It’s time for another movie review presented by our good friends over at FatCats Gilbert on the southwest corner of Greenfield and Baseline! FatCats Gilbert is the best place to see all of the latest box office hits including the one I get to talk about today, Venom! To see all showtimes and to purchase tickets, you can click right HERE!
This is an interesting one. While Venom is a character based on Marvel comics, this isn’t part of the MCU. Despite the beautiful marriage Disney and Sony have had with Spider-Man, Sony is handling this one all by itself. I actually trusted Sony. I know. The two Amazing Spider-Man movies are definitely less than we hoped for, but Venom is definitely a property that has potential. I’m also a big fan of Tom Hardy. He has experience in superhero movies with The Dark Knight Rises, and he’s a great character actor. I don’t know much about Venom, but I was hoping Tom Hardy would give us the best iteration of Eddie Brock we’ve seen on-screen, which shouldn’t be too much to ask for.
Venom is directed by Ruben Fleischer and stars Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, and Riz Ahmed. When a Life Foundation exploration ship is hijacked by life from outer space, the life forms make their way to the lab of business tycoon Carlton Drake, played by Ahmed. Field reporter Eddie Brock, played by Hardy, gets word that Drake is doing some inconspicuous things behind closed doors, so he begins to investigate and is eventually taken over by one of the other-worldly beings now called a symbiote. Eddie slowly develops new powers and cravings as he and his symbiote become one powerful monster called Venom.
So the good news is that there is good in this movie. It is not completely bad. I do think that there are far more misses than hits in this film, but we’ll save those for later. Right now, we’ll talk a little bit about the relationship between Eddie Brock and Venom. This was the reason that I was sold on more than a few aspects of the story. Again, I don’t know much about Venom, but I had a blast watching Tom Hardy and Venom interact and learn how to coexist and become a singular brain. It’s actually very funny. For a movie about an alien that essentially possesses people and causes them to eat other people, the characters have a good sense of humor. Eddie and Venom also have great chemistry. I won’t spoil anything, but I think that a lot of the chemistry comes from the parallels between Eddie and Venom. They both have certain experiences in their personal lives, and they aren’t as different as they seem. I also think that Tom Hardy handled the role as well as he could have. It seemed as though he knew exactly what he was getting into. Venom is a movie that you probably can’t go into expecting the dramatic merit of your average Marvel movie. It’s inherently a concept that begs you to suspend disbelief because of its insanity, and Tom Hardy does a great job of pushing the audience in the right direction. He lets himself go crazy with improv and with his performance, and I think the movie needed that. I also liked the action sequences. They’re well-shot, and, again, they’re funny. The movie accepts its ridiculous premise, and Tom Hardy runs with it, which makes for a good time at the theater.
Sometimes when reviewing a movie, my positives leak directly into my negatives, and they stem from the exact same aspect of the film. That’s the case with Venom. I love that Tom Hardy was able to cut loose and become Venom, but the entire film is thrown into a thematic and tonal blender because every other character is in a different movie. If you’ve watched the trailer, you probably know that Riz Ahmed is the villain. I would have loved to have seen Riz Ahmed go for it without reservations the way Tom Hardy does. His character is written for the actor to be able to take it to another level, so I don’t understand why Ahmed’s performance is so grounded. It doesn’t even belong in the same movie as Tom Hardy’s performance. Or maybe Tom Hardy doesn’t belong in the same movie as Riz Ahmed. It doesn’t stop with Ahmed’s Carlton Drake. Michelle Williams and Jenny Slate are also in completely different movies. Forget about the characters with smaller roles who don’t fit. We’re looking at four main characters in four different movies that make the film feel like an absolute mess. It’s an entertaining mess, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a mess. Performance aside, I also didn’t care for Riz Ahmed’s villain. His motivations are either empty or forced, and there is a single moment in the film where everything changes for him that seems to be glossed over and carried right into the climax. I also wish we would have been given just a bit more depth from Venom. Venom, the alien symbiote, makes a specific choice, but the choice is so quickly explained that I didn’t buy into it. It didn’t make sense for Venom to make that choice so soon and seemingly without thought, but if you plan on going out to see the movie, I’d probably advise that you check your thoughts at the door anyways. The self-awareness and unconventionality is refreshing, but it doesn’t excuse a lot of the misses that the film has.
Overall, Venom is a movie that a summation of thoughts can’t totally encompass. I can’t say that I liked this movie, but I enjoyed it, and I kind of want a sequel. I want more of the Eddie Brock and Venom relationship because I thought it worked really well. Tom Hardy was completely aware of what this movie would become, and I think he attacked it about as well as he could have. There are also some very entertaining action sequences. The movie is self-aware, and I guess if you don’t have the best material and supporting characters, the best thing to do is embrace the cartoonish story and crazy origin story of the symbiote. My issue is that Tom Hardy commits to the weirdness with everything he has, but none of the other characters do. The other characters all feel like they’re in different movies, and they completely throw the tone off. One second I thought Venom was a horror movie, the next second I thought it was a comedy, and the next second I thought it was a romantic story. You can include all of those elements into one story. It’s possible. If you really want to see how possible it is to combine tones and genres, watch Terminator 2. Unfortunately, Venom doesn’t come close to meshing tones coherently. I sort of respect this movie for what it’s trying to be despite releasing at the comic book genre’s peak, but more often than not, it doesn’t work. It’s enjoyable with the right mindset, but it’s still beyond inconsistent with itself. I’m going to give Venom a 4.2/10.
Will you be seeing Venom? Comment down in the comment section and let me know! As always, thank you, and keep listening to 88.7 The Pulse!