Venom is the 2018 Sony/ Marvel film based on the comic book character of the same name. Released in October, Venom broke records and was loved by fans, the same love wasn’t shared by many critics, with it getting a rotten 29% score on the good old trusted Rotten Tomatoes. I give Venom a 6.5 out of 10 or a B-; and I do just want to explain that a 6.5 out of 10 is in not way a bad score, especially when you think about the reviewing system. My real short review is that Venom is a good film that is very flawed but you will definitely have fun with and become a fan of the title character. Honestly, it is just such a shame that it never went for the R rated aspect. A score of 6.5 out of 10 is quite a good score because Venom is in no way a bad film, but there are some huge problems I have with the film that I am not able to forgive no matter how much I liked the title character and loved the look and feel of the film.
QUICK SPOILER FREE REVIEW
When it comes to my quick, spoiler-free review, I honestly think Venom is a flawed film, that is able to stay afloat by not asking too many questions and a brilliant concept with a fantastic character. Tom Hardy carries the film, it is exactly what you would expect from him and it is in no way disappointing in that aspect. So, in the sense of an origin movie, Venom is good and it for some reason works – it just works even though it’s scenes, storytelling, editing and tone at times are a mess, it jumps from scene to scene with no real connection. It is fun and I had a good time, Venom looks cool (the visual effects are good and the scenes are well choreographed but there were problems like that final fight which I’ll forgive it) and I loved Venom and want to see more of him. The way it works is because it manages to make its audience forgive so much, because I am having so much fun with the character Venom and Tom Hardy, I am not sitting there thinking about how this is working. If the creators of Venom only want to take one thing on board for the sequel, it would be that no amount of Hardy and Venom can feel like ‘too much’, it doesn’t even need anybody else, that is how great I think Tom Hardy does.
Venom is such a complicated film, because the problems (as one may put it) isn’t even what we see but rather how we see it, Venom struggles in its tone. It seems as though everyone is taking it seriously, but every scene with Venom in makes me laugh, and it’s like the creators realised this and changed the whole appeal half way through and were never able to get it right. A key moment for me is one very early on in the film where Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock is angry because his neighbour is playing loud music, and he stands there like a kid and has a tantrum. I couldn’t stop laughing, even though I don’t think that is something I should’ve been doing, The storytelling also has problems, as I will come to explain later, it is a two hour film and still seems rushed – even though the film doesn’t feel like it has started until Venom shows up, and is actually quite fast paced – I was not aware it was a two hour film. Venom does manage to do its title character justice after the mess that was Spider-Man 3, and clears something up because I didn’t quite see how they were going to be able to build a franchise off of this.
But, my score of 6.5, means quite a lot of the film is unforgivable, but – as I have said so many times, it is just because I have had time to reflect upon it. The actual story of it never feels committed to one thing, as I will explain later, it seems as though there are two villain angles the film tries to take, and one of them really doesn’t pay off as the storytelling doesn’t balance any of them well enough. Michelle Williams does surprisingly well if I was being honest, I would have like to have seen more of her, but as the main characters love interest (which so many of the supporting roles in superhero origins are reduced to) she has a decent story when compared to the rest of the side characters, and is quite a well-developed character. And although I only really love Venom, another of my favorite things is the portrayal of Eddie’s love rival Dan Lewis, the new doctor boyfriend of Eddie’s ex-fiancé Anne, he turns out to be a good guy which is all so rare, once again – a confusing tonal shift. Riz Ahmed as the villain, is more muddy water which I will go into detail about later, it isn’t that he is bad – but more that he is kinda useless in the grand scheme of things and it seems that any-time Venom isn’t on the screen we are wasting time. There are other side characters who are honestly useless and its clear the writers didn’t know what to do with them.
This spoiler review won’t really add anything much to the spoiler-free one, but will just allow me to talk about the problems this film had freely. I have already explained the best part of it all is Tom Hardy and Venom, and have already named the problems behind the camera. So, in the spoiler review, I will be talking about problems I had with the story. And, the main problems I had with the film stem from its logic. I’m bringing back an old favourite of mine that I used to do in all my posts. Because there are literally a million questions that could be asked I am just going to name a few
- Doesn’t the host symbiote kill the body?
- Weren’t there four symbiotes?
- Why does it take six months for Riot to travel to the airport?
- If Venom is killing Eddie, him leaving the body should kill him, no?
- Or Venom leaving Eddie should return Eddie to the state he was when he fell of the bike with all the broken limbs, no?
- How exactly did Anne and Venom work?
- How did Riot survive in so many bodies? Drake couldn’t get any to work with his one.
- I’m guessing Riot is compatable with Drake’s body?
- Knew Drake was the one in charge somehow, and he had to go to him to get all his people down?
- And knew to travel to San Francisco to take over his body, yes?
And, now – let’s talk about the side-characters more in-depth and the villain. Riz Ahmed is an actor I really like, I loved him in Four Lions and I liked him in Rogue One, but his character in this film is so typical and useless. He isn’t the big bad, but rather just a vessel for the real baddie – Riot and any development the first hour and a half of the movie sets up for him (as muddy as it may be) is all thrown out of the window in the end. Drake doesn’t really have anything to do, and it just the most cliché baddie. I don’t want to say the same thing as so many other critics, but it honestly feels like this film isn’t aware of the quality of superhero films released in this day and age and feels like it was made more than ten years ago. Michelle Williams is the only other decent character in this movie (as explained) and with her, her boyfriend, all the other characters are useless. The doctor that was in love (?) with Drake, dies and I was honestly happy, because she was one of the most annoying characters I had seen in a film.
As, I have said many times in this review, Venom is a good film but it is flawed both in front of the camera and behind the camera, from its storytelling to its tonal shifts – it is incredibly flawed. However, it is saved in a performance from Tom Hardy and in some way is able to work.