Venom is a 2018 American superhero film based on a character from Marvel Comics who bears the same name. Directed by Ruben Fleischer, best known for movies such as Zombieland and Gangsta Squad, the movie follows a decorated journalist in Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) who gains superhuman abilities after he accidentally gets bound to an alien symbiote whose species plan on invading and taking over Earth.
Honestly, I don’t think there is a better suited actor out there who would have played Eddie brock much better than Tom Hardy did in this film. The British actor has a history of going all out with his roles case in point when he played Bane in a ‘little known’ Christopher Nolan film and Venom is most certainly not an exception. In essence, Hardy brought more to the table than Topher Grace did in Spider-Man 3; yes, maybe you could argue that the 2007 film had so much going on story-wise that it couldn’t quite focus on Eddie Brock as a character but that argument is more to deal with how he was written into that specific narrative. Topher’s acting performance as the New Yorker wasn’t as convincing as it should have been especially from a Marvel comic book fan’s point of view (me).
Fast-forward 11 years later, we finally see a much better, but not perfect, version of Eddie Brock; a self-absorbed journalist whose professional principle is to push boundaries and impede on others. It’s a principle that later on comes to bite him in the back as something far much intimidating and menacing invades him physically, mentally and psychologically in every sense of the words. The way Hardy carries out himself as this iconic fictional character pre-symbiosis and post-symbiosis got me considerably invested in his character. Eddie’s character arc in the movie is not praise-worthy to say the least as I will mention later on in this review but all in all, from what the actor could do with the material he had, I can confidently say that he knocked it off the park, care to object?
Riz Ahmed is not someone who I can immediately say I am well conversant with as far as his filmography is concerned and understandably so, he hasn’t been in a whole lot of notable movies much less in lead roles of notable movies. Riz’s acting, wasn’t that bad; needed a bit more polish in some areas but overall, he did what he could and I appreciated that facet of his portrayal.
From what I could pick up from the various trailers for Venom, his character Carlton Drake seemed like this generic corporate villain with twisted obsessions and values. My belief was that there was no way the movie would make what Carlton is all about be all that obvious in the final cut without throwing in some twists. Well, I don’t want to delve too much into that nonetheless you ought to know that I was disappointed; substantially.
Speaking of disappointed, Anne Weying played by Michelle Williams was yet another cliché character in this flick and her presence felt like a hologram if you know what I mean; visible but intangible. Basically, Anne is an independent woman, a love interest to Brock and just happens to be on board with delving into the crazy things that happen around him. We haven’t seen that kind of thing before, have we? Well, I can’t pick out a lot of movies where this has been employed from the top of my head but ‘Amazing Spiderman 2; Rise of Electro’ and ‘Transformers; The Last Knight’ should be enough examples to prove my point.
Much like Riz, the actress’s performance wasn’t that bad and for her particularly, I expected that because she has won me over on various other films most recently ‘Manchester by the Sea’
The Plot, Merits and Demerits.
Popular chatter around a considerable portion of the comic book community echoed one voice in relation to the live action adaptation of Venom; a voice that suggested the movie wouldn’t be as successful because it wasn’t part of the Spider-man universe much less the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That said, my burning question is how can we validate whether a movie is successful or not? Do we base it off a record-breaking opening weekend in the Box office where the said movie grosses more than double its entire production budget or do we base it off how good the essential elements were i.e. the direction, the cinematography, the production among others?
Well, being a film critic myself, you evidently know which side I am going to be on but that doesn’t mean that you have to side with me, especially on what I feel about this particular comic book adaptation assuming you have already watched it. Perhaps you enjoyed it in your own way and I get why you would. Personally speaking, all things considered, I enjoyed the movie but it failed me in many elements which I could not slip under the rug.
As a comic book fanatic myself as I have mentioned, I can indeed say that there are things that I saw I this film that aroused that fan-boy in me but when I considered how awful the story turned out to be, that fan-boy just disappeared in thin air. For spoiler related reasons of course, won’t to go into detail about what the true nature of the story is so in case you haven’t watched the flick please do and possibly come back to this platform and prove me otherwise if you think I am wrong. Prove to me why you think the story begins, progresses and ends in a conclusive and satisfactory manner.
It’s safe to say that I think highly of the acting performances but I equally think negatively of the writing for the main characters exclusively Eddie Brock. The movie chooses the exposition route with the journalist to get you up to speed on what he’s all about; for me, this wasn’t that big an issue because I have previously been exposed to the character but I can imagine how big an issue it must have been for someone who comes into this with a clean slate.
For a considerable portion of the 2nd Act, I liked what the movie was going for withhis character, delving deeper and deeper into his misgivings and why as an audience member you should be invested in him. In as much as on the surface, you’d be tempted to credit this on the character’s writing, I on the other hand would be more inclined to credit it on Hardy’s stellar acting performance.
I wasn’t a fan of the direction in some instances on here; the pacing of events was too fast especially in the opening scenes. The editing was unclean; there are a few scenes that added no weight to the plot and hence shouldn’t have been included. Lastly, this film suffers from ‘Spiderman 3’ syndrome. Why you ask? Well, just like the Sam Raimi film had one too many villains in its story, this Ruben Fleischer flick has one too many symbiotes. By the way if in any case you aren’t conversant with the fictional extra-terrestrial species called the symbiotes then you might as well look them up because me giving you a backstory about them would make this review longer than it already is.
The film has a fair few other upsides as well which I duly won’t leave out. *The cinematography is amazing; the camera work used here provided a lot of needed emphasis on what was going on in the moment most notably during a certain car chase scene. *Additionally, through Riz Ahmed’s character, I liked how the film addressed the extent certain people in power are willing to go solve problems that face humanity irrespective of whether collateral damage is involved.*The lighting was good; every scene felt authentically lit. *The movie wasn’t too quick to show the ultimate form of the Venom symbiote after it had bonded with Eddie; there was an air of suspense to it and I enjoyed that. *Lastly, I loved how comical the Venom-Brock relationship was portrayed; I got a few laughs out of it.
To conclude, I’d say just be on the look-out for a Venom sequel because audiences so far, I included, have given Sony Pictures a good enough reason to warrant one given the motion-picture’s early success. The way I see it, a film might gross a trillion dollars in the Box Office for all I care but as long as it has poor plot, which by the way is the back-bone of any movie, then it’s a fail for me. It’s just the way it is; I’m just a messenger.