Venom is one hell of a fascinating, cultural enigma— in all the ways it wasn’t planning to be. From the opening shot of space to the Eminem-blasting credits sequence, the symbiote solo film is in a constant state of identity crisis. It is a clunky, tonal disaster with a script that seemed to have been written by an algorithm that churns out comic book origin screenplays by the hour. Tied together by the meme-able marketing, outdated aesthetics, and poor critical reception, Venom was set up and sure to be a flop. Or so I thought, as the film just made 80 million dollars at the box office this weekend.
As someone who just stepped out of my 11:00 AM IMAX 3D time machine to the early 2000s, I am, of course, dumbfounded by these box office numbers. My shock leads me to log onto Twitter for an investigation of what the overall response of Venom‘s audience was, only to see the DCEU fandom have co-opted the financial success of Venom into their anti-MCU campaigns against film criticism. This surprised me even more – is this latest piece of Sony Pictures schlock what they really want to defend from the evil, nasty film critics? Even past this vocal minority of the Twittersphere, what did 80 million dollars worth of people see in “eyes, lungs, pancreas” that made them leave with satisfaction? As Laurie Metcalf famously once said, “Let’s just sit with what we’ve heard.”