Venom Review

Let’s talk about Venom.

As someone who rarely reads comics and didn’t watch the Spiderman cartoons, I can’t say I am someone who is in love with the Venom character. My only experience of the character comes from Spiderman 3, a mostly disliked movie where Venom only shows up for the last ten minutes and is played by a guy from a sitcom, which I am told was not ideal casting. So I didn’t really get why there was such a fervour for him, or it I suppose, to get his own movie. But here we are with Venom having his own movie. But is it any good?

This time, Eddie Brock is played by Tom Hardy and ends up getting on the wrong side of a sinister corporation when he runs an investigation into test subjects going missing. However, while he is snooping about the corporation he ends up being bonded with the symbiote named Venom which not only gives him powers but a voice in his head.

To begin with, this is a fairly standard superhero movie and yes I say that knowing Venom is usually the villain. Eddie is down on his luck, getting fired from his job and dumped by his girlfriend Michelle Williams early on in the movie, and needs something to get his life going again. They even do the thing where the hero and the villain meet before they realise that they are going to be enemies. That’s happened so much now that it is a cliche. And when it is fairly standard, it’s also fairly dull. Nothing happens for a while, Tom Hardy’s whimpering becomes really irritating really quickly and you are left wondering how on earth Eddie can afford to keep his apartment in San Francisco when he is unemployed for so long. Yes he had his own TV show when he was a journalist but I know San Fran prices, no way he could stay there for so long.

But when Venom shows up, things improve for the better. But maybe not for the reasons you’d expect. You’d think it was because all the cool action stuff starts happening and yes, it does but that’s now why everything gets better. It’s because of the relationship between Eddie and Venom. In one of the oddest decisions I’ve seen in a movie, they decided to make Eddie and the parasite in him an odd couple. As in for the most part, they quip at each other and bicker. And even more inexplicably, it works. It stops Eddie from whimpering all the time which is great and the banter they share is really funny. A lot of it is about Eddie trying to stop Venom from biting everyone’s heads off but that is so weird it’s still very funny. Many mocked when some called it a buddy cop movie in the pre-release build-up but they are pretty on the ball.

I briefly mentioned it back there but the action is awesome though and great fun to watch. Perhaps because you’ve been waiting for it for a while, the big car chase when Eddie is escaping and seeing what Venom can is great fun. Yes, a car chase through San Francisco is very cliched in itself and the camerawork can be cluttered at times, but a big black inky mess tipping speeding cars over will always get a smile from me. I say like I’ve seen something like that before. And while none of the other action scenes get up to the level of that car chase, they are all still capable of getting a goofy grin on your face which I think is the movie’s aim.

That doesn’t mean the movie is great though as there are a number of flaws, mostly in the character department. Other than Eddie and Venom, all of the characters are pretty weak and one dimensional. Riz Ahmed’s villain is just a sinister corporate guy, Michelle Williams’ girlfriend is just that, a girlfriend who gets lots of exposition sent her way. They are dull characters who don’t get to do anything that interesting. It’s not the worst thing in the world because the movie doesn’t really ask us to care that much about them other than Venom saying he likes Michelle Williams, but who doesn’t, as it’s all about the relationship between a man and his symbiote. But still, make me at least remember their names without looking them up on IMDB?

But even with a bucket load of problems and flaws, Venom is a fun movie. It has some witty dialogue which will get you to laugh and the action is well done and again, fun to watch. That word fun is coming up a lot isn’t it? That’s because for odd the movie is, it does benefit the movie and while I would get it if you didn’t like it, you’d have to at least appreciate that it’s going nuts and being bad in an interesting way. But for many of us, this is a daft, brains out blockbuster which will keep you entertained for two hours.

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Former Head of Movies for Screen Critics. Film Reviews now hosted on Medium.

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A Guy Who Talks About Movies

A Guy Who Talks About Movies

Former Head of Movies for Screen Critics. Film Reviews now hosted on Medium.

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