Venom is the latest attempt at the superhero genre by Sony but this time starring Tom Hardy as a character they already horribly messed up with nearly eleven years ago. I mean hey at least this movie fixes Spider-man 3’s biggest problem. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t excited for Venom (I really like the character) but maybe next time we can get a proper R rating?
Tom Hardy is easily the best part of Venom. Like most of the other characters he’s portrayed he absolutely sinks into the role of Eddie Brock. He has this natural charm that makes even the most dislikable character somewhat likable. Even when the movies at its worst Tom Hardy’s there doing his best to make sure the movie works, and it does to an extent. There are some scenes in the beginning that even he can’t make work but fortunately by the second half the movie gets a hell of a lot better and thankfully so does the dialogue.
Unlike what the trailer led many to believe the special effects are actually quite impressive. They managed to make Venom look realistic while also still looking slightly goofy and cartoony. It never just looked like a giant blob of CGI (though it is definitely still that) It actually looks like Venom (unlike whatever the hell Topher Grace was supposed to be in Spider-man 3).
The movie shines when it chooses to focus on the dynamic between Eddie Brock and Venom. Unlike the rest of the movie the writing for Venom and Eddie is actually pretty damn good. It makes Venom the snarky, bad ass,head eating symbiote we know and have grown to love. Unfortunately that’s one of only three and a half things this movie managed to get right.
When I say and a half I’m referring of course to the action scenes. As good as the special effects and acting are in these scenes it can’t make up for the fact that Sony absolutely butchered this movie on the cutting room floor. The filmmakers were clearly trying to make the Hard R Venom movie we all wanted, and so the scenes were shot as such. Unfortunately that is not the movie Sony wanted. Yep that’s right, Sony took Venom and neutered it. Every time something violent or interesting (Like Venom biting a head off) happens on-screen it quickly cuts away to something random (Like pedestrians running away in terror). It’s like Sony let them shoot the movie they wanted to make that way it would get made, then took it to the MPAA and said what’s the bare minimum we need to cut to get that PG-13 rating. Put bluntly the editing becomes a cluster-f##k as a result. You think Sony would have had the balls to go for it after the success Fox has had with Deadpool and Logan, but nope Sony refuses to make something people actually want to see.
The thing I felt that held back Venom the most was that PG-13 rating. I feel like had they gone for it,had Sony committed to the darker tone the filmmakers were clearly going for I feel that they would have at least been able to resolve the choppy editing. In the end what truly holds Venom back is Sony’s utter incompetence. Had they given the fans what they wanted, a hard R venom movie coupled with body horror and dark humor (It has slight elements of it but nowhere near enough) then I think Venom would have turned out much differently, unfortunately that’s not the movie we got. What we got was a muddled mess of a movie that can’t find its footing due to the fact that its written by four different people.
Another thing I hated about Venom was that they absolutely wasted Michelle Williams. She has time and time again proven herself to be an incredible actress capable of bringing great depth to her characters. Unfortunately (I seem to be using that word a lot this review) her character seems to be little more than some love interest for Eddie to pine for. She does have a few good moments in this movie where she’s allowed to do her thing, but it just isn’t enough. I hate it when movies bring in incredibly talented actresses and just reduce them to a cliché love interest. When I saw Michelle Williams was cast I kinda knew this would happen but I had hoped it turned out differently.
Venom is an uneven film even at it’s best. Despite all its flaws I still enjoyed the hell out of it (well the second half of the film). If you go in wanting to just munch a bag of popcorn and be entertained by Tom Hardy kicking ass for 2 hours I think you’ll get your money’s worth. But if you’re in the market for anything other than a guilty pleasure you’ll more than likely come out disappointed.
I rate Venom a D+ or 5.2 A.K.A. Guilty Pleasure
If you want a good Venom movie that’s not really Venom but is eerily similar and is actually good, watch Upgrade. Upgrade is everything this movie should have been ,hell it even stars Tom Hardy’s look alike (Logan Marshall Green). I saw it while it was in theaters earlier this year and meant to review it but never found the time so I may release that review alongside my review of A Star Is Born so keep an eye out for both of those later this week.