Venom – Review

Hello interweb, Nate here.  So, non-spoiler opinions?  It was…okay.  If you’re looking for a Venom movie, you probably won’t find it here.  Wanna see Spider-man fight Venom?  Not this movie.  Wanna see the split personality?  Not this movie.  Wanna see Eddie Brock get addicted to the symbiote?  Not this movie.  If you’re looking for a movie with complex characters and dynamic relationships that you can enjoy, you won’t find it here.  What you will find is a dumb action movie with actually really interesting concepts but are executed somewhat poorly.  Like, the script should’ve went through one more editing stage before this thing was filmed.  You’ll probably have fun watching it, I sure did, but you’ll have to turn your brain off and disassociate everything you know about Venom from this movie in order to do so.  Okay, from here on out SPOILER WARNING and let’s begin!

 

Movie Info

Movie Title: Venom

Produced by: Marvel Comics

Distributed by: Sony Pictures

Writer: Jeff Pinkner, Scott Rosenberg, and Kelly Marcel

Director: Ruben Fleischer

Producer: Avi Arad, Matt Tolmach, and Amy Pascal

Running Time: 1 hr 52 min

 

Review

So, Venom.  Where do I even start with this one?  I mean…I’m not gonna lie, I kinda liked it.  It’s a bad movie, a bad Venom movie especially, but like…there were things I kinda did like.  The biggest issue I think I had with this movie was that if this wasn’t a Venom movie, I probably would’ve liked it way more.  That, plus the third act is pretty stupid and the villain made little sense…plus, there’s inconsistencies all over the place which makes it difficult to follow the rules of this universe.  This movie is just kind of a mess but an admittingly entertaining one.  Like it’s cool to see Brock turn into Venom, it’s cool to see Venom swinging around and eating people’s heads, and it’s cool to see Brock and the symbiote interact with each other.  However, there’s just so many problems with this movie that I can’t really will myself the ability to call it a “good movie”.

So, what’s the premise?  After a rocket crash lands on Earth, some alien parasites called “symbiotes” are retrieved for further studies by Generic Evil Scientist #304 (I don’t even remember his name, so from this point on I’m just calling him GES #304…first name GES, last name #304!).  GES wishes to use the symbiotes in order for humans to live in space (don’t ask me how that works), but his assistant Dr. Skirth doesn’t ethically agree with his methods.  She seeks the help of ex-journalist Eddie Brock, who gets bonded to the Venom symbiote while investigating GES’s lab.  Over the course of the movie, the Venom symbiote begins liking Eddie (why?  Heck do I know!) and teams up with him in order to defeat GES, who is bonded to the Riot symbiote by the end of the movie.  Where was the Riot symbiote throughout this movie?  Oh, in Asia.  Why?   Um…I don’t know!  Why you asking me?  What, did you think I saw the movie or something???

Ok so yeah, in case that description didn’t give anything away…a lot of sh*t in this movie makes little sense.  Like the rules for how bonding works is so inconsistent I don’t even understand it.  For the most part, when a symbiote bonds to a host if the symbiote and the host aren’t compatible the symbiote will just eat the host’s internal organs and kill them.  If the symbiote is compatible with the host, they reach symbiosis and becomes permanently bonded to each other.  This is what happened when Eddie Brock bonded with Venom.  But if they’re permanently bonded, then why were they separated multiple times in the second half of the movie?  Also, when Riot was in Asia he was jumping between different hosts before he came to America.  So, we Riot compatible with all of those hosts????  I just don’t get it.  They don’t keep their rules straight so I’m scratching my head at what is and isn’t acceptable in this universe.

The rules aren’t the only things that don’t make sense here.  Mostly in terms of character motivations.  I’ll discuss the villain more later, but Venom himself almost plays a wing man to Eddie in scenes involving his ex-girlfriend.  Venom will like give relationship advice to him while he’s near her (which, yes, is just as hilarious as it sounds).  My issue is I’m left sitting here wondering…why???  Why does Venom care?  Symbiotes are asexual so why would he even know anything about relationships to begin with?  Plus, he literally just met her!  Why does he care if this relationship works out or not?  AND HOW DOES AN ALIEN EVEN KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS TO BEGIN WITH??? Like, I don’t even understand it.  This isn’t like Karen from Spider-man: Homecoming, this isn’t an AI created by a human from Earth, this is an asexual alien symbiote from another planet!

