When Venom arrived in cinemas in late 2018, the film received a somewhat mixed, and confusing reaction. Critics were not so hot on the movie, yet audiences showed up to watch the film in their droves and it performed very well at the box office.

How well?

During its theatrical run, Venom made more than $856 million worldwide.

So, from a financial standpoint, Venom proved to be very popular. But putting the money to one side, one question remains: Is Venom a good movie?

In order to best answer this question, it is useful to take a look at the critical responses to the movie from a number of different sources. These sources include general movie reviews, IMDb ratings, and Rotten Tomatoes scores.



Movie reviews

Image: ©Sony Pictures/Columbia Pictures/Marvel Entertainment

Let’s start with movie reviews. For this I have picked five reviews, all taken from a quick Google search for the phrase: ‘Venom review’.

The first five reviews that appeared on Google at the time of writing this post were for The Guardian, News 18, Vulture, Times of India, and Plugged in. Here is a sample from each:

  • The Guardian’s Simran Hans said: “The first official instalment in Sony’s Marvel Universe (as opposed to the Disney-owned Marvel Cinematic Universe) manages to be both rushed and laboured, rattling through an agonising amount of setups before deciding on its split-personality buddy-comedy tone.” Hans awarded the movie two stars (out of five).
  • News 18’s Shantanu David said: “As far as superhero films go, Venom isn’t the poison pill that most recent DC films have been, but it’s still a universe away from Marvel.” David scored the film 2.5.
  • David Edelstein of Vulture said: “The only reason to see Venom — the latest excrescence from the vast Marvel universe — is Tom Hardy, whose amiable mugging makes a nice change from his recent manly, mush-mouthed stoicism.”
  • Neil Soans, Times of India said: “Tom Hardy proves that he’s more than equipped to play the sentient symbiote, but this film is concerned mainly with stomping from one plot point to the next, at the cost of character development.” Soans gave the film a 3.0/5.
  • Paul Asay of Plugged in said: “Venom isn’t as horrible as some have suggested. But it isn’t good, either, either ethically or aesthetically. And in this, the Golden Age of superhero movies, we can find better.”

So, what do these reviews suggest? Well, from the five samples above, it would appear that none of the critics were sold on Venom, but some felt it was a middle-of-the-road movie. There is generally a negative tone to the reviews, but not always entirely harsh – just rather disappointed.




Image: ©Sony Pictures/Columbia Pictures/Marvel Entertainment

Over to the Internet Movie Database now for a look at the score currently given by IMDb.

Venom’s rating on IMDb is 6.7/10. This is based on the scores of 314,859 IMDb users.

Of those 314,859 users, the votes break down as follows:

  • 10 – 34,771 votes
  • 9 – 23,372 votes
  • 8 – 59,457 votes
  • 7 – 88,544 votes
  • 6 – 56,766 votes
  • 5 – 26,036 votes
  • 4 – 11,793 votes
  • 3 – 6,408 votes
  • 2 – 3,336 votes
  • 1 – 4,376 votes

From the votes that have been cast, the majority of the voters favour a score of between 6 and 8 (out of 10), with 7 being the clear winner, hence the film’s rating of 6.7/10.

What this is suggests is that IMDb users rate Venom slightly above the midway point on a scale of 1 – 10. So, it’s not bad, it’s not great, it’s just a little above middle-of-the-road.



Rotten Tomatoes

Image: ©Sony Pictures/Columbia Pictures/Marvel Entertainment

Now onto Rotten Tomatoes, to see how well Venom performs on the review aggregator site. Here Venom receives two ratings – one based on critical opinions and one based on audience scores.

In terms of the critical rating, Venom receives a very low score of 29% on the Tomatometer. This is based on 335 critic scores.

The site’s ‘Critics Consensus’ reads: “Venom’s first standalone movie turns out to be like the comics character in all the wrong ways – chaotic, noisy, and in desperate need of a stronger attachment to Spider-Man.”

OK, so that’s how Venom fairs from a critical point of view, but what about the audience?

Well, when it comes to the audience score, Venom receives 80%, which is a much more impressive figure. But this percentage is based on 39,339 audience members – a much larger number than the critics.

It’s unbalanced, but from a straight-forward viewpoint, critics are not fans of the movie, while audiences like it more – something which is backed up by the box office success of the film. But once again, there’s not clear outcome, suggesting the response to the movie is very mixed.



What can be concluded from this information?

Image: ©Sony Pictures/Columbia Pictures/Marvel Entertainment

The five review samples suggest Venom is not viewed as terrible, but it is also not the best reviewed movie. Recent Marvel-related films have been better received by critics and Venom has proved disappointing in comparison.  

The IMDb ratings suggest the film is OK; with most users of IMDb viewing it as a little above average. This isn’t high praise, but it’s not condemnation either.

Rotten Tomatoes offers up both strong and weak ratings, which suggests there is both good and bad in the film.

So, is Venom a good movie? The general consensus from the sources I have looked at today would point to Venom being viewed as an average movie that will appeal to some, but not to all. It doesn’t reach the high bar set by a number of Marvel films and may not provide a truly satisfactory experience (although this can depend on individual taste).

If you would like to know more about the general reception of the Spider-Man movies, then please take a look at my posts: Every Spider-Man movie rating on IMDb and Average Spider-Man movie rating on Rotten Tomatoes. These two posts will provide you with a better understanding of how the Spider-Man movie series is perceived by critics and audiences.

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