Thursday, January 3, 2019



This is a film that I didn't really believe would actually happen. It was a rather silly concept, and it was stuck in development for so long. A movie centering around a Spider-Man villain? Really? What could they possibly do with that? Oddly enough, apparently there is some interest among comic book fans for seeing movies centered around more villainous types. I can't see the appeal in that, in general. The biggest reason for this is that it generally becomes difficult to root for or like these type of--ahem--protagonists. Now, being an antihero can work if it's done correctly. But it was hard to see how it could be done here, especially for a guy who hadn't read the comics and whose only exposure to Venom was Spider-Man 3.

But the point is, I didn't believe the film would ever happen. I figured it would just be stuck in what they call "development hell" for all eternity; kind of like the X-Men Gambit film in the same genre. But now Venom has finally happened. (And Gambit might happen? Maybe? Who knows?) And it's... not as bad as it could have been. But that's probably one of the best compliments I have for it.

In this version of Venom, in a world where Spider-Man is nowhere to be seen, Eddie Brock is once again a reporter. And not a very good one; Tom Hardy's version of Brock is quite impulsive and it gets him fired. And he loses his fiancee. So he's down on his luck until, through a series of crazy events, gets bonded with the symbiote Venom. And he and the rest of his symbiote buddies (there are a few other ones on Earth) want to destroy Earth and eat its inhabitants. Nice, right?

Now, here Brock and Venom are two distinct personalities. Venom is actually a voice inside Brock's head; and one time he briefly detaches himself to speak to Brock face-to-face in some ghost-like form. This is actually executed pretty well; there's some pretty nice levity resulting from some of the dialogue between these two.

The problem here is that the movie takes a surprisingly long time to get going. It takes 35 minutes for Brock to get bonded with the symbiote. And it takes about 20-25 *more* minutes before Venom actually makes himself known via the "look" that we're used to from him. And about 30 minutes later... it's over.

Now Venom himself actually is pretty cool. But the problem is everything you have to sit through before the cool stuff finally starts happening. Basically all the characters in this movie are idiots. Brock himself isn't that enjoyable of a character, even if he isn't the weaselly jerk that Topher Grace's version of the character was. What makes it worse is that they seem to have no idea what kind of character Brock is. Is he an idiot? Is he smart? Is he down on his luck or does he have enough money to give handouts to random people? The movie has no idea. Also, I have no idea what kind of accent Hardy is trying to do for the character of Brock; it really doesn't work.

Furthermore, the plot is pretty stupid. The bad guy (the human bad guy, anyway) wants to merge humans with symbiotes and send them all into space because the planet is about to die. And then he's all too willing to give up the planet to the symbiote Riot when he shows up.

Now, some of the action scenes are pretty fun. The fight between Venom and Riot is pretty cool, even if it devolves into some silly CGI by the end. Venom dispatching some human minions by way of various methods like throwing them into each other is also fun. The car/motorcycle chase of the movie does not fare as well. It brings to mind Mission: Impossible 2 at one point, of all things.

Venom actually does partially succeed at making Brock and Venom people we don't feel too bad rooting for in this movie. That's probably one of the tougher tasks in a movie like this. Unfortunately, aside from some of the action scenes and visual effects, the movie gets just about everything else wrong. The script is laughable. You can kind of tell at times that this movie stinks of troubled production.

Even though they were able to succeed at making Venom an antihero (in a way), this still feels like an unnecessary movie. Maybe I'm in the minority of comic-book-movie fans, but a Venom movie would never have been on the shortlist of movies I'd ask for. As previously said, it's certainly not as bad as it could have been. And hardcore fans of the genre/character could probably do worse with their time. But the casual viewer can safely skip out on this.