews? Let me know in the comments section below!