Now, there were two things that really kinda bugged me since they basically teased it but didn’t do much with them.  At one point, the Venom symbiote finds a cute lil dog to be it’s temporary host and I was so annoyed they didn’t do a Venom dog!  Like, we’ve seen Venom Groot and Venom Rocket in the comics before, I think a Venom dog would’ve been awesome!  But nope, he just infects a dog for a bit.

Secondly, Venom temporarily infects Eddie’s ex and turns her into She-Venom, and I wanted more!!!  Idk why, but I’ve always had a slight fascination with genderbending male characters (am I weird?  or is this a common thing?  Maybe I spend too much time on deviantart…) so when I saw She-Venom for the 2 seconds she was on screen, I kinda squealed!  But, it was only 2 seconds.  Like, ugh!  I wish we had more!!!

The action was hit and miss, and it missed more and more as the movie went on.  Like, the third act of this movie is f***ing DUMB!  With a capital D-U-M-B!  With that dumb third act, the climatic fight scene was just another one of those “hero and villain has essentially the same power” trope we see in Ant-Man, or Iron Man, or Black Panther, or The Incredible Hulk, etc. etc. etc.  God damn, I’m getting tired of this cliche.  It’s been done a billion times!  Give us more interesting action scenes!  Riot was basically just a discount Carnage…AND THEY TEASED CARNAGE IN THE POST CREDIT SCENE!  So, they’re planning on having ANOTHER symbiote vs symbiote fight in Venom 2???  NO!!!  F*** THAT!!!  Ugh!  I hate symbiotes…I love Venom, but all the other symbiotes just suck.  Yes, Carnage included!  I don’t care what all you Carnage fanboys think, Carnage is lame, stupid, and uninteresting.  Plus, Carnage started this lame trend of “Let’s make a million symbiotes for Spider-man to fight!!!”

You know what I wish?  I wish this movie was in the MCU and created by the MCU.  Because, if this was a spin-off movie from a Spider-man movie, this could’ve been a cool movie.  Like, maybe in Avengers 4 Peter gets the black suit.  Then in the next few movies, Spidey has the black suit for a bit.  Then we can get a Spider-man Vs Venom movie where the suit leaves Spider-man, attaches to Eddie Brock, and we get THAT awesome movie.  Then create this movie as a spin-off where Eddie operates as an antihero with the Venom symbiote.  And then if Marvel really wanted to impress me, follow that up with an Agent Venom movie.  I still have hope for an MCU Venom movie…

Ok, let’s talk about the characters staring with out villain…GES #304!  I mean, doesn’t his name says it all?  Generic Evil Scientist!  His goals involve harnessing the symbiotes in order to allow humans to live in space.  The motivation had something to do with overpopulation and climate change?  I guess???  Although, that doesn’t really matter since as soon as he bonded to Riot he changed his mind and wanted to help Riot take over the Earth.  Because… … …I don’t know.

Riot spend two thirds of this movie wondering around Asia for six months.  Why did it take him so long to get on a plane and go to America?  Idk!  Like, there’s literally no reason for Riot to be in Asia.  Maybe if there was some indication that he was learning about Earth during those six months it would make some sense.  But there isn’t, so I’m just left wondering why he was in Asian to begin with?

Eddie Brock is a boring character.  Sure, Tom Hardy was a great actor and gave a really good performance, but Eddie himself isn’t written as an interesting character so I have no attachment to him.  He’s just some loser who’s not even really trying to get into a better place in life.  Sure, he got fired for following his morals rather than what his job wanted him to do, but it just doesn’t pull me in.

