"Movie" is in the Eye of the Beholder
So a few days back I finally got to checking out the Marvel's cinematic release, Venomon Netflix. Not really knowing too much about what the critics thought as I went in, the film actually surprised me by how entertaining it was. Having no expectations and glad to have the leading protagonist being cast as Tom Hardy, little could, and did, go wrong here. But after the credits rolled, I thought I'd peruse through some of the online reviews and comments about it. And this was about the time where things started to get a bit weird, from my perspective anyways...
Popular movie review website Rotten Tomatoes (I'd be amazed if you'd never heard of it) is known for collating all globally recognised "professional" reviewers scores and marking movies accordingly. Well, I was pretty taken aback by a poultry rating of a mere 29%. Was it something I missed? A glaring detail that had managed to sneakily slip by me during the highly enjoyable watch I was having? I mean, sure, no Oscar nominations on the table here, but at the very least, it was a serviceable effort. I then scanned over the main page to the "User Audience" rating (a section dedicated to regular people's feedback as opposed to their own hand-picked selections) which garnered a much higher score of 80%! Such disparity between these two distinct camps! No middle ground whatsoever! Well, a little more digging and it seems the main issues boiled down to several plot-holes littered about the place as well as some others who complained that Spider-Man wasn't in it. Spider-Man? Hasn't his long-running franchise not served up enough web-slinging mayhem and adventure to warrant another Marvel character getting a "solo" shot at their own origins movie? Of course, Venom is his established and well-known antagonist, but this movie is called Venom. Clues and expectations, anyone?
Everybody is entitled to their opinions, as I am mine, but this trending anomaly of "movie reviewers vs. movie audience" dissension, is not a new one. Or even recent, for that matter. Take, for instance, Bad Boys II released way back in 2003. The overwhelming majority of movie goers loved the mindless action, Will Smith doing Will Smith and fast paced action sequences. Though movie reviews slammed it, giving in an overall rating of 23%. However, the audience disagreed, honouring it with a cool 78%. Or horror classic Final Destination back in 2000, featuring an original premise and pretty stellar acting for what is was, getting a respectable 69% from audience members but a measly 34% from critics. It's an interesting phenomena, to say the least.
However, the way I see it, an individual's personal theatrical experience is almost as subjective as you can get nowadays. Every movie doesn't have to have some hidden humanitarian or moralistic meaning behind it. There is plenty of room for a big, dumb popcorn flick where one can easily switch their brain off and throw away the key for a couple of hours. Venom was no masterpiece per se, but hit all the right spots where it was supposed to. Sometimes it can all depend on the mood you are in at the time of watching. As I said, very subjective stuff indeed. And I see this shift in polarised views as continually getting further and further apart over time, as we as a collective become more culturally diverse. Audiences mindsets are changing as is the overall sentiment in the movie industry.
But when all is said and done, the most important judgement is your own. therefore just try, in this fickle day and age, not to read or view reviews online "before" going to see the film itself. Leave observing the feudal raging criticisms for afterwards. :)