A Case For Venom: As Bad As You Remember?
Review – Venom (2018)
Directed by: Ruben Fleischer
Produced by: Avi Arad, Tom Hardy & Stan Lee
Written by: Jeff Pinker & Scott Rosenberg
Starring: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams & Riz Ahmed
Release Date: October 3rd 2018 (UK)
I shouldn’t have enjoyed revisiting Venom for review anywhere near as much as I did. I remember when the film first came out not being on-board with it at all going in. I wasn’t interested in a Spiderman-less Spiderman universe and the trailers didn’t exactly sell me on it either. It looked like they were messing with the origin of Venom too much and the action set pieces didn’t look too impressive. Then there was the fact that the review embargo was only lifted a day before the movie’s release, then there were the terrible reviews. All of this led to me going into the film with a morbid curiosity and expecting a total mess.
However, I am happy to report that after I saw Venom for the first time, it actually really pleasantly surprised me and I had a ton of fun with it and I even had fun whilst re-watching it a second for this review!
When I heard that Tom Hardy was playing Eddie Brock, I was really gutted because I think that he would have been the perfect choice for the MCU’s Wolverine. I also thought that this was going to be a mistake in terms of Hardy’s career; out of all of the superhero movies he could have been a part of, he chose Venom? I was happy to be proven wrong, Hardy was great in both his role as Eddie Brock and as Venom. He was funny, scary and heartfelt at all the right moments and it always looked like he was having a good time whilst playing the character.
This movie did remind me a lot of Upgrade, which was also a Sci-fi movie released in 2018 with a protagonist who gains a voice in his head and extraordinary powers that he doesn’t have any control over. Coincidentally Tom Hardy also looks strikingly similar to the lead actor in Upgrade; Logan-Marshall Green. If I had to compare the two movies, I personally preferred Upgrade, but I still had a lot of fun with both of them.
And that’s the best thing about this movie, it is fun. Sure, it’s not a comic book accurate Venom origin and it’s not directly connected to the MCU’s Spiderman and it’s not up to snuff compared to any of the recent entries in the MCU, but it is a ton of fun to watch this violent alien join forces with a witty, down on his luck reporter and wreak havoc across a city.
I’m going to drop a few spoilers going forward, so if you have yet to see the movie, you should probably click away now.
The thing that was really bothering me during the opening of the movie was; why is this story taking place in San Francisco? Eddie Brock is a New Yorker, not a San Franciscan. Then they addressed that issue and explained that he had moved away from New York. It was only a brief, throwaway line, but they didn’t have to bother including it and I appreciate that they did.
I also really enjoyed the brief appearance of She-Venom. Sure, the odds that this symbiote that rejects almost every human host that it comes into contact with, just happens to bond perfectly with both parties in this couple, is a bit of a stretch. However, this is a comic book movie about an alien symbiote, so I’m willing to accept a few stretches in the movie’s logic.
Lastly I like the fact that they teased Carnage in the post credits tease and I am glad that they got Woody Harrelson to play him, as he is one of my favourite actors… but my God he looked really dumb in that red wig, like almost parody bad. It is still just as jarring on a second viewing.
Overall, although I had extremely low expectations going into Venom, it exceeded them by a great deal. Sure, it’s not Infinity War or Endgame and it’s not even Spiderman: Far From Home, but it is a lot of fun and there is definitely a good amount of enjoyment to be had in Venom.
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