Venom has been a pleasant surprise for Sony Pictures in its first week of release, proving a resounding commercial success, if not a critical one. The Tom Hardy-starring super-antihero film, which combines gritty violence and screwball humor with a debatable degree of success, only notched a paltry 30 percent on the Tomatometer (and a lukewarm 4.6 from your pals at Paste Movies), but its 89 percent audience score suggests that moviegoers are enjoying the vicious symbiote’s wacky antics, in spite of some sloppiness in their construction.
Director Ruben Fleischer addressed one such bit of sloppiness in a Wednesday interview, offering an explanation for a Venom plot hole the size of a Life Foundation spaceship-induced impact crater.
The problem occurs early in the film: Investigative journalist Eddie Brock (Hardy), intent on taking down shady tech tycoon Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), takes a professional risk that loses him his job, fianceé and home, after which he sets out on the path that will see him become one with Venom. Meanwhile, another alien symbiote is on a parallel path of its own: Riot, escaped from the wreckage of the aforementioned spaceship, makes its way across Malaysia, jumping from one unsuspecting human host to another until it finally arrives at the Life Foundation’s San Francisco headquarters, where it melds with Drake ahead of the film’s climactic showdown between the two symbiotes.
Here’s the problem, though: Eddie Brock’s downfall and Riot’s trip from Malaysia to the U.S. begin around the same point in time, but after a six-month time jump, Eddie’s life has changed drastically, while Riot is … somehow still in Malaysia, inhabiting the same old woman with whom it had achieved symbiosis six months earlier, which makes no sense on several levels. So what gives? What was it doing over there? A study abroad program?
“Our idea was that Riot was using up the life force of whoever he took, and then he jumped ship when he’d consumed them and then find a new host to carry him further on his journey,” Fleischer told GameSpot when asked why the two timelines seemed so out of whack.
Pressed to explain why Riot had lingered in Malaysia for so long, Fleischer admitted, “Yeah, that’s a good question. That’s one of our few—hopefully—few logic bumps. But we had to have a passage of time in order to show Eddie’s downfall, and that was the one thing that doesn’t entirely track.”
“But I like to think that old lady was going around murdering all throughout Malaysia, and she was just having a good old time just shooting shards through different people in Malaysia,” he adds. “Yeah, I mean, who’s to know?”
Judging by the way in which most moviegoers have given Venom the benefit of the doubt, it’s hard to quibble with Fleischer’s explanation. Riot does what Riot wants, we guess.