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Review: Venom

Image from Sony Pictures' VENOM

Venom is a movie that not too many people seemed to want in the first place. Sony had Spider-Man working well for them partially thanks to Marvel, so why not just wait and build on what you have? Plus, rushing to get this movie out for absolutely no reason seemed to be a bad idea. All it did was make people believe it would be a messy picture with no redeeming qualities. Just solely based on that, this could conceivably be seen as a complete failure by most. However, if I’m being completely honest about my personal feelings about it, the actual movie is nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be.

One of Spider-Man greatest rivals takes center stage as Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) becomes the host for Venom, a symbiote from an alien planet with a knack for violence. As a journalist, Brock finds himself in an undesirable situation after losing his job by going up against Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), the founder of a shady corporation known as the Life Foundation. Undeterred by his misfortune, Eddie pushes forward and runs into the alien life-form that will give him powerful and dangerous powers that could cause loads of trouble for anyone who gets in his way.

The first act in Venom doesn’t include anything that would lead you to believe that the rest of the movie would be worthwhile in the slightest. It’s mostly set up and feels like we’re not even in a comic book movie about this particular character. As someone who didn’t have anything even close to resembling high expectations for this movie going in, none of this came as a shock to me. I actually expected to get worse and completely messy as it moved forward, but that’s not exactly what happened.

Once we get passed the first act and all the boring set up that comes along with it, the action kicks in and things become much better than I thought they possibly could. More often than not, this portion of Venom is actually fun. What we witness here isn’t groundbreaking, but it’s entertaining and consistently engaging. The only time it’s ever truly problematic is toward the end when it becomes too cgi heavy. At that point, it becomes a bit of a mess, but I wasn’t as dissatisfied as I thought I would be since I liked so much of the other action sequences throughout the duration of the movie.

When the ending of Venom came, I was actually caught off guard a little since the movie was ending much faster than I had anticipated. I was expecting a two-hour movie that struggled to get to where it needed to be, but the actual movie (not including the two end credit scenes) is only about 95 minutes or so. This helps because it gives us anything that we might enjoy without forcing us to sit through the sludge that we usually get too much of these days with so many movies seemingly being required to last forever even when it’s unwarranted.

For some, the movie being this short could be seen as a negative since it doesn’t allow the movie to be deep by any stretch. The characters are mostly one-dimensional, but everything moves so quickly that it prevents all of the flaws from being more obvious and damaging. Although this does limit the depth of the characters, I’d rather have that than to have to suffer through the unnecessary. I’ve always felt that if studios recognized when they didn’t have enough quality to fill up the allotted time they seem to desire and went with this approach instead, we’d all be better off. These movies might not end up being “epic,” but at least they’d usually be watchable.

I can’t finish this review without talking about the humor that we get in Venom. We all knew there would be some violence, but the humor actually helps in making this better. It also adds to the personalities of Eddie Brock and Venom itself. When there’s no action going on, the humor works as a fine substitute until we get to the next violent episode. There are also times where it pops up during those scenes as well. This could be seen as a negative for some, but it seemed to fit whenever it combined with the destruction that Venom usually creates.

I don’t know where this will put Venom and Spider-Man in the future, but the movie we get turned out to actually be a respectable exercise when it had all the potential to fail before it was even released. Now, I’m also intrigued by what transpired before the movie was released. I want to know what they cut and just how much getting rid of that stuff helped the movie overall. Since it was originally supposed to be well over two hours at first, I’m sure there are a lot of scenes missing. Maybe they will be included on the blu-ray? Then again, if they’re terrible, we probably won’t be getting too many of them there either.

Rating: PG-13

Director: Ruben Fleischer

Tom Hardy
Michelle Williams
Riz Ahmed
Scott Haze
Reid Scott

Film Length: 110 minutes

Release Date: October 5, 2018

Distributor: Sony Pictures

  • Score - 6.5/10
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