It’s easy to get frazzled, disenchanted, and completely jaded with the entertainment industry. As millennial moviegoers, we have also become about as cynical of our movies as we are about the meaning of life itself.
And as superhero movies continue to ride this chariot of monopolizing the hell out of the box offices, it’s easy to become an armchair critic.
And Venom (2018) is on that hit list.
Disclaimer: I’m going to be honest, I am not a comic book reader. Between my existential crisis and thoughts on slave labor in corporate America, there’s just not enough time to devote to the many multiverses and reboots that Marvel (in this case, Sony) has to offer. But I am here for the movies, and I personally think that the Venom (2018) movie was fantastic!
Let’s jump into the plot. Without spoiling too much, Life Foundation discovers symbiotic life on a comet and brings four samples back to Earth. One escapes and the rest are taken to the research facility for testing. Popular investigative journalist, Eddie Brock (known for taking down baddies of all kinds and exposing deceit for humanity’s benefit) is sent to interview the head of Life Foundation, Dr. Carlton Drake. Unfortunately, Eddie gets in over his head when he makes a startling discovery about the foundation’s unethical practices involving human test subjects. As Eddie tries to expose Drake as a murderer, he actually manages to ruin both his life and his fiancé’s (Anne Weying) life.
Fast forward and Eddie is still taking L’s while the bad guy is advancing in his symbiote research, hastily and eagerly moving into testing the life form on humans.
Eventually, Eddie breaks into Life Foundation. While collecting photo evidence, he is attacked by his friend (current test subject). Eddie’s body is then taken over by the symbiote.
I’ll stop here because it’s worth going to see for yourself, trust me.
If it’s one thing I love, it’s dimensional characterization. Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock wasn’t just likeable, he was relatable as well- in his sense of acceptance of his fate at least. He wasn’t some brooding tragic hero, or some generic weak man-turns-swole-man with an overly righteous sense of heroism. He was a regular guy who made a mistake, took his lumps, and happened to get taken over by a parasite, well … symbiote. And now he’s stuck with him.
Venom himself isn’t the type of brain eating symbiote you’d expect him to be either. He is given a personality independent of Eddie in spite of his physical dependence on his human host. You’d swear that they were two guys having actual conversation and not a guy talking to an altered version of his own voice.
The rest of the characters in the movie did not disappoint as well. There was a dynamic about everyone that made them all stand out in their own way.
Riz Ahmed (Dr. Carl Drake) really brought that detached, psychopathic scientist to life with charismatic passionate speeches of grandeur, instilling a false sense of pride into his victims, while he gazed on as innocent humans got murked like clockwork by these black blob life forms.
Anne, sticks to her guns in just about everything she does. Although her relationship with Eddie ended, she retains her compassion for him in spite of things. With the help of her new boyfriend, Dan Lewis, a doctor who’s a little clueless, humorously ensures Eddie’s well-being … even after discovering he has a large, menacing people-eater living in his body.
I wouldn’t say that Venom (2018) is the superhero (or anti-hero) movie that you might be expecting if you’re an avid, gate keeping comic book reader who is super serious and unmoving about renditions of your faves, or enjoyed the villainous Venom from the Toby McGuire days.
But if you’re a moviegoer who likes a lot of action, aliens, dark humor, and nicely rendered CG monsters, this is definitely the movie for you. Sony does a great job of reeling Venom himself into his own character, and I think the set-up is great for Venom to be an independent figure in his own cinematic universe. I’m actually excited to see how this hero develops in the future.
Overall, I give this movie an 8/10. The characters were great, the movie was 100% entertaining, the action scenes were fun, and Sony didn’t hold back on the adult dialogue. However, I do think that the PG-13 label was a hindrance. There was a lot that could have been done to really bring more grittiness out of the movie.
Serious moments tended to be overshadowed by the comedic factor and Venom’s quips on Eddie. Some parts moved along too fast and the resolution left something to be desired. It was a little difficult to put two and two together as far as how the symbiotes function and assimilate into other bodies.
But I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was on the edge of my seat with anticipation for the action scenes, and how Eddie and Venom would develop as a team.
Also, as a side note, it was really nice to see a very multiracial cast! – Chelsea “Astronym” Blackwell, Art Director and Moderator of Urban Anime Lounge