After missing my opportunity to see this movie Thursday night and being rather bummed about the whole experience, I made it my absolute duty to see this movie on Sunday. Rotten Tomatoes had this movie sitting at a disappointing 30% critic rating while the opinion of the audience blew in the opposite direction with 89% liking it.
I was looking forward to this movie. Outside of me being a huge Spider-Man fan and loving the rogue gallery that comes with our web-slinging hero, the idea of having movies based on some of the anti-heroes struck me as brilliant. Especially if you consider the possibilities of these established rogues interacting with Spider-man at some point. Without having to go through their origins! And what better character to kick off this side universe than with our good ‘ole pal Venom?
So which way does my opinion sail?
The movie while certainly not perfect was rather enjoyable! However, I need to make sure that you understand that this is not the comic version of the character. If you are walking into this expecting to see Venom being a true anti-hero and murdering those who stand in his way, you will be disappointed. So I say that this movie is enjoyable from the stance of walking into this movie without high expectations.
Venom suffers heavily from Sony’s lack of doubling down on its ideas and taking risks. Originally, this movie was supposed to be rated-R and Sony’s reasoning for this shift was reported to be because they wanted to have Venom and Spider-Man to throw hands at each other and it wouldn’t be possible if Venom kept its original rating. I had read from some article months ago that Venom was going to have horror elements to it. At one point in the film, I did my trademark hood over my eyes trick while anticipating a jump scare. However, as the released date grew closer and the trailers became more detailed, it seemed like more of an action film.
And that is the issue. I can’t tell you what this movie was going for.
The shift in rating, in my opinion, is the main gripe I have with an otherwise enjoyable film. I don’t know exactly when they decided this and how much work they had to do after making this decision to keep this movie’s already rushed released date, but the changes they made are crystal clear in the film. Dialogue choices were strange and sometimes down cringeworthy during parts of the film. The script itself was bad with talented actors such as Tom Hardy and Michelle Williams having nothing to draw from. Also, this movie has a surprising amount of humor in it but I can’t quite decide on whether that was the original intent of the movie.
On top of that, there are so many plot holes! So much of this movie doesn’t make sense and you really have to check your logic at the door to enjoy the movie for what it is. I am not going to go over all of them here but some of the characters reaction and choices really don’t make sense in the grand scheme of things. Hell, Venom doesn’t really make sense from a plot.
The tone often shifted from being an action movie with awesome set pieces to giving off horror vibes at some segments. Speaking of action sequences, the body-count was there in the film but because of the shift, you can tell where the action would have really benefited from the R-rating. Hell, we don’t even get sound effects of bones breaking! And add to the confusion this movie invokes, there are only three major set pieces. Remember that this movie is longer than two hours.
But despite all of these complaints, the movie itself is rather fun once a certain symbiote and Eddie Brock finally get together. Here is where I feel the movie shines the most. The conversations between Eddie and Venom are really entertaining and I often found myself looking forward to them. Watching Tom Hardy arguing with himself on camera while being able to hear with Venom is thinking creates some very comical and sometimes charming moments. Even their interactions with other characters became more alive once they bonded though most of them don’t really do anything remarkable. And yes, this included the antagonist.
Venom on camera looks amazing! Venom is every bit frightening and intimidating to look at. His strength and power reflect in all of his actions and abilities they are on full display in this movie. However, there is nothing here that will make you quiver in fear. An alien species from space with plans of taking over the planet by bonding with a human host. Sounds scary? None of that tension of fear is here. I am blaming the shift. Venom in this movie is a full-blown hero though one can argue that the symbiote gained some semblance of righteousness from his bond with Eddie.
Venom is leagues better than his first appearance on the big screen in Spider-Man 3 but this isn’t the Venom that everyone will be okay with. Especially if you are coming from a strong comic background and have expectations. The beginning is rough. Another notion that origin stories require a lengthy amount of time to catch the audience up to speed. I feel like the ride starts when Eddie and Venom link up and it never lets up after that. In a way, it kinda reminds me of a slower version of a 90’s comic movie like Blade or the first X-Men.
With that being said, if you haven’t seen Venom yet… Go see it! There is enough here to enjoy. Or just way until it his one of the many streaming services in the next couple of months.