Sony's Spider-Man Universe is a weird cinematic beast adjacent to Marvel's standard MCU. Focusing on beloved Spider-Man villains, Venom, Morbius and Kraven, the side-cinematic universe is proving to be extremely popular.
However, despite its box office, Sony's Spidey spin-offs have been critically berated. Starting with Venom, Sony's movies are often referred to as terrible-but-entertaining shlock, but Venom director Ruben Fleischer thinks those comments are unfair.
Venom director on negative criticism
In an interview with ComicBook, Venom (2018) director Ruben Fleischer opened up about dealing with the movie's negative reception. While the film was immensely profitable and praised by fans, critics were not kind to the project. Currently, the movie sits at 30% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Fleischer explained that the movie’s heavy criticism was hard to deal with. After spending so much time working on the film, reading through constant negative reviews wasn’t exactly a pleasant experience for the director.
“The critical reaction, I'm not going to lie, is a bummer just because you work so hard on something,” he said. “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.”
The director continued to explain that the criticisms are unfair. Due to the movie’s massive fan support, Fleischer believes the movie should have scored higher. He told the outlet:
“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."
A modern cult classic
Despite the negativity, the Venom director believes that his movie has the chance to become a modern cult classic, like Blade Runner is. There have been a lot of misunderstood movies that become loved years after release, but is Venom going to be one of them?
"Hopefully, over time, people will... There's plenty of movies that are beloved that, when they came out, were panned by critics,” the Venom director said. “It'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.”
It is possible for a movie to be bad and enjoyable and popular. In fact, for some those are the best kind of movies. But a film’s quality doesn't define it; Venom is a decent live-action adaptation of a beloved character that has a lot of flaws. It's fine for a film to not be critically acclaimed and still be enjoyed.