Columns / Discourse / October 10, 2018

Sony Pictures’ “Venom” failed as a cinematic universe

“Venom” is not a good movie. It is clunky, poorly written and edited; it has an incredibly weak story and characters, and it has about as much charm as a dead slug. The name is very fitting, however, as watching the movie made me feel as though I had been injected with a neurotoxin (one whose main effect is boredom). But this article is not about how horrible the movie is. If you would like to read about that, simply pull up any critic’s review on the movie. No, instead this is about Sony Pictures and the larger issues that made “Venom” the atrocity that it is. From “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” (a movie so awful I had to take an Advil just from typing its name) to “The Angry Birds Movie,” the movies distributed by Sony Pictures are best described as garbage fires. So why did Marvel entrust Sony Pictures to make a movie based around one of the most popular characters in Spider-Man mythos (other than Spider-Man himself and Tobey Maguire)? The answer is that, unfortunately, Marvel sold the exclusive movie rights of Spider-Man and all related characters to Sony in 1999, when Marvel was struggling financially and its film studio was still eight years away from even being created. This means that if Sony decides to make a movie about a Spider-Man character, Marvel can pray to Father Disney that the movie will be good and will not ruin public perception of their character, but can do little else. Sony Pictures has never distributed a good (or even average) movie, and instead of letting Marvel Studios produce the movie and simply take all the profits like they did with “Spider-Man Homecoming,” Sony instead got a little greedy and decided that letting Marvel make a good movie for them was too expensive and time consuming (two things that are typically indicators that a movie has had, at the very least, effort put into it), and that they could instead do it themselves and prove to those damn nerds that they can make a movie as well as Marvel can. Making one movie is not enough, however Ñ certainly not in this day and age, when Marvel can make ten billion dollars by contractually forcing Robert Downey Jr. to crawl out of his mansion and breathe heavily into a mic for two and a half hours (critics say it’s “revolutionary” and “like nothing you’ve ever seen before!”). So Sony Pictures has grand hopes of creating a Spider-Man cinematic universe, allowing them to rake in money just by waving the name Spider-Man around on a flimsy, poorly directed stick, and watching comic book fans happily wag their tails at it. This often leads to sacrifices for each individual movie in order to create a more seamless larger narrative. This results in one of the major issues with “Venom”: its PG-13 rating. See, many people (including Tom Hardy himself) were hoping for, or rather, expecting, an R-rated “Venom” movie. Movies such as “Logan” and “Deadpool” have proven that R-rated superhero movies can be successful, yet studios are still hesitant to make them. “Venom” is typically written as a very violent, edgy character, and so it was only natural that he would get an R-rated movie, as a PG-13 “Venom” is like being a kid and having your parents skip all the sex scenes in a movie: you miss all the good parts because they’re “for adults.” By all accounts, “Venom” was set to be an R-rated movie Ñ that is, until some genius at Sony Pictures realized they could make more money by making “Venom” PG-13 so that way he can fight Spider-Man in a future movie. So they cut, re-edited and re-shot much of the movie in order to create a more family friendly “Venom” (an oxymoron if I’ve ever heard one.) As a result, the movie ends up feeling rushed and re-edited, which are the Michelin 3-star ingredients for an awful movie. Sony Pictures’ greed and desire to create a larger cinematic universe at the cost of the individual movie meant that “Venom” was set to fail from the beginning, and not even Tom Hardy’s acting could save it from its inevitable doom.

 

Collin McGill

Tags:  movie review sony pictures Venom

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