'Venom' reviews compare Tom Hardy's supervillain movie to Razzie-winning' Catwoman'

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Venom (Credit: Sony Pictures)

Following some mixed reports from critics on the Venom movie over social media yesterday, the reviews are now in.

And they’re pretty much as bad as we thought they’d be. The film’s Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating currently stands at a rotten 27% from 30 published reviews so far.

That said, some people loved it. Sort of. Let’s say there are plenty of people who are pretty confused about the whole business.

Whatever the case, it appears that Tom Hardy’s performance as Eddie Brock, the intrepid reporter who is joined in his own body by an Alien symbiote called Venom, is both the most likeable and the most divisive part of Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer’s film.

In fact, one notice, from Forbes, points out that he appears to be gunning for both an Oscar and a Razzie simultaneously, in a ‘gleefully stupid mix of Catwoman and The Mask’.

This is one of the better reviews, however.

The Hollywood Reporter has called it ‘thoroughly irredeemable’.

“A significant problem in a film full of them is that Eddie comes off as a dope, an eager dufus hardly convincing as a boundary-pushing journo or someone who can out-think a titan of technology,” wrote its critic Todd McCarthy.

In a punishing one-star review, The Daily Telegraph’s Robbie Collin wrote: “Sony Pictures appear to have lavished a nine-figure sum on, and are now hoping to establish an entire cinematic universe on the back of, a character who looks like someone drizzled with Creme Egg filling onto a bin bag.”

He adds that ‘things are made more confusing still by a deeply eccentric central performance from Tom Hardy as Venom’s human host, the investigative journalist Eddie Brock, whom the Mad Max and Dunkirk star plays in a well-meaning but hapless style that suggests Norman Wisdom in the lead role of The Fly’.

(Credit: Sony Pictures)

The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw concurs, with another one-star, concluding that ‘Venom is riddled with the poison of dullness’.

“It never rises above bombastic and busy – which is something I never thought I’d say about a movie starring three aces like Hardy, Ahmed, and Williams,” wrote Chris Nashawaty in Entertainment Weekly.

“It’s noncommittally mediocre and, as a result, forgettable. It just sort of sits there, beating you numb, unsure of whether it wants to be a comic-book movie or put the whole idea of comic-book movies in its crosshairs.”

Some are a bit more conflicted, however.

Venom is not a good movie,” writes Mike Ryan on Uproxx. “But I also want to make it clear that I had the time of my life watching it.

“I think in a couple of years Venom could be the type of movie that sells out midnight showings as people come up to the screen and act out their favorite parts – like a Rocky Horror Picture Show type of thing. My point is, if you’re in the right group and right frame of mind, Venom is really fun to watch.”

Mashable’s Angie Han is still confused too, calling it ‘a movie that initially seemed just-plain-bad becomes so-bad-it’s-good. Or maybe it’s just plain good. It’s been a full day since I’ve seen it, and honestly, I’m still not sure. Either way, I laughed a lot’.

UK film magazine Total Film was a bit kinder. Critic Jamie Graham awarded it 3/5 stars, calling it “a decent buddy actioner”.

Empire magazine’s Ian Freer found less to enjoy though, calling it “a mediocre origin story” in his 2/5 review.

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