Journalist Eddie Brock is trying to take down Carlton Drake, the notorious and brilliant founder of the Life Foundation. While investigating one of Drake’s experiments, Eddie’s body merges with the alien Venom — leaving him with superhuman strength and power. Twisted, dark and fueled by rage, Venom tries to control the new and dangerous abilities that Eddie finds so intoxicating. – Sony Pictures Releasing
Venom was directed by Ruben Fleischer and written by Scott Rosenberg, Jeff Pinkner, and Kelly Marcel based on the Spider-Man character Venom. Yeah, the very Venom whose origin heavily relies on Spider-Man — Spider-Man is not in the movie.
I absolutely hate hate hate having to start a review off by saying “oh this movie isn’t as bad as everyone is saying” but that’s how I have to in the day and age of Rotten Tomatoes. Seriously, this movie isn’t the steaming pile of dog shit movie critics seem to want you to think it is. It’s not great but it’s 100% watchable and very entertaining at parts — it’s in the camp of it’s so bad it’s good.
Venom is essentially a paint by numbers superhero origin story which is probably why people are comparing it the superhero films of 2004. A thing happens, we meet the good guy and the bad guy, they have a conflict, the good guy is down on his luck, gets powers, beats bad guy who has same powers, stuff gets better for good guy. That’s the movie. Which can work sometimes but not in this cause. The story here isn’t all that compelling, it almost feels like parts of the movie are missing. Venom is a not as good version of Upgrade which was phenomenal, one of my favorite films of the year.
The bland story isn’t what really makes this movie falter, it’s the tonal inconsistencies. I’m a big fan of genre mixing, and Venom tries to incorporate my three favorite genres, action, comedy and horror. The just don’t mesh well, you can’t tell when the movie is trying to be scary or funny and I often I laughed at parts that weren’t supposed to be funny. Which is fine, I guess — that helped me enjoy the movie. But Venom just did not know what it wanted to be, kinda like the actual character, hero or villain, horror or comedy.
Venom definitely is an action movie, that is for sure. There’s fighting, gun fights and a big boss fight, all the stuff you’d expect. And you know what? It’s all pretty enjoyable because Venom, the character looks great. He is huge and menacing and kinda scary — the way he should be. Venom is missing the spider symbol, but I can get over it and I have. Venom is a CGI character, obviously and it looks like they spent all their money on making him look good because there are some scenes that straight up look like cutscenes from a PS2 game, again probably why people are comparing it to a 2004 movie.
To go with the weak script and poor CGI this movie is full of wasted talent and cringe worthy lines. The dialogue is super clunky and awkward which totally adds to the so bad it’s good camp — so I guess it’s a good thing. Tom Hardy is the titular Venom/Eddie Brock, and he absolutely carries this movie. He is given some of the weirdest dialogue and the man just puts his all into it with so much vigor and conviction, not to mention that he is playing different characters. Riz Ahmed is the only other actor given anything to do and he hams up the super villainy to 11. He was blatantly evil and up to no good but delivered on all counts of random evilness. As for Jenny Slate and Michelle Williams, who are both great in their own ways, are unfortunately both criminally underused.
My only other nitpick with the film is one that I can’t really discredit the film for is and that’s the portrayal of the Venom symbiote and its relationship with Eddie Brock. I’m a bit of a comic nerd and Venom is certainly one of my favorite characters. Lots of great stuff has been and is still happening with the character. Shout out to Donny Cates’s current run and the previous Agent Venom runs. Venom the symbiote is very jokey and kind of a dick in this movie. It’s hard to describe the personality of the symbiote in the comics but it’s not like that at all. This is a different take on the character and I will say it worked on screen. It just was not how I envisioned the character. With that being said the on-screen chemistry of the two was another saving grace of the film and of course there should be chemistry, Tom Hardy played em both.
A few more quick things. This probably should’ve been R-rated but I don’t think that would’ve changed much except adding blood and gore. Tom Hardy did say that like 40 minutes was cut so I expect a director’s cut for the Blu-ray release. Also, as I said the dialogue is bad like really bad, but it is so much fun quoting it. That’s all.
Wait hold on, one more thing. The Venom Eminem song is terrible. I can’t stop listening to it.
“Venom, (I got that) adrenaline momentum
And I’m not knowin’ when I’m
Ever gonna slow up and I’m
Ready to snap any moment I’m
Thinkin’ it’s time to go get ’em
They ain’t gonna know what hit ’em
(W-W-When they get bit with the—)”
Such powerful lyrics.
Alright that’s my review. This isn’t a great movie by any stretch but it’s not an abysmal piece of garbage. It’s batshit crazy and all over the place which in turn makes it enjoyable. Venom is likely going to become a fan favorite guilty pleasure movie. So, you should probably see it just to see it. I am 100% on board for a sequel.
I give Venom a 6 out of 10, would watch again.
“This meat is dead.”