Movie Review: "Venom"
by Karina Le | published Nov. 30th, 2018
(Objectively, 2/5. But, I found the characters really charming! So it’s a 3.9/5 for me. The CGI brought it down a bit.)
Kicking off the next round of superhero film adaptations, “Venom” released on Oct. 5, 2018 with a lot of people at the edge of their seats. Produced by Sony rather than Marvel Studios, the trailers set up expectations for a dark movie. However, "Venom" is not an grim tale of vengeance and murder. Though dark topics like murder are addressed and questioned, there's a lot of hope and heart to the film.
The movie follows journalist Eddie Brock, played by Tom Hardy, as he investigates the company Life Foundation for possible misdoings. One day, when sneaking into Life Foundation’s laboratories, he accidentally merges with one of Life Foundation's current projects: an alien by the name of Venom, who is also voiced by Tom Hardy. Through their fusion, Eddie is given super-human abilities, such as extreme strength. Throughout the film, Eddie grappleswith Venom’s exceedingly violent tendencies, while at the same time struggling with his own addictions and mental health.
Reaction and Response (Spoiler Size: S)
The most important thing to note before anything else is that “Venom” is not a movie for everyone. This is not because of the subject matter. Even though although, Venom talks about eating people and usually makes good on his statements, the movie itself is still rated PG-13. More specifically, the entire movie was a miss to a lot of people who enjoy the source material. The film also wasn't a hit with the critics.
That being said, I personally enjoyed it, al though that might be because I am unfamiliar with the comics. The movie doesn’t actually follow a lot of the source material, and I’ve heard some people express their distaste for the divergence.
Despite the majority consensus, there were some parts to the movie that really stood out to me. For example, the character interactions between Venom and Eddie are very reminiscent of the buddy cop and stray veteran dynamic that I happen to love very much. There are constant comedic beats where Venom acts as an extremely violent comic to Eddie's straight man, and it's really funny to see Eddie trying to explain morality to someone who doesn't care for the concept.
This dynamic could not happen if it were not for the acting talents of Tom Hardy. Not only does Hardy deliver top tier acting as both Eddie and Venom, but he manages their dialogue and banter with tones appropriate for each scene they appear in. Hardy can deliver lines with a certain menace that really fits the nature of the violent Venom, but also have this sort of panic lilt to his voice that really characterizes Eddie. Eddie has nothing extraordinary about him — nothing like extreme smarts or natural strength. He just wants to live a modest life. He's also characterized as someone controlled by his own fears, but that fear flips between fearing Venom and fearing how much he actually enjoys having the alien around. Watching this internal character struggle play out is really fascinating.
However, "Venom" does have its flaws, which are rather consistent throughout the movie. The film's comedy often clashes with the dark aspect of the story. Though I understand the production team was probably trying to incorporate the zany comedy that Marvel movies are known for, it just didn’t work juxtaposed to the dark mood, from an artistic standpoint. The CGI was also hit or miss depending on the scene. Occasionally, when the movie is trying to show Venom’s face over Eddie’s, it just looked like Hardy was wearing a facemask.
These flaws didn't ruin the movie at all, though — at least not to the degree that some people are saying. I still believe that "Venom" is a pretty solid movie. If I did a 10 scale instead of a five, it would at least be around eight. This movie will be a delight for Marvel movie fans, while they wait for the last installment for the Avengers movie franchise, and for people who are really into monsters. Like, really into monsters.