Venom could’ve benefitted from an R-rating, however, regardless of its rating, Venom is mindless fun and better than expected.
Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) is an investigative journalist who loses everything after being too critical and persistent in an interview with the head of The Life Foundation, Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed). In an attempt to get back at the people who ruined him and restart his career, Eddie is latched onto by a symbiote who calls itself “Venom”. Suddenly, with a new voice in his head, Eddie quickly learns he is part of something much bigger than him.
Ever since the first trailer I have been concerned about this movie; the proceeding trailers did not give me reassurance nor hope. So, after all my skepticism on top of the poor critical reception, I find it surprising when I say I’m on the audience’s side and enjoyed the film. Is Venom without flaws? Of course not. Is it extremely watchable? It gets to be. I may catch some flak for this, but I would say I enjoyed Venom more than I did Upgrade, a similar movie in some regards, earlier this year.
Tom Hardy unsurprisingly gives a solid performance here; he bounces from comedic relief to action scene fluently. He believably appears to have no control over his body when Venom takes over and is able to add some depth to a character who initially doesn’t have much. But more importantly, Hardy also voices Venom and is barely recognizable as the voice of the symbiote; it felt like two separate people were doing the roles and yet it really was just Tom Hardy doing his thing for both. Michelle Williams plays the standard romantic interest common in these kinds of movies – nothing special. Riz Ahmed is miscast as the main antagonist; he is supposed to be this intimidating influential man but is more of an arrogant nuisance every time he is on screen and not for a second did I believe he could take more than a single punch.
Where Venom benefits the most is from its interactions between Eddie Brock and Venom in Eddie’s head. Through these banters the majority of the comedy is provided and ends up making the movie fairly funny. There is a bike chase in the middle of the movie which is entertaining. The fight scenes are elevated with the use of Venom’s capabilities. Essentially, once Venom joins the party, the movie becomes a lot of simpleminded fun. However, the film takes too long to get there and is dull until that point. The movie is very loud (which I actually enjoy but if you don’t be warned). Another one of the major villains of the film isn’t introduced until late in the movie and is only featured briefly before defeat. Once again, Marvel Studios proves its frequent incompetency when it comes to building compelling antagonists. The writing of Venom’s character, specifically regarding a change of heart late in the film, could’ve been written better. The film’s reasoning for his changed perception of Earth and humanity doesn’t make much sense and it is glaringly obvious.
Had the movie not been constrained by its pg-13 rating, so that Venom may be included in the greater shared universe of Marvel someday, Venom might have been even better. He talks about biting heads off and doing these violent things but what we see doesn’t appear to be that violent. There is no blood; fatal stabbings get breezed by like it’s a Transformers movie. A rated-R Venom would’ve been truer to the character.
Venom has its problems but it’s one of those films you can enjoy despite its issues. So, don’t listen to those venomous reviews and just go watch this movie! 7/10