Review: Venom

Despite concerns over the film's rating, "Venom" is an entertaining movie full of comedy and action.

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Review: Venom

Garret Roberts, Arts and Entertainment Assistant Manager

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There are few anti-heroes more interesting then Venom. Originally appearing as an evil foil to Spider-man, the alien symbiote has gained itself a fan base almost as large as the scarlet web slinger. Due to the character’s unique persona, Venom often brings a great deal of intrigue to the pages he has been printed on over the years. So when it came time to take the character to the screen, fans were cautious of a possible failure. Collectively wondering if the movie, “Venom,” could deliver on its promise and stay true to its title character.

Warning: There are a few, very minor, action spoilers; however, no plot spoilers have been revealed.

The plot of “Venom” follows Eddie Brock, an investigative journalist who begins to do research on the futuristic Life Foundation. As Eddie gathers information, he becomes bonded with the alien known as Venom, which gives him super human abilities and strange powers. The two quickly form a “buddy cop” relationship as they try to escape the Life Foundation agents sent to reclaim Venom and stop the evil symbiote Riot from achieving his goals.

Despite the simplicity of the plot, the story of “Venom” engages the viewer and holds their interest throughout the film. While the exposition takes up some time at the beginning of the movie, once Eddie bonds with Venom the plot takes off running and never slows down until after the climax of the plot. The story can seem simple at first, but that simplicity helps the film’s pacing immensely.

The pacing is also helped by the interactions between Eddie and Venom. Played by Tom Hardy, this iteration of Eddie Brock is likable and quirky, but it still maintains the sadistic nature the character needs to remain true to his comic origins. Believing his morals and ethics should come first, viewers can sympathize with Eddie as a character–something not possible in previous portrayals on the silver screen.

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Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock.

Despite playing both roles, Hardy’s interactions between Eddie and Venom seem genuine and playful enough to be entertaining. Venom, despite being an aggressive alien invader, isn’t afraid to use quips and jokes while talking to Eddie. Many of the jokes come directly from Venom, and they land with perfect timing and delivery. Venom feels like a fully realized character in its own right–full of emotion and life.

While none of the directing is particularly stellar, Ruben Fleischer did an excellent job of making every scene feel alive and full of weight. The environments never feel out of place, and while no tracks stand out in the film, the music never interferes with the scenes.

When Venom goes on the offensive, the cinematography is often at its best. The symbiote duo packs a punch and isn’t afraid to get slightly dirty in their fighting style. Multiple scenes show Venom biting off heads or using his enemies as weapons, which demonstrates the fundamental violent nature of the character. Rather than portray him as a pure hero, the movie has made sure to show that Venom’s methods are far from clean or perfect, which often causes a gasp or shocked reaction from the crowd. While not as visually impressive as the Russo brothers’ style in “Infinity War,” Fleischer does show a great deal of expertise throughout the film.

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Despite the intimidating nature of Venom, the character can come of as goofy due to his quips.

One failure of the film is its attempt at horror. “Venom” tries to add a horror element, but rather than adding to the movie’s weight, these scenes come off as cheesy or goofy. During one scene, Venom is meant to appear in a manner intended to scare the audience. The attempt fails and comes off as a funny rather than scary. For those going into the film for a horror experience, they are likely to be disappointed, but some fans will likely enjoy the cheesy “B movie” feel that those scenes invoke.

“Venom” is the perfect film to re-introduce the Marvel character of the same name to the silver screen. Offering an enjoyable experience for comic fans and casual audiences alike, the movie can be a blast to watch with friends; however, if you go into the theater looking for horror, you may be disappointed by the jokes and the lighter tone the film takes towards its main characters. Rather than poison the legacy of one of Marvels original anti-heroes, “Venom” makes sure to pave the way for the darker side of the MCU.

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