One of Marvel’s greatest and most complex characters takes center stage as Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) becomes the host for the alien symbiote Venom. As a journalist, Eddie has been trying to take down the notorious founder of the Life Foundation, genius Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) – and that obsession ruined his career and his relationship with his girlfriend, Anne Weying (Michelle Williams). Upon investigating one of Drake’s experiments, the alien Venom merges with Eddie’s body, and he suddenly has incredible new superpowers, as well as the chance to do just about whatever he wants. Twisted, dark, unpredictable, and fueled by rage, Venom leaves Eddie wrestling to control dangerous abilities that he also finds empowering and intoxicating. As Eddie and Venom need each other to get what they’re looking for, they become more and more intertwined — where does Eddie end and Venom begin?
Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, and Tom Hardy all deliver with their performances. Tom Hardy actually delivers double duty with playing both Eddie and the voice of Venom. The physical acting from Hardy is also something that’s interesting as it’s noticeable that he’s giving a lot of effort into this character. I noticed physical mannerisms such as some nervous ticks, fidgeting of the hands, and also the way that Eddie verbally stutters during different circumstances and situations. Hardy has dug deep to make Eddie a well developed character for fans to watch. Michelle and Riz are as important because their characters are focal points of the film from beginning to end. Riz Ahmed is the CEO of the Life foundation and something of a matured child prodigy. He’s a predictable villain but has just enough charisma and charm to make it acceptable. Michelle flourishes in her character as Venom does away with the typical damsel in distress trope. Michelle’s character, Anne, is no pushover and doesn’t take shit from anyone.
See what I did there? I noticed that the use of adult language is mature in the movie. The Movie doesn’t (often) blurt foul language merely for shock value like Deadpool. The movie typically uses adult language in an organic way which puts it more in company with Logan dialogue wise. I love this maturity to the movie. The dialogue adds to the immersion while watching adding a bit more tension to certain scenes. The character of Venom himself is the immature one and is noticeable with his use of language. To me, Venom talks almost like a teenager going as far to call Eddie a pussy. I assume that Venom sounding immature is intentional to allude to the age of the symbiote and that could be a thing.
Let’s talk about that moment when you realize that Eddie is helpless when it comes to his symbiote. At some point it sinks in that there’s nothing Eddie can voluntarily do to separate himself from Venom. Technically, Eddie is being held hostage by a being who can read his mind and control his body. Venom actually talks shit to Eddie about this fact and flaunts his power. I love that they’re emphasizing that the symbiote is sentient and has his own agenda. I’m terrified for Eddie who doesn’t seem to ever voluntarily bond with Venom at any point.
The pacing at the beginning of the movie moves at a ‘blink and you miss it’ rapid pace. I didn’t care for this pacing because there was a lot of info to digest in a little bit of time. The Movie takes little time establishing Eddie’s pre-symbiote circumstances in life outside of maybe a montage or short scenes with brief dialogue. As a result I didnt understand the weight of Eddie’s betrayal to his fiancee Anne. In fact, there’s very little initial development or exposure to the relationship of Eddie and Anne. I think it’s more than a little weird that we’re introduced to Eddie and Anne right as they’re about to break up. Not seeing them at their height made it a short fall to see Eddie hit rock bottom. This utter lack of interest in the writers part to foster this relationship affects crucial scenes. The weight of Eddie’s betrayal doesn’t sink in until the consequences hit. I had no idea this isn’t something Eddie hadn’t done before and so it makes sense that the engagement is off.
The Venom symbiote is known for being the evil mirror villain for Spider-Man. Venom without Spider-Man or any of his powers or influence leaves us with a strange shell of a hero. The Venom design is too plain and doesn’t have anything visually pleasing about his look. We get the cool teeth and white eyes but without a spider-symbol or anything then Venom is just a carnivorous black glob that cant web swing. That’s cool too but man is this a let down.
The story is beyond formulaic at this point. As a result the movie is entirely predictable and forces the movie to rely on the spectacle of the visuals. You will guess everything that will happen and be right from beginning to end for the most part. There are a couple of surprises but nothing earth shattering to be found. Venom first movie made me think of the first Iron Man and Iron Monger. The only difference here is that the pacing of the film didn’t allow Venom any cool montages where he just fights crime regularly. To be fair, Venom has little time to even contemplate the concept as he’s perpetually on the run from the Life foundation.
The action scenes are quite nice but there are times when you want the movie to just go full horror. There are really creative uses of the symbiote in the movie including the well publicized motorcycle scene and what makes these scenes cool are the moments of graphic violence. I would have liked to see more of these moments on screen but the movie doesn’t cross that line. I don’t think we actually see Venom eat someone on screen but we know it’s happening. Venom terrifies people on sight but we don’t get the rampaging alien that’s almost teased throughout the movie.
The acting was really good. Not like, “Academy Award” good but totally in the “not terrible like Ghost Rider(s)” category. Tom Hardy pulling off these weird American accents tickles me all the time. I can’t quite identify what accent he’s going for in the movie, but it’s clearly not his own! That’s good acting, right(?)! Riz Ahmed and Michelle Williams deliver pretty adequate performances as well that walk the line of ‘not terrible’ and ‘not amazing’.
The mirror villain is cliche now and we’ve idea used more often. When we get force fed Riot as a villain it makes the movie’s third act consequentially feel like filler. The entire first 2 acts of Venom develop Eddie and Venom as complimenting egos seeking a greater purpose. The 3rd act of the movie is just stuff that happens in between Venom’s real ending and the after credits scenes. This is an exaggeration but believe me this is how Venom makes you feel while watching.
Venom became that movie that I secretly began to root for toward release. Venom has produced a lot of momentum for itself and capitalized on those facts for some fun results. I liked Venom a great deal more than I expected. Were there problems? Some. Were they enough to make me not like the movie? Not at all, actually. As a standalone movie, Venom is fun and also funny. Eddie and Venom are a good ‘odd couple’ pairing. The movie makes me laugh with it’s own weird morbid sense of humor quite a bit and I look forward to re-watching Venom to pick up on anything I may have missed.
Also, a big concern of mine was just how Venom would look on screen. Visually Venom hits the mark with the size and look of Venom. He’s a massive character who looks terrifying. I love seeing people’s reactions when he threatens them because he looks and acts like a monster from outer space (😉).
- Weren’t there 5 symbiotes? What happened to the others?
- The astronauts’ name at the beginning of the movie was Jameson. Nice.
- Acting - 7/107/10
- Cinematography - 8/108/10
- Plot/Screenplay - 6/106/10
- Setting/Theme - 8/108/10
- Buyability - 9/109/10
- Recyclability - 6/106/10