I know this isn’t exactly a horror film, but it is about a monster going around eating people, so I say it counts.
One thing I can say about the film right off the bat is it’s completely forgettable. After I saw it Saturday, I was wondering on Sunday what I should review for this week, as I completely forgot I had just watched Venom for that very purpose. It doesn’t stop there, I’ve consistently forgotten throughout the week that I needed to write a review for this.
Maybe this film never existed at all… spooky.
You know, the first and only thing I ever stole was a Venom trading card when I was… maybe 10, possibly younger. I found a trading card in an issue of one of the Venom comics while perusing the comic book section at the grocery store. Not sure if they still sell comics at grocery stores but they did back them. And as I was flipping through one while my parents shopped, I found this awesome Venom trading card the comic came with.
My parents didn’t want to buy me the comic, so I came up with a genius idea. I dropped the card on the floor and placed my shoe over it. When it was time to leave the store, a dragged my foot with the card under it and snuck it out. I know, criminal mastermind at work. But hey, it got me that Venom trading card, which I’m sure is scratched to hell.
And now after all these years, I’m seeing a movie about Venom. Unfortunately I had to pay for this one. No sneaking this thing under my shoe.
Venom is a superhero movie that you would have seen get made about 15 years ago. It feels outdated and almost obsolete compared to other Marvel movies. Though you have to keep in mind, this is a Sony Marvel movie. And man does it feel it.
It felt less like a modern Marvel movie, and more like some of their earlier works, before they perfected the formula. It was less Spider-Man: Homecoming and more The Amazing Spider-Man with Andrew Garfield at the helm. We’re talking the same level as The Incredible Hulk with Edward Norton. Maybe not Amazing Spider-Man 2 bad or Ang Lee’s Hulk bad, but in that same ballpark at least. It feels like this takes place in that universe not the MCU.
This also felt somewhat edited down to a PG-13. From what I’ve heard, about 40 minutes or so was cut from the final film. My guess is this originally was meant for an R rating, but maybe there were hopes to one day bring this into the MCU or some other spinoff franchise. But they can’t do that with an R rating, so… PG-13 it is.
Besides this being about a monster that bites heads off, censoring it also seems to have cut out Venom’s motivation. Cutting 40 minutes also made the plot to this film slightly incoherent, as I really didn’t know what the hell was going on at times.
At one point in the movie Venom has turned on his own kind and Tom Hardy has to ask him why this sudden change of heart? Venom’s answer, where he’s from he is kind of a loser, so not bringing the other symbiotes to earth means he can be top dog.
He’s turning on his own kind so he doesn’t have to share humans?
Okay, fine, let’s just go with that then.
Tom Hardy plays Eddie Brock, an investigative journalist that was run out of New York for some unnamed reason. Maybe they were hinting at his obsession with Spider-Man? I don’t know.
Now he has his own tv series in San Francisco, kind of like what Anderson Cooper used to do back in the day.
Eddie is also engaged to Anne Weying, played by Michelle Williams and oh man is she awful in this. They don’t really give her anything to do. Not to mention I found myself really disliking her character. She’s basically Liv Tyler’s character in Hulk. Your typical comic book love interest from the early 2000’s. Though I hesitate to even call her a love interest as we only see them together for about three scenes before they break up. The rest of the film is just her worrying about him like an older sister would to a younger brother. That’s basically the kind of chemistry these two have, a sister brother relationship.
Carlton Drake runs the Life Foundation, a corporation that specializes in a whole array of things like bioengineering, to space travel. Drake has discovered something on a meteor, a new lifeform that they call “symbiotes”. They’re black tar looking things that can’t live on earth unless they attach themselves to a compatible human host.
The spaceship carrying the symbiotes back to earth crash lands and one of the samples breaks free. We later learn the sample is Riot. I really don’t remember much about Venom or his comics. I remember some from the old 90’s Spider-Man cartoon series and of course the shitty Spider-Man film with Topher Grace as Venom.
I recently just finished the Spider-Man game for PS4 and one thing I really loved about that game was they acted if they might not get a sequel, so they just gave you everything you could ask for in a Spider-Man game. Why not do the same with Venom? I mean, it’s doing very well in theaters, critics hate the film, but average Joe loves it, so obviously expect a sequel later down the line. But why not give the fans what they want in the first movie? Give us Carnage! Don’t bait us in a post credit scene, just act like you aren’t going to get a sequel and give us the film we wanted in the first place.
Eddie is only meant to give a puff piece, so when he starts asking the hard hitting questions, Drake not only shuts down the interview, but gets Eddie fired and his fiancé fired from her job as well.
Blaming Eddie, she of course breaks up with him.
