3D and superhero movies are like chocolate and peanut butter: two normally good tastes that go great together. But then again, Venom is no ordinary comic book movie, because as the trailers have told us, the world has enough superheroes. So there’s a chance that taking a spin in the third dimension with this Spider-Man adjacent universe could be something unlike anything we’ve already seen. Or… it could be the exact metaphor you’ve been quoting from the now infamous trailer.
Which means court is in session, as it’s time to ask and answer one of our favorite questions: to 3D or not to 3D? If you’re interested in seeing how Venom works as a movie, you can find out as you read our official review. But from this point on, it’s 3D time, as we put our glasses on and tell you whether or not Eddie Brock’s adventures are worth your hard earned 3D dollar.
Picture this scenario: your anti-hero has the power to change into a super powered monster that shoots strands of goo towards his enemies. You can see why Venom is a perfect fit, as the spectacle factor of this film and source material lends itself to a potentially fantastic 3D conversion. With a lot of action, both human and symbiote related, ready to pop off of the screen, this couldn’t be a better fit for the 3D format.
While Venom is a perfect fit for 3D conversion, the planning and effort showing through Venom’s final 3D product is quite subpar. The biggest handicaps to the film’s execution in the third dimension are both the editing and the darkness of the film itself. Very jumpy visuals and a murky color palette wreck the chances that the film has of being a proper 3D film. At the very least, Venom does have some decent depth drawn in its picture, but it’s not enough to make up for the failings that plague the majority of its runtime.
In a better 3D conversion, Venom’s symbiote powers would be able to come off of the screen and into the audience with gleeful abandon. That’s not the movie we get with this conversion though, as with the exception of a couple shots throughout the film, most of the aspects on the screen stop short of jumping before the window. There are even shots that are primed for a good eye-popping gag, only to be filmed and converted in such a way that we never get that effect. Altogether, it still feels like you’re watching a movie happening behind a screen.
Meanwhile, in the beyond the window department, Venom actually manages to do its best work with the depth depicted in its images. Backgrounds are pretty limitless, through various shots involving alleyways, laboratory hallways, and select sequences with objects and persons plummeting to the ground. There’s even a special added effect of depth, which sees Eddie Brock and his symbiote temporarily separating during certain distressing times, which adds another layer of depth between characters. Say what you will about any other factor in this film’s 3D conversion, but at least the depth in Venom is near perfect.
Your mileage may vary depending on how well your theater keeps up the health of its projector and auditorium, so keep that in mind when deciding whether Venom is 3D worthy for you. However, even with that caveat in mind, it’s highly doubtful that the extra dimness of the 3D glasses add to the picture will do any favors to the audience. Some sequences do have better lighting that makes it easier to make out who’s in a scene with who, but a good majority of Venom’s shots are at night and in the darkly lit forests and labs, rendering it nearly unwatchable. This is more than the minor level of grey the glasses lend to the picture; this is a problem that goes straight to the source of the picture.
With a dim brightness level and a lot of shaky cam in play, you’re going to want to take your glasses off at times while watching Venom in 3D. During those times you remove your facial furniture, you’ll notice that there’s a certain degree of blur at play in the picture’s presentation, which usually indicates the level of depth and projection that the 3D picture is supposed to reflect. Interestingly enough, there is are portions of Venom where the blurring in the picture seems minimal, if not completely 2D. Even more confusing is a sequence towards the beginning of the film, where portions of the screen are not blurry at all, with other smaller windows housing the blur of a 3D effect. Yes, there’s some blur, and it’s pretty healthy when it’s there. But altogether, it’s an uneven execution.
As previously mentioned, the dimness of the picture and the choppy editing of major action sequences in Venom seriously handicap the ability to watch the film effectively. Through some small miracle, the film is actually still watchable, and for the most part it’s not a straining affair. Once the action kicks in though, it’s a different story, as big set pieces are so visually jumbled that it makes the dimness of the picture even more of a problem. Whole sections of Venom are pretty difficult to watch, but the movie on a whole can still be enjoyed – provided the viewer is prepared.