Critics have not been kind to the comic book adaptation Venom. The film opened this week to some pretty poor reviews, resulting in a 28% rating at Rotten Tomatoes. Not very good.
So what does the character’s creator, comic artist Todd McFarlane, think about the film? Well, he was at New York Comic Con this weekend and during an on stage interview session about an upcoming film adaptation of his creator-owned character Spawn, he was asked about Venom.
When we founded Image Comics twenty-six years ago, it was so we could go out and do artistically do whatever we wanted the way we wanted and nobody could tell us how to do it. So, I actually give that freedom to everybody, whether you do a book for us or you do a movie or TV show. So I don’t want to go to a movie like Venom and go “Hey, how would I have done it? How come they’re not talking to me?” I don’t do that. I go “It’s their choice. They’re spending their $100 million. They have a lot to say.” I just look at the choices they make and go “Huhn.” That might not have been the direction I’d have gone, but they have that freedom.
While he really isn’t praising nor panning the film, I think McFarlane’s real feelings can be found between the lines of his rather diplomatic answer here.
He was less reserved when he turned to his attention to Venom’s previous cinematic appearance in 2007’s Spider-Man 3, criticizing a specific choice made for that film.
What was a little disappointing to me, though it was still their choice, was that you had Topher Grace but when he turned into Venom he only got twenty pounds heavier. All I wanted to see in this [new] movie was one thing – give me a big guy, because that was what I designed.
For McFarlane, Venom’s size was a big part of the character at its start when he was an antagonist for Spider-Man.
When I created Venom I wanted him to big because when you’re drawing artistically you have to have fun. Spider-Man to me was one finger, right? A little skinny guy, a high school or college guy. And here’s Venom, Venom was four fingers. And if you four against one like that, there’s no way that Spider-Man can beat him physically. So now Spider-Man has to use some intelligence to beat him.
McFarlane doesn’t address the question that has been on the minds of a lot fans as to how a Venom movie could be done when much of the character’s origins are tied into his relationship with Spider-Man, yet the famed wall crawling superhero isn’t a part of the film. But perhaps the reviews that are already coming out for the film may be answering that for him.