The hype around the Venom film put it on a pedestal that set it up for failure. Throwing an incredible actor like Tom Hardy into the lead role in an attempt to overcome a poorly written script was a bad look.
Ultimately, Venom was everything that you’d expect from a movie based around a character that draws its identity from a superhero that wasn’t in the movie. It was loud, disorganized, and the special effects were subpar.
However, unlike other movie critics that absolutely trashed the film, I left the theatre with a smile on my face. I didn’t expect an amazing plot or phenomenal writing. Leave all of that for Spider-Man’s next solo movie.
Hardy’s Eddie Brock and the relationship he develops with Venom is fun to watch. The script doesn’t fully allow him to convince us that he’s an ex-reporter struggling with an alien parasite that yearns for living flesh, but he tries his best to bounce back during his time as his gigantic badass alter ego.
In the comics, the Venom symbiote is first introduced as Spider-Man’s ‘alien suit.’ When Peter finds out that the alien life form is evil he manages to separate himself from the creature, which eventually finds Brock as its next host. The film introduces the symbiotes with a lazily scripted spaceship crash that is never explained and it takes an eternity for Venom to start chomping heads.
When Venom and Brock finally achieve symbiosis, which is prefaced by a disgusting scene that depicts Hardy rummaging through his trash and biting into a maggot infested chicken leg, the movie starts to pick up a head of steam. Unfortunately, too much steam, as it jumps from scene to scene with little to no flow and struggles to give us a character to root for.
While the film’s overall writing is frankly garbage, the dialogue between Eddie and Venom is hilarious. In one particular scene where Venom saves Eddie from Carlton Drake and his goons, he asks the symbiote to explain his sudden change of heart. Venom replies, “On my planet, I am kind of a loser, like you.”
In another scene, while the duo is gearing up to fight the evil symbiote, Riot, Brock asks Venom how they stack up against the much bigger enemy. Venom growls, “This guy has shit that you’ve never seen before,” and explains that their chances are “pretty much zero.”
People who weren’t amused by Venom’s humor and the Eddie/Venom friendship need to lighten up. You can definitely be pissed about how that last fight scene went down though. The editing was clearly rushed and it’s impossible to tell what’s happening in the definitive Riot vs. Venom throw down. There’s eventually a freeze frame that shows both symbiotes and their hosts exchanging blows, but after that, it’s more blur.
On the bright side, every other Venom related action scene is dope. When Drake’s henchmen storm Eddie’s apartment Venom goes absolutely apeshit and shows his brutal power for the first time. That fight is followed by a motorcycle chase that goes on for way too long, but it was still enjoyable because of an awesome midair ‘snap Eddie back to his motorcycle with my tentacles’ move by Venom.
The best fight scene was undoubtedly between full Venom suit Eddie and a SWAT team that tries to take him down. Venom literally takes one of the cops by the leg and uses him as a club to beat the others senseless. It’s a shame that Eddie’s long-lost lover shows up and stops Venom before he can eat one of them whole.
Speaking of Eddie’s ex-fiance, Anne Weying (Michelle Williams) was the only unbearable part of the film. Her acting was horrendous and the synergy between her and Hardy was cringe-worthy. I overheard someone sitting next to me genuinely ask if Williams was dealing with some sort of health issue. Yeah, it was that bad.
Venom may not be every movie watcher’s cup of tea, but it was fun to watch and had a couple of great lines and scenes. Sometimes it’s okay to sit down and watch a fast-paced, simply written movie with crude humor.
It’s not a movie that I’m going to watch more than once, but I’d recommend that you go and see it for yourself. Just don’t go in expecting something as well put together as Black Panther or Infinity War.