The Phoenix Fire

November – Movie Review: Venom

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by Mohammad Khan

Rating ★★☆☆☆

The story of Venom is one of an investigative journalist, Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), trying to take down the nefarious CEO of the Life Foundation, Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed). When Brock’s investigation goes wrong, he accidentally bonds with the symbiote Venom, giving him superpowers at the cost of full control over his body. With his new host, Venom joins Eddie’s quest to save the world, while Eddie fights an internal battle for control over himself.

Since its announcement in 2017, Venom has been one of the most anticipated movies of 2018. From the trailers, it looked amazing – jaw-dropping action scenes, the gory humor characterized by the Marvel villain, and a promise for a thrilling plot. Expectations for Venom were very high, given the character’s ruthless and frightening backstory and reputation in the comics. It was a new take for Marvel and Sony; a movie dedicated to a comic book villain instead of a hero. It’s just too bad it didn’t deliver.

While Venom certainly wasn’t too bad of a movie, it wasn’t that good either. Tom Hardy did a great job of portraying Eddie Brock with all his insecurities and worries, but the plot and characters were all over the place. The plot didn’t flow; it was just jumping from one scene to the next with no rests in between. That meant that the already underdeveloped characters lost even more depth as the film went on. The one character that was developed, the symbiote Venom, was portrayed completely wrong. Instead of the imposing, dangerous villain he should be, the symbiote’s personality is akin to that of a personified teddy bear.

The movie went wrong when it decided to try to be a family-friendly movie. Sony attempts far too many times to appeal to a younger audience, and that showed up poorly throughout. Nevertheless, Venom was a character whose dark personality was more than enough to qualify the movie for an R rating. The last, and arguably the most serious, problem with the movie was its humor. It was obvious, jam-packed, and – like the rest of the movie – geared towards the mind of a child. Oftentimes, the movie gave up on witty jokes and resorted to bathroom humor and surrealism. The film would have fared much better if the humor had been intertwined in a more subtle fashion. While Venom certainly made you laugh, it didn’t make you feel good about laughing.

The main takeaway is that Sony’s Marvel universe is – at its best- subpar to MCU’s standards. Still, it’s an enjoyable movie to watch if you don’t go into the theater expecting something comparable to Marvel’s latest blockbusters.

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November – Movie Review: Venom