VENOM Creator Todd McFarlane Blames The Movie's Negative Reviews On Ageing Critics

VENOM Creator Todd McFarlane Blames The Movie's Negative Reviews On Ageing Critics

Venom was a huge box office hit but it took a pounding from critics when it was released back in October. Now, the character's creator has some thoughts on what may have led to that 29% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Venom massively exceeded expectations at the box office when it was released earlier this year but the critics hated the movie and that's why it has a score of 29% on Rotten Tomatoes and an average rating of 4.4/10. The response from fans has been somewhat mixed as well, but the man who created the comic book version of the character has some thoughts on that.

"It was a big roller coaster ride. Visually, everything was coming at you," Todd McFarlane says. "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, 15, and you were watching this movie? You would love it... Of course you would love 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," he continued. "[That] was my bias - I just wanted to see the visualness of Venom that I had created 30 years prior."

Standing up for the movie by saying that teenagers would love it and that all he cared about was seeing Venom on-screen (rather than, you know, a strong story and good performances) isn't exactly the best defence, and it will be interesting seeing what McFarlane does with his Spawn movie if he's taking a similar approach to that project.

What do you guys think? As always, share your thoughts on that in the comments section below.

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click on the "View List" button below.

John Jameson

During the movie's opening, we learn that astronaut John Jameson died on a mission and that's obviously a reference to both Amazing Spider-Man #1 and the episode of the 90s animated Spider-Man TV show - "The Alien Costume, Part 1" - which saw him return from space with the alien symbiote in toe. It seems fitting that in a world without a Spider-Man there to save him, John ended up dying.

"Ron Lim Herbal"

Near the end of the movie, look closely and you'll see a sign for "Ron Lim Herbal." What is that a reference to? Well, Ron Lim is an artist who has worked on a lot of Venom comic books, including the "Lethal Protector" storyline which this movie takes at least some inspiration from. There are obviously a lot of writers and artists this movie could have mentioned but Ruben Fleischer is clearly a big fan.

Venom's Love Of Chocolate

You may think that Venom telling Eddie he's craving chocolate is just a random line thrown in for laughs, there was actually an entire subplot devoted to the symbiote's love of chocolate back in the 90s. Eating chocolate meant Eddie could stop Venom from desiring brains because both the human brain and that sweet treat include the chemical phenethylamine so that's why he's craving it here.

The Daily Globe

There's no mention of The Daily Bugle in Venom but we do learn that some sort of incident in New York City led to Eddie Brock being fired from The Daily Globe. In the comics, that was the publication the journalist wrote for when Spider-Man had him fired after catching the real Sin-Eater despite Eddie running a story in which he claimed to have found the serial killer and landed an interview with him.

The Cure For Cancer

It's mentioned at one point that Carlton Drake may be planning to use the symbiotes to cure cancer. This is undoubtedly a reference to both the Ultimate Universe where the alien was actually a man-made creation to cure the disease and the fact that wearing the symbiote ultimately have Eddie Brock cancer. There's even talk of the symbiotes draining the adrenal glands, another nods to the comics.

Eddie Brock's Weights

Tom Hardy sort of resembles the Eddie Brock from the comic books but we don't see much of him hitting the weights and bulking up to make himself as powerful as possible for his inevitable confrontation with Spider-Man. However, when those Life Foundation goons arrive at Eddie's apartment to try and apprehend him, the symbiote picks up his dumbells and uses them as a weapon. 


In perhaps the movie's best scene, Ann Weying ends up becoming She-Venom for just a brief spell when she needs to transport the symbiote to Eddie Brock. During that sequence, she eats some brains and takes a lot of guys out but by the time the movie ends, she's clearly missing being bonded with the alien. However, this is a huge departure from the source material as she eventually took her own life.

Venom Is A Loser

Venom admits that on his home planet, he's a loser too and while that's actually been ridiculed by a lot of critics, it makes sense because this was also the case in David Michelinie's "Planet of the Symbiotes" storyline. It was during that we learned that the symbiotes were parasites and while his fellow aliens wanted to conquer planets, Venom wanted symbiosis which led to him being ridiculed/imprisoned.

