Good news guys, we can forget Topher Grace ever played Venom. Can we all agree that it was bad now? Okay cool. Tom Hardy plays journalist Eddie Brock in Ruben Fleischer’s new iteration of the Venom story and I must admit, it was pretty entertaining.
I went into my viewing of VENOM pretty much with a completely open mind. I hadn’t read many other reviews and a lot of people I know hadn’t seen it so starting with a blank slate as far as opinion worked to my advantage. I knew it was a “In association with Marvel” film, so I wasn’t expecting the fanfare and hoorah I get from every Marvel film. I was expecting a fun, kinda crazy, kinda unbelievable story and that’s really what I got.
The story begins with a space exploration that goes awry and sends a spaceship hurtling towards earth killing the astronauts inside. What was inside? Samples of specimens they had retrieved from a comet including our favorite symbiote.
We soon discover that The Life Foundation is the company behind this exploration. Their CEO, Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) is hell bent on finding life outside of our own and exploiting it, no matter what the cost; Enter Eddie Brock (Hardy). As an investigative journalist, Eddie questions Drake’s methods of research and upon doing so is quickly fired from his job. Upon discovering that Drake’s motives might not be so noble, one of Drake’s chief scientists Dora Skirth (Jenny Slate) asks Eddie for his help in exposing Drake and this is where our Venom origin begins.
So right off the bat and slight SPOILER here, Jenny Slate’s character Dora serves as nothing more than a plot point to get Eddie into The Life Foundation where he is overtaken by the symbiote and his relationship with Venom begins. Her storyline pretty much ends there. Slate plays her well, and gives as much life to the character as she can in her limited screen time. She is believable but ultimately kind of falls to the wayside once everything really gets going.
Michelle Williams plays Anne, Eddie’s girlfriend. Their relationship feels incredibly forced and boring and at times it took me out of the film. I understand why her character is there but I was happy to see her mostly out of the picture once Venom finds Eddie.
I never really fully took Riz Ahmed as a villain. I just couldn’t. Maybe its his sweet face or his mannerisms but he never really exuded big bad energy. Even in the climax of the film when he fully goes into evil mode, I just couldn’t take him seriously and because of that, the film lacked a solid villain for me.
That brings us to Tom Hardy. I thought he was a great pick for Venom from the get go and he did not disappoint. Although he’s kind of fumbly and all over the place at times, it works. (If you were being slowly taken over by an alien life form you’d be a little jittery and sweaty too.) His interactions with Venom come off as humorous and at times, sort of sweet.
Also before I get into Venom itself, I should probably touch on the make out scene everyone was talking about and mention that I was disappointed. It wasn’t half as weird as I thought it could be and for that, I rolled my eyes but its fine, I get it.
As far as Venom goes, the tongue is a little weird and the effects get a little cheesy and exaggerated especially in the final battle when I couldn’t tell who was what and what went where. By me saying the tongue was weird, I mean the CGI on the tongue, especially when licking someone’s face it looked incredibly fake. The scenes where Venom’s face peels off and we see half of Eddie’s face were also pretty bad. The action was cool, but I really wished the film would have been rated R so we could really get into those head-biting scenes.
Over all I thought VENOM was pretty fun, I wasn’t bored at any point in the film and even though the soundtrack kind of sucked, it wasn’t enough for me to hate the film. At a run time of just over 2 hours, it didn’t feel like it dragged on and I’m interested to see if they will continue with a sequel. (Stay tuned for the post-credits scene).
VENOM is now available on Digital and 4K, Blu-ray, and DVD from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.