Venom: Movie Review

Directed by: Ruben Fleischer

Cast: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Jenny Slate

Run-time: 2hr and 20 min Rated PG-13

Check out the trailer here

Venom has been a “dark horse” of sorts pretty much since it was announced a few years ago. The thought of Sony making a stand alone film with one of Spider-Man’s most popular foes without everyone’s favorite wall-crawler even making an appearance seemed destined for failure. The movie’s outlook improved only slightly when the talented Tom Hardy was announced as taking on the lead role of investigative journalist turned alien powered anti-hero: Eddie Brock.

Fast forward to 2018 and we are now into the third week of its theatrical run. Despite opening to a more than expected thrashing by movie critics, something unexpected has happened. Venom is actually a damn fun time.

As word of mouth spreads, Venom has broken records and become a box office hit (currently having raked in over $400 million).

I went in expecting to be disappointed with a mediocre action CGI-fest and was shocked at how much I enjoyed the film. Not only that, but I’m also looking forward to the already announced sequel.

Let me be clear: Venom is light years behind 95% of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with a clunky story that suffers from several issues.

Despite that, the movie makes you look past all of its flaws with a relatable anti-hero and his strange but endearing bond with Venom that is entertaining to see develop. It’s a solid attempt on Sony’s part of bringing the character to the big screen and a hell of a lot better than the garbage we were given, shoe-horned in at the end of 2007’s Spider-Man 3 (I’m looking at you, Topher Grace):

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It’s no secret that Hardy is a brilliant actor and he was a smart choice for Eddie Brock. While I’m a huge fan of his work normally, I was definitely questioning the decision based on the first trailer, as the accent he was going for didn’t seem to work nor did he come across as a believable reporter.

Now, having seen the movie, I think a lot of that was a result of poor editing choices in the trailer. He feels like a much better fit in the actual film, minus a few scenes, and actually has a sort of awkward charm that helps make his character relatable and endearing. The first trailer also butchered the pronounciation of “symbiote,” but I was releaved to see they fixed it for the film.

Interestingly, he’s also the voice of Venom, proving once again he’s the cinematic master of weird voices. Hardy explained in an interview how they created and implemented Venom’s voice into the scenes.

The relationship / bonding moments between Eddie and Venom are hands down the most enjoyable parts of the movie. The interactions are so fun that it’s a shame more time was devoted to pre-Venom setup and not more so to these moments.

This a long movie at 2hrs and 20 mins, but the time flies by. Another 15-20 more mins of Eddie and Venom time would not have been a bad thing.

The rest of the cast worked but could have been better. Riz Ahmed was a supreme dick as the villanous head of the “Life Foundation”, though he really never came across as menacing or as powerful as he was supposed to be. He’s just a dick…with money to waste on irrational science experiments.

Michelle Williams and Jenny Slate were fine, but could have been given more to do. Williams, who plays Eddie’s girlfriend, does have one awesome moment towards the 3rd act but by time you realize what’s happening, it’s over.

Riz Ahmed as Carlton Drake, head of the Life Foundation.
Jenny Slate as Dr Skirth.
Michelle Williams as Eddie’s girlfriend Anne Weying.

The action scenes are well done and there are a couple solid fights. A car chase involving Venom made for some great stunts and effects. I do think Venom would have benefited from an R rating. I understand that the studio wants to make as much money as possible, however this is another example where the more adult rating fits the character. Movies like Logan and Deadpool prove if done right, studios can still make tons of money with an R rating.

I think much of the negative reviews by critics comes from not really understanding the personality of the source material. Possibly, they went in expecting a dark and gritty film, almost bordering horror and didn’t know what to do with the hybrid action/comedy with an alien creature making childish jokes about eating people. He does have an off kilter sense of humor and some of Venom’s comedic lines were actually ripped straight from the comics:

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The plot is the movie’s biggest stumbling block. It isn’t terrible…but it isn’t amazing either. It feels like a trip back in time to a 90’s superhero flick. That may be in large part due to the director drawing heavily from the 1993 Venom comic arc “Lethal Protector.” The issue is this story features Spidey in the comics and you can tell Sony stumbled around trying to figure out how to redo the story without him. They actually did a respectable job all things considered, but it is hard not to think about how much better it could have been.

