Superhero movies come out every year, but it’s not every year that a movie comes out that centers around a villain. This year, that film is Venom. Since the trailer was released, avid fans of comic book movies were excited to watch it. While it was fun and entertaining, there were some disappointments within the film.
The movie starts with investigative journalist Eddie Brock ruining his life by trying to do a piece on Carlton Drake. Carlton is the billionaire head of the Life Foundation, a huge biogenetics lab that is trying to extend human life and cure cancer. But, the Life Foundation has a much darker side hidden from the public, where they are leading deadly testing on homeless people to create an alien-human hybrid.
After many months in a depression due to being fired and his girlfriend dumping him, Eddie gets notified that he needs to keep investigating Carlton and the Life Foundation. He decides to sneak into the lab and that is where his trouble starts. In the lab, Eddie accidentally merges with the symbiote named Venom. This is where the action of the film truly begins.
Venom tried to act as if it was not a typical superhero movie when it obviously was. There were many typical aspects of that film genre like the hero tries to get back the love interest, the villain is more powerful than it seems, etc.
The film was marketed as an atypical superhero film. In the comics, Venom opposes Spider-Man. The taglines were “Embrace your inner anti-hero” and “The world has enough Superheroes,” but there are no signs of Venom acting as a villain in the film. While Venom is about a villain in the Spider-Man universe, it did not appear like that at all. Many people knew it was about a villain only because he is one of Spider-Man’s worst enemies. The context of him actually being evil did not truly come up during the film. There were parts when Venom would want to do something immoral, like biting off someone’s head, but he was an alien symbiote, so he was unaware of mortal customs and faced opposition from Eddie.
Due to the conflicts of the film being created by Sony and not under the Marvel Studios franchise, Venom was not as good as it could have been if it was a part of the greater Marvel Studios Universe. Marvel Studios has raised the bar for superhero films so Venom was a slight let down on Sony’s part. Because Sony could not include Spider-Man in the film, there was no hero to oppose Venom. It would be extremely interesting if they could merge the two and see Venom and Spider-Man fight off considering their rivalry in the comics. Unfortunately, legal conflicts prevent this.
Venom might never truly be seen as a villain because there is no one we are rooting for to oppose him. He will always be the hero because he is fighting someone worse than him. I wish there was someone morally better who we wanted to root for against Venom. An actual hero would have made the audience conflicted about liking Venom even though he is supposed to be evil. The contrast would allow us to still root for him because we understand his side of the story, but there would be more emotion behind it. This conflict of interest would have improved the film so the audience wants to root for both sides.
Venom was also quite cheesy, especially when Eddie and Venom talked to one another. The filmmakers tried to make it comedic, but the comedy did not flow as well as the rest of the plot. The comedy card does not work as well when it is supposed to be a symbiote with murderous urges that has taken over a human body. Whenever Eddie felt the need to show his desire for Anne, it felt semi-forced because Venom was pushing him.
There was some playful banter included, but the way Venom’s voice came over the film and talked about Anne became strange. Often, the voiceover happened all of a sudden and there was no context for Venom starting to like Anne other than being in Eddie’s mind.
Despite the negative aspects of the film, the fight scenes were very engaging. The CGI was especially well done during Eddie’s transformation into Venom, as the symbiote would raise up and cover him to show how the transformation was complete. The best part of the CGI was during the scene when he was struggling with Venom and the transformation was trying to happen. All the character’s actions were well choreographed, and the car chase was very exciting to watch.
While it might not have been the most original storyline, it was still interesting and made me root for Eddie to do well. I still felt the necessary connection to the characters that allowed me to get into the film emotionally.
Critics have been reviewing Venom harshly, but the film was fun to watch, especially if you are a comic book fan. Stephanie Zacharek from Time Magazine was spot on when she said that Venom “is neither the most super-awesome Marvel movie nor the worst.” Even though Venom failed to stand out among the multitude of other superhero films, it was still an enjoyable theatergoing experience. Venom was a solid superpowered movie that I rate 3.5 out of 5 stars.