The latest comic book film under fire with criticism and controversy before its release is Sony’s “Venom”.
The review embargo lifted Tuesday and as usual, all eyes were on Twitter as #Venom was filled with negative reviews. Let’s be honest here, we all had very low expectations for this movie considering that Sony was at the helm.
However, the excuses for this film being bad are not focused on the film whatsoever. Most of the reviews compare Tom Hardy’s performance to other actors and just throw away the rest of the review by saying “it’s more of the marvel formula”. It’s annoying to me that these critics NEVER focus on the film itself and discuss the good and the bad, they always compare to other films or other performances.
Exhibit A: Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
Why would you start off the review comparing a brilliant actor like Tom Hardy, who has had no sexual assault allegations made against him and has treated his colleagues with the utmost respect to Harvey Weinstein? Why would you assume that a film would even be made about this horrible human being, let alone imply that Hardy would even take that role? What does this piece have to do with his character Eddie Brock and Venom? I read the rest of the review and again it draws comparisons to the entire MCU, which has a different foundation entirely. People need to stop comparing comic book films to the MCU films, especially if they have a different tone or universe.
Exhibit B: Owen Gleiberman, Variety
Owen Gleiberman decided to use the first 3 paragraphs of his review expressing his distaste for Tom Hardy’s method acting, comparing Eddie Brock to his other performances, and AGAIN to other well known method actors.
Gleiberman compared him to 3 different actors for a role that is not supposed to be taken this seriously. Again, it’s a comic book movie and we all know that Tom Hardy can work magic with any kind of script. Why compare to other method actors and why degrade his work based on a FILM you didn’t happen to enjoy. Let’s not forget that Mr. Tom Hardy has been nominated for an Oscar, let alone be in many Best Picture nominees. Why not plug his next project “Fonzo” instead of dragging him and saying he’s the “eager grandson”. Why are you degrading his acting capabilities based on one film?
We all know Tom Hardy is a very versatile actor and he has given us so many great performances. Everyone is so quick to blame the actor because they’re the face of this whole collaboration but the writer and director are also ones to blame. I haven’t seen the film but I can already tell that Tom Hardy, along with Michelle Williams and Riz Ahmed kind of save the material with their acting abilities. Many actors have had that problematic film but at the same time you can’t drag them in this way.
I truly blame the Internet for the way film criticism has turned out. Everyone awaits the Rotten Tomatoes score and what Twitter has to say. Other than this randomized general consensus, I doubt any of you have at least one credible critic that you trust. There is no Roger Ebert giving in depth reviews and actually giving readers a balanced criticism. Critics today, either rip a film apart or praise every inch of it, there’s no in between anymore.
Audiences base their interest on a film on what social media says or the score on Rotten Tomatoes. If either one expresses their disgust for whatever film, they avoid it and the film suffers. Audiences are not getting fair reviews and it sometimes hurts the box office numbers. I guarantee Venom won’t have an issue racking up the numbers because it already broke pre-sale records for October, but it still puts a damper on the movie going experience. The Internet has ruined the way people discuss films because I’ve noticed it’s never a healthy discussion, especially online.
The most unsettling reason why the Internet has ruined Film Criticism is the “Fandom Mentality”.
Exhibit C: Fandom Wars on Social Media
As I personally scrolled through the #Venom tag I saw similar block of reviews that were tweeted by six different accounts, all saying that Venom is a horrible movie and that they would rather watch A Star is Born this upcoming weekend. This happened last year when people thought Harry Styles would attend the Oscars because he had a couple of lines in Dunkirk. I get that this is huge for Gaga, but her fans went a bit too far with this one. If you want to support your favourite person then go on and do so, there’s no reason to create this controversy… how much time do you have on your hands?
Also, these are two very different films that are going to draw two EXTREMELY different crowds, so why even compare. I know for a fact Venom has absolutely no Oscar buzz, so why treat it as such? This is also why I plan on documenting this upcoming Oscar season because every year there is so much madness on social media for absolutely no reason. If you love a movie, feel free to love that film but please do not bash everything else for the hell of it, it gets frustrating.
At the end of the day, I implore you all to find a critic that you trust because basing what you watch from a Rotten Tomatoes score or privileged writers on social media are not the ones who are credible. Most of the time those who have a blue checkmark don’t know what they’re talking about.
Venom and A Star is Born are both being released this weekend, feel free to go to the cinema and have a good time! Also, to my Canadian family, have a Happy Thanksgiving!