Venom nails the main thing everyone wanted coming into this movie; to do Venom’s character justice. Tom Hardy does an excellent job as Eddie Brock, especially while he struggles with his newly bonded symbiote. With that said, the rest of the movie is riddled with both good and bad. Let’s get the bad out of the way.
The Main Villain Fails To Be Imposing
The antagonist of the movie does well in asserting his power over his employees. However, outside of that setting, there is always an underlying feeling that Eddie would kick his teeth in during a hand-to-hand fight. While the movie tries it’s best to give the antagonist some clout, he is not cunning nor strong enough to ever be a believable threat. There is also a sub-villain that comes up short…very short.
One Particular Action Scene
One of the main set pieces of the movie had me face-palming. Those in opposition of Eddie employed tactics that were laughably bad. The tech that they used to neutralize Eddie had awful effects and served no purpose other than to add “wow” factor to the action sequence. The slow motion used was also unimpressive, leaving the symbiote effects to be the only redeemable factor. Action sequences are supposed to be the most exciting parts of a movie. Failing one of them when there are only a handful is upsetting.
Hit-or-Miss Symbiote Personification & Effects
When the symbiote is slimy and physically fuses or separates from its host, the effects look good. However, there are moments when the separation of the symbiote is represented by a projection rather than a physical manifestation, taking away from the sense of immersion. Also, some humans that fused with the symbiote acted zombie-like, a touch that I was not too fond of. My knowledge of the symbiote mainly comes from the many Spider-Man TV series and video games rather than the comics. Thus, I may be missing out on some lore about human behavior when bonded with the symbiote.
A Couple Of Uncomfortably Cheesy/Nonsensical Scenes
Whether it be questionable writing, shaky cause and effect, bad acting, or the result of the PG-13 rating, there are some scenes within Venom that stand out as poor in comparison to everything else. Thankfully the scenes are few and far between, but they are very noticeable.
Venom has an amazing presence in this movie. He arguably carries the movie in the latter half. He is sinister, has a sense of humor, and the type of bond he has with Eddie is translated to the audience very well. And what is Venom without a little bit of action? Every scene where Venom takes form is a treat. He is both ruthless and imposing, two of the biggest factors in doing the character justice.
The contrast between the rich and poor is touched on extremely well throughout the movie. Shots of littered San Francisco city streets and the harsh lights from the surrounding stores give off a somber tone. It serves to complement the plot nicely. San Francisco is also a great setting for a Venom origin story, as Eddie has not had much experience with the symbiote. As a result, the verticality offered by a city like New York is not necessary.
Good Supporting Actors
There are two standout actors that help this movie be an enjoyable watch. One gets to know Eddie on through his personal life and the other creates the basis of a mini story arc. Even though they were supporting actors, aside from Tom Hardy, their performances are the ones I look back the most fondly upon.
Even though Sony could not include Spider-Man to make Venom a proper origin story, they did well with what they had to work with. The majority of the movie was a good time. However, the times when movie falters is grossly apparent and immersion breaking. Those who are familiar with Venom will at least come out of the movies feeling that the price of admission was worth it. For those who enjoy the Marvel movies, Venom is not nearly as solid, but a good anti-hero thrill. For everyone else, you won’t miss much skipping this one and checking out the Venom fight scenes elsewhere. Venom is a 5/10 (an average movie).
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