Stan Lee's Cameo

The humour in Venom is a tad hit and miss but one of the funniest moments comes right at the end of the movie. After the symbiote tells Eddie that he's going to help him win Ann back, they bump into Stan Lee who tells them both not to give up on her. Venom's reaction is priceless as he asks Eddie, "Who was that guy?" Lee's appearance is a nice surprise, especially as he didn't actually create Venom.

Roland Treece

In Venom, Roland Treece is tasked with bringing Eddie Brock to Carlton Drake and is the head of security for the Life Foundation. While he doesn't bear much of a resemblance to his comic book counterpart, Roland is lifted straight out of the source material and was actually the lead villain in Venom: Lethal Protector. However, he was a businessman and never went toe to toe with Venom.


The movie's mid-credits scene features Eddie Brock paying a visit to serial killer Cletus Kasidy for an interview the authorities hope will result in the psychopath revealing the location of his victims' bodies. Cletus (who has written "Welcome Eddie" in his own blood) promises that there will be "carnage" when he escapes and this is obviously setting the stage for him to become Carnage in the sequel.

Eddie's Hunger

Shortly after being bonded with the symbiote, Eddie finds himself furiously hungry and he chows down on the remains of a chicken and even some frozen tater tots before throwing up. Eventually, he eats a live lobster and while none of this happens in the comic books, Venom: The Hunger showed Eddie eating anything he could get his hands on but hated it as what he was really craving was brains.

Donna Diego

During the course of Venom, Riot jumps from host to host in an incredibly tedious subplot which takes up far too much screentime. Eventually, it finds its way to Carlton Drake but the Life Foundation employee the symbiote possesses at the start of the movie is actually Donna Diego. In the comics, she was one of the Life Foundation's test subjects and is ultimately transformed into the villainous Scream.

Tootsie And Belvedere

There are a couple of pretty bizarre references in Venom, including Eddie Brock saying that he could write under a pen name and pretend to be a woman just like Dustin Hoffman did in 1982 movie Tootsie. Ann Weying's cat, meanwhile, is called Mr. Belveder, a nod to the 1980s sitcom which ran for five seasons. Pretty random references which aren't quite up there with what Deadpool delivers. 

Carlton Drake's Powers

In the comics, Carlton Drake is also the leader of the Life Foundation and uses the company to try and cure his cancer. He never actually bonds with a symbiote but is responsible for creating the offspring which Venom and Spider-Man later have to do battle with. However, he does at one point gain superpowers in the source material but that came after he injected himself with Spidey's blood.


Venom is light on references to the world of Spider-Man which, well, isn't a great surprise considering the fact that he doesn't exist in this world! However, when Ann Weying realises that sonics can hurt Venom, she refers to them as the symbiote's "Kryptonite." You don't need us to tell you that's a reference to Superman who is clearly a fictional character in the universe that Eddie Brock calls home.

Eddie Brock Helps The Homeless

In what is clearly a bid to separate Venom from Spider-Man, the movie takes place in San Francisco. There is, of course, precedent for that in the source material as Eddie Brock left the Big Apple in the comic books and chose to fight crime on the other side of America. During that time, Eddie often stood up for the disenfranchised and homeless so him being friendly with them here makes perfect sense.

Venom: Carnage Unleashed #3

In a very cool nod to the comic books, Riot at one point tears the mask off Venom which appears to cause Eddie a great deal of pain. This has to be a reference to Carnage Unleashed #3, a comic book which saw Carnage doing the same to his dear old dad. In terms of visuals lifted from the source material, though, this is pretty much all we get in Venom which is obviously something of a shame. 

Riot Is Carnage

It's weird that Carnage is introduced during the mid-credits scene because we pretty much see him in action throughout the course of this movie courtesy of Riot. He creates spikes, turns his hands into axes, and basically displays all of the abilities that Carnage has in the comic books. That doesn't leave Sony with much they can do with the villainous symbiote that we won't have already seen here.

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse

Venom's second after-credits scene puts the spotlight on Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Kicking off with "Meanwhile, in another Spider-Verse," we get to see Miles Morales at the graveside of Peter Parker before he's confronted by...Peter Parker. Knocking the wall-crawler out, what follows is a fun chase sequence through Brooklyn which ends with both of the superheroes knocked out in the street.
Did you spot any Venom Easter Eggs that we ended up missing? What did you think about the movie's references and cameos? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section down below.
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