The Venom symbiote is the character I’m most confused about in terms of whether or not I like him.  So I’m going to tackle this in two ways: Venom as a character, and Venom as Venom.  As a character, Venom is pretty interesting.  He came down with the other symbiotes to take over the world, found Eddie and decided to use him to help his plans, and then he decides he likes Eddie and Earth want wants to protect them.  And yes, his transition from evil to ally was so abrupt I didn’t even see any indication that he changed his mind.  Like, there were a few moments where in a competent film I could see Venom being won over to the good side.  Like, there was a scene where Venom runs up a tower and looks down at the entire city and comments that Earth isn’t as ugly up there where he can see all the lights and buildings.  In a competent film, that scene would’ve lasted a bit longer and shown us Venom contemplating whether or not he actually wants to take over this planet.  Instead, he’s up there for a second and then a plane knocks them off.  I just feel like there should’ve been more scenes where we see Venom learn to appreciate this planet and more scenes where Eddie and Venom learn to appreciate each other.

This just got confusing at times.  Like, at one point Eddie’s ex shows up telling Eddie she’ll take him to the hospital.  Venom then tells Eddie “I like her, go!”  WHY?!?!?  Like, you do realize she’s planning on killing you, right???  Why would you agree to go with her?  And then, what a shock, she turns on the MRI to remove Venom.  Which is also a confusing scene because the doctor there was telling Eddie he has internal damages and Venom kept telling Eddie “I can heal you!  I can heal you!”.  I mean, Venom already healed Eddie’s broken legs earlier in the movie, so why doesn’t Eddie trust Venom enough to heal his heart and organs???  Plus their separation was cheesy as f***.

Now let’s discuss Venom as Venom.  In the comics, Venom is kinda like a drug.  When Spider-man was using him, sure it made him stronger but it also made him much meaner and more violent.  That’s why Peter wanted to get rid of the symbiote in the first place.  When it attached to Eddie Brock, Eddie was already pissed at Spider-man so it was easy to channel that anger and make Eddie fight Spider-man.  That’s kind of what made him interesting.  Venom and Eddie’s duel hatred for Spider-man causing them to brutally fight Peter whenever their paths crossed.  Here, that’s all gone.  Sure, Eddie acts a little crazy with Venom, but once the two have been together for a while he seems relatively in control.  Plus without Spider-man, there’s no interpersonal relationship there so the conflict is less interesting.  It would be like making a Joker movie without Batman!  Like, who’s dumb enough to actually make a Joker movie without Batman?  Right?  Nobody’s THAT dumb.

Ok, so anyways…I’m going to give this movie two ratings.  As a movie, this film gets a 6/10.  It’s not nearly as bad as a 30% (Rotten Tomatoes score as of this writing), but it’s still pretty bad.  Although, the concept for the movie is really cool, the execution is poor and the third act is just stupid on top of stupid.  You might enjoy it if you’re just looking for a fun movie to turn your brain off to.  HOWEVER, if you’re a huge fan of the comics and you want those complex characters, interesting relationships, and comic accurate portrayal of the best Spider-man villain made…this film is a 4/10 and you might still be able to enjoy it for the above reasons but it’s just not the Venom movie Venom fans are going to want.  This isn’t a “must see movie” and you can easily skip it if you don’t care enough.

 

My Rating System

10 – Perfect: nothing is wrong about this movie

9 – Almost perfect: has one or two minor nitpicks that holds it from perfection

8 – Amazing: not a perfect film but still absolutely loved it

7 – Good: has a few problems but overall a great film

6 – Ok: has several major problems but I still like it

5 – Mediocre: neither good nor bad just forgettable

4 – Bad: a few major problems that ruins the movie

3 – Awful: lots of problems that ruins the movie

2 – Terrible: there may be one or two good things about the film but everything else is garbage

1 – The worst: literally nothing went right

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3 comments

  1. Yeah, I gave this one a 6 as well. It was a pretty fun film and I’m looking forward to the sequel. With regard to the symbiote bonding, I’d say that Riot being able to keep his hosts alive for so long is more of a testament to his strength than anything else. Since he’s the strongest of the Symbiotes I’m guessing that just gave him an edge. Likewise, Eddie and Venom being pulled apart is just because of how strong the sound waves were and Riot’s physical abilities. I wouldn’t say that any fusion is permanent with how maneuverable the symbiote is, but it’s just hard to pull them apart. Hopefully we get some more big fight scenes in the sequel.

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