Venom: 2018’s Most Underrated Comic Book Movie

Nate Brigman

In case you missed it, Venom was the latest Marvel Comics character to be graced with a stand-alone origin movie, and I absolutely loved it. Venom is an alien symbiote (a creature that partners with another organism to each organism’s mutual benefit) that bonds to journalist Eddie Brock (played by Tom Hardy) after being brought to Earth, which of course leads to Eddie gaining extraordinary powers and looking terrifyingly awesome. Unfortunately, Venom’s critic reviews were hardly extraordinary, with virtually every movie reviewer stating that the movie was lacking in several departments, most of which I disagree with.

When Venom was announced, a great many people, myself included, were very excited for the symbiote to hit the screens. The majority of Venom’s comic book portrayals paint him as Spider-Man’s greatest supervillain, but the movie decided to base itself off of a comic series in which Venom turns anti-hero. An anti-hero is a hero that kills the bad guys instead of just beating ‘em up, and the most likely reason for Venom taking that route is that anti-heros sell. The Punisher has his own Netflix series, Deadpool is the highest-grossing R-rated movie ever, and Logan made $619 million worldwide; so it wasn’t a surprise that Venom’s creative team used the Lethal Protector anti-hero character arc as inspiration.

However hyped fans may have been, upon Venom’s October 5, 2018 release the film was bogged down with a 32% Rotten Tomatoes score (at the time of writing the score has sunk even lower to 29%) and extensively harsh criticisms from most conceivable major critics. Complaints included an incoherent plot, a lack of character development, wooden acting, and terrible action sequences, and I agree with none of them.

For only having about a $100 million production budget, Venom delivered an incredibly well-animated, darkly comedic movie with a great cast (such as Riz Ahmed as Carlton Drake and Michelle Williams as Anne Weying, along with Tom Hardy) and complex dynamic between Eddie and the literal voice inside his head, Venom, which Tom Hardy perfectly brings to life. I can also guarantee that I’m not the only person that thinks that, because at the time of writing Venom had the highest-grossing October opening week ever, and is the second-highest grossing October movie ever at about $856 million worldwide, second only to 2018’s Halloween. The general consensus of the public is that Venom is a good movie, regardless of what the critics say. A factor that helped towards the film’s widespread popularity is undoubtedly Venom’s PG-13 rating. It was initially speculated that Venom would receive an R-rating due to the violent tendencies that the symbiote displays in the comics, but Venom just barely managed to curb his ferocity enough to gain a more accessible rating.

In short, what I’m trying to say is that amid the sea of superhero films that came out in 2018 and are coming out this year, don’t overlook Venom. If superhero movies aren’t your cup of tea, try Venom out. It’s brand of dark comedy and downright creepy-looking main character might make you reevaluate your stance. Honestly, if you only take one thing away from this article, let it be this: Don’t always trust the critics. You could be missing out on a lot.