Count iconic comic book artist Todd McFarlane among those who approved of Venom, the Spider-Man spinoff that drew mostly bad reviews yet still became a massive box-office hit when it was released in October. (The film hits Blu-ray today.)
“It was a big roller-coaster ride. Visually, everything was coming at you,” said McFarlane (watch above), who, along with writer David Michelinie, introduced the hulking black symbiote-infected baddie in The Amazing Spider-Man No. 300 in 1988. “I think at times … the critics get it wrong in that they forget their age. They come in, and they’re 42 years old, and they come in with their attitude and they’re going, ‘Stop it.’ What if you were 16 and you were watching this movie? You would love it.”
Venom is currently the 10th highest-grossing movie of 2018 in the U.S. and fifth highest worldwide, though critics generally ripped into the film, which put a heroic twist on the longtime villain Eddie Brock, played with gusto (and a few winks) by Tom Hardy. Still, more than a few of those critics lauded its entertainment value, with the term “so bad it’s good” regularly applied to it.
“This thing delivered everything it was supposed to. It was gnarly, it was nasty, it has a big cool Venom, which was what I was looking for. [That] was my bias — I just wanted to see the visualness of Venom that I had created 30 years prior.”
McFarlane confessed his bias, but that doesn’t mean he’s loved every representation of the supervillain/antihero. Take, for instance, the 2007 sequel Spider-Man 3.
“When the Topher Grace character turned into Venom, he didn’t really add a lot of weight,” said McFarlane. “I intentionally made him bigger because I always wanted it to feel like Peter Parker/Spider-Man was going up against an elephant and there was no way he was ever going to push him over. So he was going to have to come up with another way to trip up the elephant, which was gonna be to use his brain instead of his brawn.”
Venom is now on 4K, Blu-ray, and Digital HD. Watch Tom Hardy share his son’s criticism of his performance:
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