It’s now 6 months later, Eddie is broke and can’t find a job and his fiancé has moved on, dating a doctor. And to top it off, their chemistry isn’t that of two siblings.
Meanwhile at the Life Foundation, experimenting on the symbiotes hasn’t exactly gone over so well, losing most of the test subjects but one. Venom!
So I didn’t realize the symbiotes named themselves. For some reason I thought they were nicknames like Carnage was because he fused with a serial killer that wreaked carnage.
Anyway, one of the scientists on the Life Foundation team has grown a conscience, wanting to expose Drake and all his crimes.
Drake has been using homeless people to experiment on, one of these homeless people just happens to be friends with Eddie. So when Jenny Slate sneaks Eddie into the facility to snap pictures, he runs into homeless lady Maria, already infected with Venom.
Eddie tries his best to break her out, setting off the alarm. When Maria breaks free, she tackles Eddie, transferring Venom over to him.
With the help of the added strength and agility from Venom, Eddie is able to escape the compound and make it back home where he is starting to hear voices in his head. So apparently the voice of Venom is also Tom Hardy’s. I figured they got some other actor to do the voice but no.
Same for Riot as he is also voiced by the actor Riz Ahmed who plays Drake.
Speaking of Riot, he’s been working his way to San Francisco from Malaysia or somewhere like that. He managed to sneak into the country using a little girl as the host. I’m not sure what happens to the hosts, I’m guessing they die.
The thing about Riot is, he’s like a walking arsenal. He can shoot daggers, form giant blades and scythes. While Venom just has his webbing power. And I guess shielding, he uses that often.
Riot sneaks into the Life Foundation, sees his comrades have all been killed, so he takes Drake as his host. I thought Riot was looking for Venom because they’re both symbiotes, wanting to team up. But I guess Riot just wanted to kill him for some reason. I mean, at this point he has no idea Venom wants to turn on his own kind. He’s eating people left and right, the same as Riot.
So Riot has a plan, one that isn’t completely coherent. He wants to get on the spaceship that Drake has built, so they can fly to the comet or asteroid where the symbiotes are, so they can bring them back to earth. Where they will infect the people they are compatible with and eat the rest. And for some reason Drake is completely okay with this plan.
Yeah, Drake seems evil, but his career up until now has been to benefit humanity. His first breakthrough they say was his cure for cancer. My guess is he is less concerned with humanity, as much as he is with his own ego. So maybe it makes sense he’d want to pull a “only the strong will survive” type of evil genius scheme.
With that little bit of plot I explained, the most of the 3rd act is just a giant action sequence. There is a pretty decent enough chase sequence involving a motorcycle that I enjoyed. Eddie is trying to get away from Life Foundation security goons and trying to dodge the exploding drones dive bombing them. It was a bit over the top, but what else can you do with Venom that doesn’t involve him eating people, which they can’t show.
When Venom fights Riot it becomes this CGI mess of two black goop monsters slapping against each other. It made it pretty difficult to make out what was happening, especially since the fight took place outside at night.
Riot rushes to the soon departing spaceship and Venom has to try and stop him, because Venom apparently sucks compared to the other symbiotes but if he’s the only one around… We’re given his motivation like 10 minutes before the film ends. Before then you’re left wondering why Venom is so nice now, wanting to help Eddie. He even wants to hook Eddie back up with his sister.
Venom is so into this relationship, we even get a Lady Venom when he decides to take over Anne and use her to make out with.
Venom and Riot fight, but Venom gets his ass kicked. Riot sneak onboard the spaceship and as it takes off, Venom shows up and makes the rocket lifting the ship explode, killing Riot and Venom in the process.
Or so we think as Venom is still secretly inside Eddie.
If you’ve seen the trailer for this film, that whole part of him arguing with Venom who is okay to eat and him taunting the mugger at the store? Well that’s the whole rest of the movie. They showed the whole ending of the movie in the damn trailer.
But there are of course the end credit scenes. This one had a bit of a weird cameo from Woody Harrelson as he shows up as Carnage. Or at least the serial killer that will become Carnage. They even drop a weird line that seemed out of place like “when I get out of here, there will be carnage”. Get it, because he’s going to be Carnage!
So that in a nutshell was Venom. From the trailers I was never all that impressed. Something about the film always looked off to me. The CGI looked bad, the plot seemed like it was a Hulk fan script that got repurposed… Everything felt so bland and generic.
But, if you’re looking for a dumb action movie, you might enjoy this one. The film does pick up around the second act. Tom Hardy is of course great in it, because he’s great in everything he does. So I say this gets a RENT IT rating.
Remember the film Upgrade I reviewed a few months back? Maybe check that one out instead. Just to get an example of this getting done better and not shoving a PG-13 rating down our throats.
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