Prior to the mega-event that was Spider-Man: No Way Home, Sony Pictures added to its own Spider-Man Universe with Tom Hardy's Venom: Let There Be Carnage. Upon its arrival, it made an impact as one of the top-grossing movies of 2021, particularly due to its theaters-only release. Although it made over $90 million in its opening weekend, the critical reviews weren't so favorable.
While Venom 2 came through as a mostly fun superhero outing, most of the reviews didn't exactly praise it for being something close to a work of cinematic art, as was the case with its predecessor in Venom. Many chided the films for being overstuffed with action and CGI, even though Sony still found a way to blow fans' minds with the post-credits scene in the sequel throwing Eddie Brock and Venom into the MCU, regardless of how short their stay was.
The Venom franchise has seen plenty of success since it first debuted in 2018, with plans in place for a third movie already, even with less-than-positive reviews from critics. Recently, the man who directed the first films looked back at that criticism and defended his work against it.
Venom Director Addresses Critics' Bad Reviews
In an interview with ComicBook, Venom director Ruben Fleischer shared his thoughts on the negative critical reaction to his 2018 movie.
Fleischer admitted that it was tough seeing that kind of criticism after working so hard on the movie, even though he's seen the way audiences have enjoyed the final result. The director found it difficult to see the dichotomy between the negative reviews and the positive fan reaction, even calling it "disheartening" at times:
"The critical reaction, I'm not going to lie, is a bummer just because you work so hard on something. And I know, having watched it with audiences, how much they enjoyed it. So, it was a little surprising to me how negative they were. And I do think it's unwarranted because the audiences, as you said, really loved the film. Otherwise, I don't think it would've been quite the success it was. So, it was disheartening, for sure, that it has this kind of association."
Fleischer hopes that his movie will eventually be seen in a better light in the future, as many critically-maligned movies are when they first release. In the end, all he cares about is that "people like the movie" regardless of what critics say:
"Hopefully, over time, people will... There's plenty of movies that are beloved that, when they came out, were panned by critics. t's just unfortunate that RottenTomatoes exists as this aggregate that then, forever, will have an assigned rating to a thing. That being said, it is what it is. And if people like the movie, that's all I care about. And, hopefully, the same will be true of Uncharted. I made it for the audience. I made it to be a really fun, escapist, action packed adventure. And, at the end of the day, that's who I made the movie for. And I'll be proud and excited if fans and audiences love the film."
Venom Fans - All That Matter
Not every superhero movie is instantly riddled with amazing reviews like Avengers: Endgame or Spider-Man: No Way Home. In fact, there are plenty that end up with less-than-desirable ratings from critics even with positive reviews from fans - see the results of Eternals.
In Venom's case, it's clear that Fleischer felt the impact of so many negative reviews for his movie, but he still sees the positive of it from the fans' perspective. Tom Hardy's first outing as the symbiotic alien proved to be a fun time at the theater with its action and comedy, and it even succeeded at the box office with over $850 million in revenue.
The Venom franchise is set to continue within Sony's Spider-Man Universe thanks to that success, as a third movie is already set to bring Tom Hardy back to the enigmatic role. It's impossible to tell how its reception will be upon its release, but at the very least, there is excitement building to see what Sony will do next with this franchise.
Venom and Venom: Let There Be Carnage are now available on home release.