Venom is a 2018 superhero film directed by Ruben Fleischer, known for his debut film, Zombieland. It stars Tom Hardy along with Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Scott Haze and Reid Scott.
Venom tells the story of down-on-his-luck street journalist Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) who loses it all after he invades his lawyer-fiance's confidential email to get dirt on the CEO of the Life Foundation. After using the information at an interview, both he and his fiance end up fired. Eddie's fiance dumps him shortly afterward.
Eddie's luck changes when a Life Foundation employee pleads with him to expose the Life Foundation for using the homeless in deadly experiments. A man of the people, he agrees to be snuck in. However, Eddie soon finds himself bonded with an alien symbiotic after he tries to break out a homeless friend he discovers suffering in a holding cell.
As most hosts continue to die due to incompatibility, Eddie turns out to be the perfect host for the alien symbiote, Venom. The two develop an odd-couple relationship as Venom tries to get Eddie to eat living things while Eddie tries to cope with his "parasite." Meanwhile, the Life Foundation is tracking down Eddie to get their "property" back.
Despite numerous shortcomings, I found Venom to be an immensely enjoyable film. The chemistry and humor between Eddie and Venom, both voiced by Tom Hardy, has to be the best part of the film. Venom is also surprisingly candid with Eddie about his strengths and weaknesses, possibly trying to win over Eddie as Venom realizes finding a good host, especially a strong host, is difficult to do.
In fact, without Eddie and Venom's chemistry the film probably would have lost my attention. It's only when Eddie and Venom are on the screen together that I remain interested. Even though the film has an engaging plot, both the fiance and the villain are both bland. Eddie dealing with Venom's hunger for living things, or Eddie dealing with Venom's threats on the human, is what keeps audiences interested. Without him it lacks Marvel's indiscernible spark. I'm pretty sure without Tom Hardy this movie would have failed as hard as the Andrew Garfield Amazing Spider-Man films.
On the negative side, anyone looking for Spider-Man or even Spider-Man references will be disappointed. For some fans, Spidey's role in Venom's origin, and the beef Venom and Eddie have for Spidey, is so integral they are surely to commit Seppeku from disappointment. Spidey is completely absent from the film. Only Eddie and Venom carry the film to its end.
Another disappointment many people will experience is the lack of R-Rated content. It is clear from how the scenes are shot there was supposed to be blood and immense destruction. Unlike Marvel heroes, Venom doesn't care for unnecessary casualties. The film not only lacks the amount of destruction you'd expect from a Venom film, but it's confirmed by the studio upwards of 40 minutes (of violence) were cut from the film.
I must say, however, that the movie still clocks in as 112 minutes. But it runs at a good pace and never at any moment did I feel like it was going over the amount of time it should've.
While watching the film I got a weird feeling of tonal similarity to the Amazing Spider-Man films released some years ago. I am completely happy those films have been canned. But I must say that Venom, at least, works for the underlining tone of that cinematic universe.
Interestingly enough, it turns out this very Venom movie was conceived and written during the Amazing Spider-Man franchise. The script changed very little since then. The story goes that Sony intends Venom to be the start of a Spider-Man cinematic universe. I don't know if it will succeed enough to merit it, but I'd personally like to see it.
As mentioned in my A Star is Born Review, Lady Gaga's fans, dubbed 'the little monsters' by Gaga, conspired to bot-swarm the internet with negative press about Venom. According to 'sources,' the fans wanted Gaga's film to outshine in the box office. I must be honest: I don't think such desperate measures were necessary. A Star is Born has to be one of the best films of the year so far; it's definitely Oscar bait. Most people are already expressing disappointment with Venom due to the lack of Spidey and R-Rated content. You got this in the bag, you little monsters.
Addendum: A free comic is being given out at the showings.
Dumbass critics at Rotten Tomatoes have ranked Venom at 31%. This is up from 10% a couple weeks ago. However, audiences have given it a surprisingly high rating of 89% as of this writing. I'm definitely in this camp. Morons at Metacritic rate it about the same as RT at 35/100.
Despite its shortcomings, I honestly would like another Venom movie. Actually, I am crossing my fingers they make another. I really dug the film. If they can afford Tom his improvisation and the film its R-rated violence, I'm pretty sure the film would do well with audiences, at least commercially, in the future version. Given the audience's reaction so far, it may even be a commercial success for this movie!
Edit: Forgot to add my star rating. 3.75/5.00 stars, between a sort-of recommend and recommend, only because Spidey fans may feel disappointed about Spider-Man's absence.
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