By HARRY FISHER
Venom is by far one of the most interesting characters Marvel has ever produced. Even though he started out as being Spider-Man’s evil counterpart, he became so popular that he ended up becoming one of the few Spiderman villains to get his own comic book series.
But what makes Venom such a stand-out character is that he’s one part alien monster who goes around killing criminals in brutal and gruesome ways, and one part broken man who’s done everything wrong in his life and is trying to find redemption by fighting crime.
Obviously, in a world where pretty much every superhero who’s even remotely popular is getting a movie or TV show of some kind, it was only a matter of time before Venom got his time in the spotlight. This is why we now have the movie “Venom,” directed by Ruben Fleischer and produced by Sony. And so far, critics have been absolutely destroying it. But is it really as bad as they say?
Well, the first thing to note is that this movie is not part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), and so it is not associated with the MCU Spider-Man played by Tom Holland in any way or any version of Spider-Man for that matter. This will probably upset a lot of Venom and Spidey fans who prefer Venom’s comic book origin, in which Venom’s alien costume was originally Spider-Man’s black suit after he rejected it and it was acquired by Eddie Brock.
Needless to say, Venom’s entire origin story is changed in this movie. But despite being a huge fan of both Spider-Man and Venom, I really didn’t mind that the movie had nothing to do with Spider-Man, and overall, I thought it was pretty good.
The plot is pretty standard for a comic book movie. A reporter named Eddie Brock, while investigating the criminal actions of a science company called the Life Foundation, becomes the host of an alien symbiote that the company is secretly conducting research on. Eventually, he learns that this symbiote, named Venom, is alive and comes with some pretty convenient superpowers.
Together, they set out to stop the actions of Carlton Drake, the evil head of the Life Foundation played by Riz Ahmed, who has a symbiote of his own named Riot.
Along the way, Eddie develops a kind of friendship with the symbiote and tries to repair a broken romance with his ex-girlfriend, Anne Weying, played by Michelle Williams. It’s a typical superhero plot, but it works. As for the rest of the movie, the action scenes are really well done, especially because of the special effects. The CGI on Venom is pretty good, and it seems like they really tried to bring the panels of the Venom comics to life. But if you’re not a fan of CGI-heavy action scenes, this movie probably isn’t for you.
The acting is solid all around, especially from Tom Hardy, who plays Eddie Brock and also voices the Venom symbiote. For me, what really stood out was the banter between Eddie and the symbiote. Throughout the movie, Venom is constantly talking to Eddie in his head, but no one else can hear him. So he’s constantly trying to get Venom to shut up while maintaining a conversation with other people, and it leads to some pretty funny scenes. It almost feels like a weird sitcom at times, but it works and reflects the more humorous side of Venom we see in the comics.
But the movie isn’t without its flaws. For one thing, the writing is kind of weak in some places, so there are a lot of plot holes and explanations about the symbiotes that don’t really make sense or mean anything. Also, it takes a third of the movie for Eddie to get the symbiote and start to become Venom. Because of this, it feels like they spent too much time on the exposition in the first act and didn’t devote enough time to Eddie becoming Venom and developing a relationship with the symbiote. This also leads to a lot of rushed exposition about Riot and what he and Carlton Drake plan to do toward the end of the movie.
But despite these problems, the movie is still highly entertaining. Its plot is on par with most comic book movies, and the acting, special effects, and action are all pretty good. The writing may not be perfect, but the great dialogue between Eddie and Venom makes up for it.
Honestly, I think most critics are taking this movie too seriously. It’s not high-class entertainment, but it’s not supposed to be. If you just want to see Venom be cool in a fun superhero flick, that’s exactly what you’re going to get. Now let’s just hope they make an animated sitcom where Eddie and Venom are roommates.