‘Venom’ takes a bite out of the box office as critics and audiences clash.

By Justin Barnes
October 8, 2018

One aspect of "Venom" audiences really enjoyed was Tom Hardy's performance as Eddie Brock and Venom. Photo by Justin Barnes
One aspect of "Venom" audiences really enjoyed was Tom Hardy's performance as Eddie Brock and Venom. Photo by Justin Barnes

There have been several instances where movie critics and audiences disagree on films. Now, the latest Sony-produced Marvel movie has been added to growing list of movies that divide critics and audiences.

“Venom” has grown popular with audiences since it’s release. Photo by Justin Barnes


The Spider-Man villain turned anti-hero, Venom, is regarded by many to be one of Spider-Man’s greatest villains, as well as one of the best comic book villains. Venom has an IGN ranking him as #22 on their list of the top 100 comic villains of all time. The result of disgraced journalist Eddie Brock bonding with an alien symbiote that previously latched onto Spider-Man himself, Venom has been showcased in many comics, TV shows and video games over the years. There have also been many different iterations of the character with several other Marvel characters becoming hosts for the Venom symbiote.

Venom made his live-action film debut in Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man 3” with Topher Grace portraying Brock. However, many people were disappointed with Grace’s performance claiming that it was “a wasted opportunity and cheap scheme to get people excited for the sequel.”  Grace even admitted that he wasn’t sure why he was cast as Venom in the first place.

In March 2017, it was announced that Sony was making a Venom movie that would be the first of a shared universe comprised of other characters they had the rights for. Sony also hopes to have this film connect to the universe of Spider-Man: Homecoming. In addition, Sony revealed that Ruben Fleischer was assigned to direct the film and Tom Hardy was cast as Brock as well as the voice and motion capture for Venom.


Based on the comic series “Venom: Lethal Protector,” “Venom” follows Brock as he investigates the Life Foundation and it’s notorious CEO Carlton Drake, played by Riz Ahmed, after discovering that he’s been accused of conducting illegal experiments that result in people dying.

Having recently acquired alien symbiotes from one of his company’s deep space explorations, Drake believes that Earth is on the brink of ecological collapse and that merging man and symbiote together can allow humanity to survive on other worlds. Thus, he begins experimenting on San Francisco’s vagrants to make that goal a reality. However, these tests prove unsuccessful resulting in the deaths of all his test subjects and one of the symbiotes.

While investigating Drake’s laboratories with the help of Dr. Dora Skirth, played by Jenny Slate, Brock comes across the symbiote named Venom and it bonds with him granting him superhuman strength and immense power. With the Life Foundation hunting him down and a rage-fueled, bloodthirsty creature attached to him, Brock must learn to work with the symbiote and control the powers he finds scary, yet intoxicating, if they are to survive.

Critics vs. Audiences

Despite receiving negative critical feedback, “Venom” grossed over $80 million domestically on opening weekend. Photo by Justin Barnes

In the days leading up to “Venom’s” release on Friday, Oct. 5, it received negative reviews from critics with many criticizing its tone and pacing as well as earning a score of 32 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. However, audiences seemed to disagree as the film broke a box office record for best October opening weekend, pulling in a domestic total of $80.03 million and surpassing “A Star is Born” which opened on the same weekend and grossed $42.6 million domestically.

“Venom” has since made $205.2 million worldwide and has won audiences over earning an 89 percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes and a solid B+ from Cinemascore.

Venom fan Mack Mattson is very excited to see “Venom” and has been waiting for this movie ever since it was announced. While he isn’t a comic book fan, he’s been a fan of Venom for a while and was excited to hear that Venom would be starring in his own film.

However, Mattson is concerned that the film won’t live up to his expectations and be as bad as “Suicide Squad.” Despite that, he is very much looking forward to seeing the movie, Venom in action and Hardy’s performance.

“If he [Tom Hardy] can do a great job as Bane, then no doubt he will be better than Topher Grace,” Mattson said.

Cabrini junior Scott Tierney is also excited for Venom having been a fan of the antihero for years. He’s also confident that Hardy’s performance as Brock would be good due to his past performances. Despite hearing mixed reactions about the quality of the film, Tierney is still excited to see “Venom” hoping that it’ll lead to an introduction one of Venom’s greatest enemies in future sequels.

“While it may not be great, I hope it does well enough to get a sequel that may be better,” Tierney said. “I would love to see if it sets the stage for a Carnage spin-off.”

Despite reviews dwindling his excitement, Tierney is still psyched to see Venom in action as well as Hardy’s performance. However, he feels the movie would’ve been better if it had an R rating but has hopes that an R-rated cut will eventually be released.

One aspect of “Venom” audiences really enjoyed was Tom Hardy’s performance as Eddie Brock and Venom. Photo by Justin Barnes

Audience member Andre Chappelle has been a fan of Venom for a long time having watched the animated Spider-Man show in the past and enjoyed “Venom.” His favorite aspects of the film were Hardy’s performance, which he considered to be way better than Grace, and watching Venom biting heads off. However, he felt as though the movie was lacking in terms of WOW factor.

“It wasn’t big enough,” Chappelle said. “They got the way Venom moves, but it wasn’t explosive enough and there wasn’t enough of it.”

While Chappelle enjoyed the film, and wants to see it again, he would prefer to wait until it’s out of theaters.

Instagram user and Venom fan page creator @symbiotegang greatly enjoyed “Venom” having seen it three times and calling it one of his favorite films of 2018. His favorite aspects of the film include Hardy’s performance, the soundtrack and the relationship between Brock and Venom.

“He [Tom Hardy] gave way more heart to the character and did a terrific performance playing Eddie,” @symbiotegang said.

We are Venom

Despite negative reviews from critics and initial concerns about the movie as a whole, it seems that people were satisfied to see Venom on the big screen as well Hardy’s performance of the Jekyll and Hyde duo as audience scores and box office numbers show.

“It’s a fun movie that a lot of people will enjoy,” @symbiotegang said.


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Justin Barnes

Lifestyles Editor 2018-2019, Cabrini University Class of 2020, and avid pop culture fan.

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