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As with any spoiler review, please be prepared for...well spoilers. Kinda a given. So look no further if you haven’t seen yet and want to find out yourself.
WE ARE VENOM. WE....are about to seriously pick this movie apart so don’t carry on scrolling if you want zero spoilers.
Right, so presumably, you’ve seen Venom, and presumably, you know it has its flaws. Venom has the cast and flesh for a great cinematic experience, but unfortunately, there are some falls. Tom Hardy is brilliant as a grizzlier Eddie Brock than we are used to (sorry Topher Grace, it’s true) and he also lands it well as the voice and physical inspiration for alien symbiote, Venom. However, when they eventually come together, they cause issues in the story.
Brock is done as a risky, committed reporter who will do anything for a story; the makings of a good story. He falls from grace after stealing his fiancé’s (played by Michelle Williams) legal information on the secretly sinister Life Foundation, ran by the smarmy Carlton Drake (played by the powerful Riz Ahmed). This leads to him losing his lover AND his job.
Jump forward six months and Eddie is struggling for a job, Anne Weying (Michelle Williams) has moved on to another man and the Life Foundation is carrying out experiments on alien organisms being called ‘symbiotes’. This leads to a Life Foundation employee (that is easily forgettable) going to Brock for help, which causes an inevitable infiltration of Carlton Drake’s facility to dig up dirt on him, which brings in a horror-esque few scenes that brings Brock into contact with his symbiote counterpart. The horror scenes inside the Life Foundation really pick up the pace of the Venom movie and bring in the foreshadowing of a dark character that EVENTUALLY takes centre stage.
Brock’s initial bonding with Venom is as you would expect any cinematic metamorphosis to take place, much in the fashion of Peter Parker being bit by a spider or David Tennant regenerating into Matt Smith.
Then...FINALLY...Venom shows up in the (believe it or not) Venom movie, and is as you would expect; dark, horrific, and terrifying. But this is where the movie falls apart.
When Venom initially greets Brock, it makes for a great back and forth for the rest of the movie, but in their sudden change of heart towards each other after like...a day of knowing one another, become besties. The symbiote greets Eddie by saying he plans to control Earth and if Eddie obeys him hey MAY survive. Pretty sinister right? Then, give it half an hour, Venom is prepared to turn on his symbiote brothers and sisters because Eddie “changed his mind”. I understand Venom and Eddie share one mind and so Venom would instantly have a sort of connection with Mr. Brock, but to completely turn your ideals after being in his head a day? It doesn’t land well. It doesn’t give the Venom movie the reason for Venom saving the day the justice it deserves.
That is pretty much the biggest problem I have with the movie. That and how two-thirds of the Venom movie take place over 24 hours which kind of quickens the pacing of the story in a negative way. But let's put that aside and look at the positive. The Venom movie gives comic book fans some real treats. It, quite unexpectedly, brings in She-Venom. For committed comic book fans, they will know that Williams’ character, Anne Weying, is She-Venom in the comics. I, like many, didn’t expect to see Weying’s alter ego during this film, but god dammit we do! An unexpected scene sees Anne join with the symbiote to save her ex-boyfriend’s life, which from looking around the room I watched the movie in, wowed a lot of people...especially in that moment that the symbiote moved back into Eddie’s body from Anne through a big juicey kiss.................disturbing, I know.
Speaking of Anne Weying, the way her characterisation was handled seemed pretty much perfect. Anne dumped Eddie, and six months later, had naturally fallen in love with someone else. Although she comes to the aid of Eddie through the remainder of the story, she doesn’t actually get back together with him, acting like more of a confidant. This does her character justice in a big way. There have been too many superhero films where the leading lady has broken up with the male lead and they have reconciled by the film’s end. This breaks the stereotype and shows that these characters don’t need to be in love to interact well and have a connection to carry on potentially through a franchise.
Carlton Drake is played by Ahmed brilliantly. He gives off the public persona that makes school field trips to his facility and his employees think he is the second coming. But then you get him into a experimental lab and he is ready to risk life after life to research how symbiotes can strengthen the human race. Ironically, he is destroying people’s lives to help with the longevity of humanity. Then we have Drake’s joining with the symbiote ring leader, Riot.
This leads to the climax of the movie that sees Riot and Venom go head to head. The special effects are of a high standard in this Venom movie, as you would expect in a film where the title character is computer generated. The only downfall is that Riot deserved much more screen time and his death seemed too rushed.
The film ends on two points that were pretty predictable. We all saw that mugger rob tough-as-nails Mrs. Chan in her own convenience store as a powerless Eddie stood by and watched. So just before the big fight of the movie you can kind of predict that the film is going to end with a replay of that situation, this time Venom intervenes (as seen in the trailer) and bites the mugger’s head off and Mrs. Chan stands there doing nothing. Would you not call the police even though he saved your life? Bit of a flopped ending, except for Eddie and Venom’s final bicker before the credits role.
Then there’s predictable point numero dos (that’s “number two” in espanic...that means...oh this is going off topic). It’s a Marvel film, so it’s law nowadays for mid-credit and post-credit scenes to be shown, and boy is Venom’s a doozy...even though the cat was let out out of the bag before the film’s release. The mid-credit scene shows Eddie venturing to San Quentin prison to interview none other than Cletus Kasady, the ever-famous symbiote Carnage. Comic fans of course know Carnage is a big time enemy of both Spider-Man AND Venom. He is played by Woody Harrelson, which Harrelson himself actually let slip in an interview before the film was released when he assumed it was public knowledge that he was playing the part. Harrelson was great to see as the nutty-looking Kasady and if a sequel is made, he’ll do a terrific job as a chief villain.
Overall, the film does deserve a sequel. It has moments that are flat and it needs to learn from its mistakes, but it needs a chance. The film kind of felt like this decade’s Ghost Rider and I don’t want it to give us a sequel like that film did. Marvel needs to take their time with the next Venom movie if it gets green-lit. From this fan, the film gets 6.9/10. Hardy, come back as Eddie Brock. Venom, be a bit more evil. Sony, involve Kevin Feige and you won’t go wrong.
Venom is in cinemas worldwide now.