Venom Review

Jack Kimball, Staff Writer

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Marvel’s latest installment Venom has added an exciting new chapter to the studio’s long list of successful action movies. The standalone movie produced by Sony Pictures places super-villain Venom into the spotlight, making it, unlike any Marvel movie that they have made before. The main tagline, “The world has enough superheroes” symbolizes the persona of the movie. The focus revolves around Venom and his “host” Eddie Brock, and the manifestation of actions that develops between the two character’s stories, eventually leading them to each other.


Grossing over 80 million dollars on opening weekend, Venom was ranked number 1 among movies in theaters the first weekend of October. Since then, the movie has grossed over 514 million dollars worldwide. Despite its relative success to other films in the box office, Venom garnered a significant amount of negative reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes awarded Venom with a 29% rating, but the audience scored it an 87%. This is a common trend seen from Venom’s audience. Critics have been more likely to give Venom a lower score, whereas the general population rates it highly. The movie left many confused with where the plot was headed, whether or not it was a comedy or action film, and if it damages the Marvel universes’ identity.


Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) is an investigative journalist who lives to break controversial and intriguing stories on his TV news show, “The Eddie Brock Report.” Eddie obsesses over the Life Foundation, headed by their accomplished CEO Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed). Convinced they are up to no good, Eddie sets out to expose the group for who they really are. When given a chance to investigate one of Drake’s experiments, Eddie contracts an alien-symbiote. The symbiote, which calls itself “Venom,” leaves Eddie with a violent alter-ego. The sheer strength and power that Eddie acquires from Venom makes it difficult for him to control his own actions. However, a greater circumstance challenges Eddie to work with Venom to protect the world from complete and utter destruction.


Tom Hardy does a magnificent job in his role. One of the bright spots of the movie, he portrays his role as a semi-awkward, but determined journalist beautifully. Hardy is no stranger to villain roles, playing Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, but this one felt different. It was difficult to take symbiote-infected Eddie Brock seriously because of how well Hardy portrayed the character before his infection. Eddie Brock’s character oozes charisma. That factor plays into Hardy’s ability to connect to the audience and immerse himself in his role, which he does brilliantly in Venom.


The rest of the cast, nonetheless, do not emit the same magnetism that Tom Hardy does with Eddie Brock. Riz Ahmed, who plays Carlton Drake, is unconvincing as the “villain” in Venom. Arguably overqualified for his role, it feels as if the script keeps Ahmed from generating a recognizable performance. He makes up for it with his ability to polarize the audience with his actions, inducing them to second-guess what they once thought of Carlton Drake. The ineffectiveness of the script also disrupts the character development of Eddie Brock’s fiance, Anne Weying, played by Michelle Williams. Williams’ allure is impacted by the scripts inability to establish a relationship between Anne Weying and Eddie Brock that would convince the audience into believing the two were truly in love. The relationship is pushed to the side too frequently throughout the movie, and as a result, William’s character is affected negatively by this.


Venom is not a movie where you pay expecting a masterfully written screenplay, a cast budding with Hollywood stars, or one that leaves you questioning your understanding of the film as a whole. Venom perfectly suits its role as a jam-packed action movie. Venom’s mediocrity in the aspects that it lacks challenges the audience to ignore what makes a conventional movie attractive, and instead focus on the dark and twisted persona it creates with Venom along with some of the industries best special effects. Its ability to intertwine humor almost seemingly makes it standalone from many of the other Marvel movies that seem to force comedy. Sony Pictures does what it can in producing a movie separate from Venom’s origin as a Spider-Man villain. In some cases, they fail, but in others, they are able to formulate a unique motion picture leaving the general population wanting more.


Before considering Venom as your next movie destination, don’t go expecting a masterpiece. Don’t go expecting an exciting new addition to the Marvel universe, and don’t go with a closed mind. The audience’s tendency to fixate on preconceived notions of the Venom character will only hurt their ability to enjoy the movie for what it is. The movie is a joyful combination of mediocrity, but that is not always necessarily a bad thing. Its purpose is to provide the audience with a unique and separate experience, distinct from other superhero films. The capability to create an entirely new universe in Marvel comics is what makes Venom unique, and a cornerstone for future Marvel villain movies.

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