Venom Film Review: One Bad Symbiote

Jordan Samuel Jordan Samuel
Expert Contributor
October 1st, 2018

Content Editor, Film Critic and Writer for ComiConverse.com, the Founder and co-host of the official Nerdcast Network Podcast

Review of: Venom

Reviewed by:
Rating:
2
On October 1, 2018
Last modified:October 9, 2018

Summary:

An outdated product of the bygone movie era, with its undeveloped characters and a poorly written script - that just feels odd in today's climate of big superhero blockbusters.

Review of: Venom

Reviewed by:
Rating:

2
On October 1, 2018
Last modified:October 9, 2018

Summary:

An outdated product of the bygone movie era, with its undeveloped characters and a poorly written script - that just feels odd in today's climate of big superhero blockbusters.

MORE NEWS FROM THE WEB

Marvel's dark antithesis of Spider-Man, Venom gets his movie this week. But does it work? ComiConverse reviews.

Venom Film Review: One Bad Symbiote

Following a scandal, journalist Eddie Brock attempts to revive his career by investigating the Life Foundation but comes into contact with an alien symbiote that bonds with Brock, giving him superpowers as long as they share the same body.

Sony Pictures Entertainment

Sony Pictures Entertainment has reinvented their Marvel web-slinging franchise time and time, which started with Spider-Man (2002). Focusing on the mutated superhero’s journey in withholding justice in the New York City streets - each one of these films celebrated bravery and responsibility. But what about the darker side? The opposite of Peter Parker? Well, Venom (2018) attempts to answer that question in a $100 million Hollywood adaptation of Spider-Man’s most famous villain.

Venom has not had the best time in Hollywood, with his forced inclusion in Spider-Man 3 not reaching the heights needed to be a proper foe. A last-minute cash grab which bloated proceedings and the disappointing majority of fans. Despite these issues, the film grossed a whopping $890.9 million - showing that fan interest in the character was high. Thus development for a Venom spinoff movie began, with Sony Pictures looking to keep their anti-hero in the limelight.

Sadly it got stuck in development hell and went through various directors in the process. At one point, David S. Goyer wrote a script based on the Marvel Comics character Venom - to be produced by New Line Cinema. Dolph Lundgren was set to play Eddie Brock. It went silent for years, leading up to Venom being announced for an October 2018 release.

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Sony Pictures Entertainment

Hollywood heartthrob Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises) was cast as the Lethal Protector, which surprised many in the process. As the actor has reinvented himself time and time again, for the superhero genre. But can Venom emerge victorious after these issues and kick-start a new franchise? ComiConverse reviews the anticipated Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Venom spin-off.

Venom follows Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), an instigative journalist who becomes host to a mysterious alien symbiote which grants him super-human powers and the evil alter-ego “Venom”. After being given these powers, he goes on the run from an evil origination searching for his alien suit. Meanwhile, Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) CEO of the Life Foundation is experimenting on the symbiotes looking to combine them with human DNA. The film is set up like any bog standard runaway project, with journalist Eddie Brock trying to clear his name.

Sounds like a pretty bland story right? Well, I can confirm that is the case as the generic plot cannot fill out 2-hours of screen time. Instead of developing Eddie Brock and his battle with the symbiotic friend, the film instead focuses on generic sci-fi nonsense which left me bored. Director, Ruben Fleischer (Gangster Squad) tries his best to excite the audiences with action but cannot beat the terrible script - which relies heavily on generic sci-fi cliches.

Written by Jeff Pinkner, Scott Rosenberg and Kelly Marcel (Amazing Spider-Man 2), the story is about forming unlikely bonds and tackling inner demons, tonally it feels all over the place. At points being oddly comedic pulling away from the darker subject matter. Its mismatch of tone marks it harder for audiences to relate to Eddie Brock’s (Tom Hardy) journey, instead confuses you by the bitter final battle.

 

Sony Pictures Entertainment

 

Eddie Brock / Venom (Tom Hardy) is a criminal investigator who goes on the run after being fused with an alien symbiote and needs to understand his new powers. New issues arise when the Life Foundation is after his new alien buddy but does he succeed in becoming the Lethal Protector? A question which is sprinkled around the film.  Sadly, it is never explained correctly and feels rushed instead of being earned. Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises) delivers another brilliant performance as Eddie Brock, with his charisma and expression making for some intense scenes.

He sells the idea of being a host to this alien and is the best element of the entire film. Venom looks excellent with his hanging teeth feeling threatening on the screen; I loved seeing him scale buildings and brutally attack his enemies. Sony Pictures put effort into the design which needs to be commended for its comic book accuracy (despite it not sharing the white spider logo).

Michelle Williams (Anne Weying) is reduced to Eddie Brock's general love interest - who doesn’t get much development throughout the runtime. The actress is known for having excellent range but is given nothing to do in Venom (2018), except for getting in the crossfire.

It's equally shameful as Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea) has so much range which could have been explored, director Ruben Fleischer should have used these traits instead of wasting the legendary performer. However, I did enjoy the playful banter between Anne (Michelle Williams) and Eddie (Tom Hardy). I wish more could have done with the actress. Maybe in the sequel, more will be done with the female characters? I hope that is the case.

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Riz Ahmed (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) plays genius inventor Carlton Drake (Riot) and leader of the Life Foundation, who is experimenting on symbiotes to better humanity from illnesses.  Sound like a bog standard super-villain plan? Checkmate!, because nothing about it feels original or fighting for Venom’s big-budget origin movie. Riz Ahmed (Rogue One) is excellent in the role but doesn’t spark any confidence to portray the Tony Stark esque billionaire inventor.

He’s meant to be the antithesis of Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock (Venom), but just Riot fails to be threatening in the end. I also disliked his busy grey CGI design, as it often clashed with the Black Venom symbiote in action scenes. Maybe, a brighter colour would have fixed these issues - because it ended up giving me a headache. There was so much potential with this villain, but the weak script doesn’t allow to excel in creeping audiences out and comes across feeling like a film from the bygone era of comic book movies.

Verdict

Venom (2018) is an outdated product of the bygone movie era, with its undeveloped characters and a poorly written script - that just feels odd in today's climate of big superhero blockbusters. It’s another cheap attempt to kickstart Sony's Universe of Marvel Characters which started all the way back in the mediocre Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014). Tom Hardy’s (The Dark Knight) strong performance is not enough to save this uninspired film, which doesn’t propel the genre forward instead leaves it stuck in the early 2000’s.

Director, Ruben Fleischer (Gangster Squad) should have just made another zombie movie with a better script - because Venom (2018) is just another hot mess. It reeks of a Hollywood project which needed more time in the oven and attention. Sony Pictures Entertainment are at it again, trying to push a character down our throats without developing it for us to accept slowly.

What did you think about the movie? Plan on checking it out this weekend?

Venom releases on October 5th.

Drop us a comment below.

Jordan is the Content Editor at ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @JordanESamuel

Venom

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An outdated product of the bygone movie era, with its undeveloped characters and a poorly written script - that just feels odd in today's climate of big superhero blockbusters.

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