Venom (2018)
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This weekend Sony launches its own cinematic universe with Ruben Fleischer’s Venom. Although the film is making a strong showing at the box office opening weekend, the reviews have been less than approving. The general consensus gathered from reviews for Venom is that the film is a tonal mess, veering wildly from drama, horror, and comedy from scene to scene. That assessment of tone is true, but I remain unconvinced that it makes for a bad movie, and least of all a poor adaptation of the comic book character who made his debut in 1988.

We’re at an interesting time in superhero cinema. There are more capes, costumes, and cinematic universes than ever before, and despite how often “superhero fatigue” gets thrown around, superhero/villain movies aren’t going anywhere any time soon. One of the most interesting conversations to arise around the glut of comic book adaptation concerns tone. While Marvel Studios’ Marvel Cinematic Universe has set a certain expectation for the tone of these movies, one that even varies within their franchises, there’s an interesting discussion to be had about superhero films that populated cinemas before 2008 and the reception of those that have steered clear, sometimes intentionally and sometimes not, of the Marvel method.

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