In Defense of Venom

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A discussion of whether Venom was a good movie necessitates the concession to the incorrect assumption that the opposite of a good movie is a bad one. Setting aside the very fact that the definition of a good movie is subjective and thus cannot be accurately measured, the main thrust of this discussion is to rebut criticisms that seem to condemn the film as a “bad” comic movie. Here, I will argue that Venom is successful in providing what cinema should – a good performance and enjoyment. Venom may have missed some marks, but perhaps it is excessive to label the movie as lacking artistry and creativity and wholly inadequate. Indeed, it cannot be denied that the film has shortcomings. The following discussion, however, will address these issues, and attempt to defend Venom where possible.

Photo Courtesy of Marvel

The first point of contention is the movie’s unprecedented tone. Given Venom’s dark comic book roots, the audiences’ dismay at the campy tone of the film is understandable and justified. Subverting expectations is always a precarious move.

Courtesy of Marvel

A 360 change is also palpable in the shift from Thor: The Dark World to Thor: Ragnarok. The drastic stylistic change works, and is appropriate to the plot of the movie as well as the character journey the protagonist goes through. In Ragnarok Thor becomes more relatable with the humour permeating the movie, as opposed to the somewhat detached sentiments audiences have with the god of thunder as he converses in fancy diction and jargon, which augments the chasm between gods and humans. Such a change in tone, in this case, helps in rooting Thor as presently one of the most beloved characters in the MCU compared to his “just there” status previously. One can perhaps argue the same for Venom. Venom and Eddie Brock are not gods or heroes; they are rejects with questionable morals. They are not the typical protagonists that audiences can easily root for. Imbuing Venom and Brock with a humorous characterization alleviates the audiences’ apprehension at rooting for and supporting a morally grey character – supporting a villain is just not a typical human tendency. The humour humanizes Venom. Admittedly, in doing so the essence of Venom’s darkness is lost. However, Venom in the comic books, too, exhibits humorous wit and shares an amusing relationship with Brock.