With the financial success of this one maybe the sequel could have a least a guest appearance from Spider-Man…if only long enough for Venom to gain his signature white symbol and ability to shoot his own version of webs.

There are two after credits scenes: the one at the very end is only worth watching if you’re interested in Sony’s upcoming “Into the Spider-Verse” Animated film as there’s a short clip for it.

I won’t spoil who the actor is, but the middle credits scene is where it’s at, teasing the villain of the Venom sequel: Cletus Kasady aka Carnage.

Final Verdict

Overall, while Venom could have been a much better movie and has several issues, the relationship between Eddie and Venom makes you forget the film’s short comings and just have a great time.


Cinematic Quality: 3.5 out of 5

Fun Factor: 4.5 out of 5

Worth the price of admission: 3.5 out of 5

Re-watch Value: 3.5 out of 5

Overall Score – 3.75 body part Venom snacks out of 5

VENOM Trailer Reaction

Here it is ladies and gentlemen; the first look at the infamous Venom movie, starring Tom Hardy:

So this trailer doesn’t actually reveal much; just establishes some foundation for Tom Hardy’s character Eddie Brock, who is clearly having a rough time. The trailer does establish a nice suspense, almost horror vibe. I would have liked to have seen just a quick look of him as Venom, but the trailer at least shows enough to make you want more…which isn’t that the goal?

Hardy is a fantastic actor and also a master of voices, but I can’t decide if I like what he’s doing here yet or not. He sounded better as the trailer progressed, but those first couple lines just sounded a little weird for me.

There are some interesting shots throughout the trailer though. The beginning starts with what seems like a very serene mountain location and ends up being just the opposite: Hardy in some type of facility, having tests run. The camera trick is a nice touch, and is an ironic play on what’s most likely about to happen to him.

Also worth noting is that most of the shots of Hardy are looking at his back, as he walks around like a brawler who’s expecting to have to fight at any moment. These are some silent cues as to how Hardy will play the character.

Their are a lot of doubts floating around right now about this Sony made Marvel movie, and while it’s still too early to tell if the movie will be any good, I think this trailer is at least a small step in the right direction.

Who is Venom?

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A very quick rundown for those not familiar: Venom is essentially the name given to the result of an alien creature called a Symbiote, bonding with a human host for survival. The Symbiote looks like squirming black goo, and once it overtakes its host’s body, the two become one symbiotic creature, known as Venom.

Venom enhances the abilities of whatever host it’s joined with. Due to its first host being Spider-Man, any future versions of Venom take on all of Peter Parker’s abilities. Eddie Brock is the most well known host the Symbiote has joined with, however there have been several others. Primarily a villain in the Marvel world, there have been quite a few instances of him taking on more of an anti-hero role (which is closer to what we’ll see with Tom Hardy here).

An even darker and more powerful Symbiote creature named Carnage is rumored to be the main villain of the of the movie. This Symbiote bonds with a lunatic in the comics named Cletus Kasaday (originally modeled after DC’s Joker, if that tells you anything about his personality) While Venom represents the dark side of Brock, Carnage takes things to another level: a truly psychotic and blood thirsty creature with absolutely no morals.

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So What’s the Story Going to Be?

Promised to be “as true the the comics as possible,” the story will be based on 2 different Venom story arcs:

Lethal Protector

Planet of the Symbiotes

Both titles see Venom actually team up with Spider-Man to take on other Symbiotes. This all has posed a very important question fans want answered: will we see Spider-Man in Venom? After all, it seems almost wrong to have a movie devoted to one of Spidey’s greatest “frenemies” without the web-slinger himself. There’s been a lot of back and forth on that subject. First, there was an emphatic no; this Venom exsists in a separate universe from that of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, now it’s being at least rumored that Tom Holland could be in the film in some form. Either way, if he is in the film, it will most likely be a minor role.

What are your thoughts? Are you excited or will not even the great Tom Hardy with the clever promotional hashtag #wearevenom keep the movie from flopping? Time will tell for sure.

Venom is set to release October 5