Venom finally hit theaters this week, and with critics giving it the same treatment Eddie Brock suffered in his last big screen appearance, it has to be asked: Is this all justified, or is the lethal protector getting more hate than he’s warranted?
So what’s the deal?
Venom follows Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), a reporter with a tendency to dig deep, find corruption among powerful businesses, and exposing it. Such investigative reporting have led him to San Francisco, where he and his girlfriend Anne Weying (Michelle Williams). Weying, a lawyer who’s firm works for the enigmatic Life Foundation, an organization built by Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed). When Eddie gets a chance to interview Drake, he ends up finding himself at the center of a plot to take over the world with the use of aliens known as symbiotes. In an attempt to escape, Eddie bonds with one of these symbiotes, and Drake pursues all means to capture him and reclaim the Symbiote.
How’s the Acting?
Tom Hardy, as always, is an incredibly compelling Eddie Brock. This is a man fans can relate to. He just wants to see the world become a better place, and is willing to take on anyone who tries to stop him. He isn’t powerful on his own, he can’t stop bullets and he doesn’t always think things through. He is an every-man who ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Michelle Williams brings an excellent performance, partnering with Hardy to make Anne and Eddie’s relationship perfectly clear, while simultaneously not overstating anything. It isn’t a perfect relationship, the two of them don’t always see eye to eye, in essence; what is presented in Venom is not a typical “Hollywood Relationship.” Instead, it is a Human relationship. They make mistakes, they hurt each other, but at the end of the day, they make each other better. As for the rest of the main cast…
Elon Musk + Less powerful Thanos + The Pilot from Rogue One = Carlton Drake?
The superhero movies of 2018 have had many larger-than-life villains. From Thanos to Ghost and even to an extent Killmonger, many of the villains have had something that makes the thought of them entering the real world unthinkable. The Opposite is true of Carlton Drake. He is very much a combination of Tesla CEO and space-enthusiast Elon Musk, and the biggest baddie of 2018, Thanos. Both Drake and Musk are powerful business men who want to make the world better and believe space exploration is the only answer. Both are willing to take risks and try unconventional means to achieve their goals. The key difference is that while one of them helped revolutionize rocket landing, the other one tried to bond alien parasites to humans.
As with Thanos, Drake believes that the world is dying. Ironically, they both blame, at least in part, overpopulation for the world’s oncoming demise. Both think their means are justified, and show willingness to sacrifice everything to accomplish their goals. The key distinction between these two is that 8-foot tall purple aliens do not exist at the time of this review, while Space-Faring business men are a space parasite away from making Carlton Drake a reality.
Did anyone get a CGI Chin?
When the first trailer released for Venom, Fans were quite reasonably worried due to a lack of completed CGI. Fortunately, by the time of the film’s release, the CGI has been completed and looks quite incredible. Each of the Symbiotes look amazing, being both writing, sentient, masses of alien substance and sticky goop all at once. The titular Symbiote, although he lacks his spider insignia that fans of the comics know and love, still looks outstanding. He towers over any human he encounters, his tongue might be the single most comic-accurate body part in the history of film, and he is overall a terrifying presence. When fully suited up, Drake’s Symbiote buddy Riot looks amazing and disgusting all at once. Where Venom is smooth and covered in veins, Riot is hard, almost looking like he is made of rocks, with indentations everywhere. Where Venom has a large, almost gelatinous body, Riot has spikes everywhere, and no part of him looks like it can transform into a weapon until it does.
How did they make a Venom Movie without Spider-Man?
Arguably one of the biggest pitfalls of the movie is the fact that it remains outside of the MCU, and by extent, it lacks a major player in Venom’s traditional Origin. In the comics, Venom is originally the black suit donned by Spider-Man during the Original Secret Wars arc. Eventually, Spidey and the Suit separate, the symbiote finds a distraught Eddie Brock, the two bond, and go after Spider-Man. Without a Spider-Man, fans had to wonder: How could there be a Venom? While the character’s revised origins do well enough for the film, they still aren’t Spider-Man tearing the suit off, a fact that is sure to sour fans of the comics, but hopefully one that does not keep them from enjoying the rest of the film.
Ok, So the Acting is fine. How is the dialogue?
While moments like Eddie and Venom interacting have enough comedic timing to be amusing and Hardy delivers lines with confidence, most of the dialogue for Venom is appallingly bad. While most of the time, the dialogue is passable, anytime Venom tries to go for dark humor and make a crack about eating someone, everything falls apart. The first time, it is passable, but afterwards, the dialogue ends up describing itself perfectly: “A turd in the wind.”
Music. How’s the Music?
With Black Panther composer Ludwig Goransson helming Venom’s score, fans knew that the end result would be spectacular. The soundtrack incorporates lots of rap beats, and even feature both Run the Jewels and the real slim shady himself, Eminem. Beyond those two, nothing quite stands out on the soundtrack. It is just a solid, well put together soundtrack that blends well with the movie.
This thing is close to two hours long. How’s the pacing of the plot?
Venom should receive praise for its swift opening. Within five minutes, fans are acquainted with Eddie, Anne, and Carlton, the plot is in full-swing, and everything seems to be going smoothly. Unfortunately, the movie then slows down drastically, only to immediately go back to full speed as soon as Eddie meets Venom. This ends up leading to some massive issues with the timing, and several plot points that are rushed over in truly astounding speed, all of which is discussed at length below:
The Movie Ends… What’s Worth Waiting Around For?
If the rushed plot, borderline disastrous dialogue, and lack of Spider-Man existing in this universe were enough to make a fan storm out of theater mid-movie, then they missed some amazing things.
While the most hardcore of Marvel fans might not enjoy Venom, it is by no means a bad movie. It has a similar feel to the famous Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies. They are much like comic-books: a little bit of everything to please fans of all genres, some great action, a bit of horror, and some stunning visuals all wrapped up with some corny dialogue. And while Venom doesn’t quite stand strong in the Dialogue department, in the action and visuals, Venom was outstanding. Had the dialogue been better, and the plot more complete, this would have been one of the great comic-book movies. Despite these flaws, Venom is still greatly amusing and well worth a trip to the theater to see.