Review of “Venom”

William Sikich

Over the last few years, many Marvel fans have grown to love the series of films they have dubbed the Marvel Cinematic universe. Now, however, Sony has started development on a Marvel-based universe of their own surrounding numerous Spiderman-related characters. On October 5 of this year, the terrifying antihero Venom was the first of presumably many to join this universe in his stand-alone film, “Venom.”
“Venom” tells the story of an investigative reporter named Eddie Brock who becomes infected by an alien parasite named Venom. After losing his job, his fiancé, and his apartment, Eddie uses his newfound alien powers to fight an evil billionaire and save the planet from total extinction. On paper, extraterrestrial superpowers and people-eating monsters set up a dark film with an exciting plot line. That being said, the movie is often lacking and a bit too goofy in its execution of these elements to really grow into its own compelling premise.
Now, that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy watching “Venom.” As far as high budget superhero action movies are concerned, it actually really succeeds with its computer generated action scenes and most of its comedy. The comedic aspect of the film was enhanced by Tom Hardy’s genuinely hilarious delivery of some of his funnier lines, and the special effects were more than sufficient to keep me engaged during the action scenes. In general, “Venom” was an entertaining film from start to finish.
The issue I found in watching it, however, is that it sometimes doesn’t take itself seriously enough to be the movie I think it’s creators wanted it to be. At least, when comparing it to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it too often sacrifices the integrity of its plot in order to provide that light-hearted and friendly vibe we get from most other Marvel films. For example, throughout the film, the parasite speaks to Eddie in his mind and claims to know everything about him because he can read his thoughts. While the dialogue between Eddie and Venom can be comical at times, it usually adds a sense of ridiculousness to, and even discredits, the film’s core plot. It creates a lot of moments similar to those found in “Deadpool,” where the viewer is left thinking “did he really just say that?” Though in the case of “Venom,” the silliness of the dialogue isn’t wholly compatible and harmonious with the storyline and premise of the film. It also highlights some pretty obvious plot holes and odd character choices that go unexplained, which is the sort of thing that typically ruins a movie for me. So, actually, the fact that I still enjoyed watching “Venom” speaks to its entertainment value as an action movie.
After seeing the film, I can’t complain too much about my experience, as I believe the main purpose of a movie should be to entertain its audience. However, I feel certain that I would have enjoyed it more had its director focused on maintaining the mood created by the premise rather than trying to mimic the mood of previous Marvel films. “Venom” introduces some pretty compelling characters and ideas and, if you can look past the goofy inner dialogue and in-your-face inconsistencies, it’s fun to watch. So, if you’re not too picky about the skillful execution of your superhero action flicks, give “Venom” a watch. I think it’ll be worth your time.