- Directed by Ruben Fleischer
- October 1, 2018 (Regency Village Theater) / October 5, 2018 (US)
A group of alien creatures is brought back from space where one of them bonds with a loser reporter.
I will come right out and say it: I enjoyed Venom. It was something a little different among the plethora of Marvel Comics inspired films. Not hugely different but just different enough. Then again in a group of films that are increasingly becoming interchangeable, a little different is a huge difference. It was not spectacular, but it was enjoyable.
Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) is a thickheaded reporter with plenty of talent who is often undone by his ego and inability to be smart about things. It is a self-destructive trait that at the start of the film costs him not only his job but his girlfriend as well in short order.
The chief villain of this film is industrialist Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) who has an ego that matches Eddie’s but who is far more dangerous than Eddie would even pretend to be. He is not above killing to get done what he wants done. Blinded by his own ambitions he brings a collection of alien symbiotes from one of his privately funded space missions back to a laboratory and starts attempting to bond them to other humans. One after another they fail to connect.
Michelle Williams is Eddie’s long suffering girlfriend Anne Weying. Her character borders a bit on inconsequential and her boyfriend, the man she leaves Eddie for, Dan Lewis (Reid Scott) quickly disappears from the story. He is barely a consideration during the end of the film wrap up. By the time Eddie and his Anne are sitting on the stoop talking you can be forgiven for forgetting she still has a boyfriend.
Whether or not this film shares the same universe as Spider-Man is neither confirmed nor denied by the narrative of the story. There is an allusion early on in the film to an event from the comics but whether the comics event occurred in the live action film universe in any fashion and connects the two characters in a similar way is not clear. And why does one hero’s movie need to be obviously connected to another? Why can it not be its own thing with a connection implied if anything at all?
The humor of Venom is on the darker side. Venom keeps wanting to eat people and their assorted organs and the chomping of heads is treated humorously. Eddie’s almost clueless nature on events produces a few laughs as well as do the random interactions of Venom with Eddie and the rest of the world.
Some people have complained that the movie is not rated R. I’m not sure if an R rating would help or hurt this movie nor am I sure one is even necessary. I understand the character of Venom is extremely violent, but does that mean you require a level of visual gore? Or can that level of gore be implied rather than directly shown? I am of the thinking that the mind can be just as or more effective than just being shown everything.
The design of the character looks to be inspired by the legendary look of artist Todd McFarlane. In proportions and overall look of Venom appears ripped right from the pages of what he did. The man set a visual standard for not only Venom but Spider-Man as well that has yet to be equaled on the drawn page.
The film ends with a confrontation between Venom/Eddie and Drake who has bonded with a symbiote called Riot. It turns out all the symbiotes are part of an advance force sent to Earth to prep it for an invasion to make humans food. The battle between Venom and Riot is a shapeshifting slugfest on a launch platform as Riot plots to go back into space to bring more of his brethren to Earth. It is a fun fight, but I felt it was a little short. The whole making humans food thing gets a little glossed over as well.
That being said, the film overall has great action and the interactions between Eddie and Venom are a highlight. The real payoff is the appearance of Woody Harrelson as Cletus Kasady who Eddie is interviewing as part of his career comeback. Kasady eventually bonds (in the comics) with a symbiote that Venom births called Carnage. As a fan of the older comics that moment in the novie was very exciting.
Venom is a good action film with a decent plot. It is nothing groundbreaking, but it is entertaining. I’ll give this a watch it!