Hey gang, Valkor here. Ever since the whole MCU began way back with the first Iron Man film, I’d always hope that at some point either with the first Avengers’ film or any of the others films that followed, Sony would let loose of its hold of Spider-Man, and our favorite web crawler would get his moment to shine amongst other Marvel favorites. Not only that, but there’s plenty of other characters in his gallery that are ripe for the live-action plucking. One of my favorites is Venom; this was a character whose solo, live-action debut was touted years ago. However, it never came to be… until 2018. And while there’s plenty of reasons why the Venom film won’t rank as one of my favorites, it’s still an enjoyable mess.
Venom does a lot to stray away from his Spider-Man origins, mainly there’s no Spider-Man… at all! No mention of him, Peter Parker, The Daily Bugle, nothing! The world of Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy – The Dark Knight Rises) begins in San Francisco, where Brock is an investigative reporter for some television network. And he’s given the opportunity to interview “visionary” Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed).
Quick pause: the film actually opens in space, which also involves one of Drake’s rockets that crash lands on earth. Within said rocket were creature samples, of which, one of them has gone missing. What’s this all about? Read on!
Initially, Brock is against the idea of interviewing Drake because he thinks the guy is scum. But after some persuasion, he agrees to take on the job. Furthermore, he uses confidential information swiped from his lawyer girlfriend, Annie's (Michelle Williams – Shutter Island), computer. And it’s during the interview that he unleashes this new detail about Drake that pushes all the wrong buttons. In the end, the interview is cut short, Brock is fired for overstepping, and Anne is fired because Brock used her info.
The film switches gears with Brock down and out on his luck, bills are piling up, and he and Annie are broken up. Back at Drake’s lab, it’s revealed that he’s been working on symbiotes – parasites that latch onto a host human or whatever to survive. How do the two go together? It’s during one of the human tests that one of the hosts died and one of the scientists, Dr. Dora Skirth (Jenny Slate), had something of a change of heart. She reaches out to Brock, in hopes that he’ll help reveal what Drake has going on. She sneaks him onto the lab, shit hits the fan, and our boy Eddie gets hitched with a symbiote. And if Eddie thought his world was already messed up, well things are about to get way crazier. Now the two must learn to work as one to not only survive each other but also to survive the nefarious plot Drake has cooked up. Remember that one sample that got away? Well, it’s found its way to Drake and the two are about to unleash hell on earth if unless Venom can put a stop to it.
If you sit through to the mid-credits, you’ll get a nice Carnage surprise, which I’m assuming is the precursor to a sequel. However, I’m disappointed by the fact that there’s no linkage to Spider-Man since that’s where Venom’s true origin began. So how does the film stand on its own? Let’s find out in the TOV Breakdown.
At the start of this piece I called the Venom film an “enjoyable mess”. And that’s exactly what it is! The story is all over the place, but at its heart is Eddie Brock’s story of how he’s taken down as a reporter only to rise up as this head-munching, too many teeth and a long tongue of a symbiote beast that’s also a hero to all of mankind. Unfortunately, you don’t get to see much of Venom until almost an hour into the film. But when he does show up, that’s when I truly started to enjoy myself. From the moment Venom (the symbiote) enters the picture, you’re then bombarded with all sorts of awesome action (car chases, bullets screaming, huge explosions). And even the jokes the symbiote spouts were executed well enough that it’ll give you a chuckle or three. Visually, the creature looks great and is as creepy as ever and much better looking than the SM3 version; this one actually has some brawn! The performances work to carry the film, with no real standouts in my eyes, though I'm sure many will give mad props to Hardy. I thought he was cool enough but I enjoyed the Venom character more; one of my favorite scenes is when the symbiote tells Brock to jump out of a window. And when he doesn’t he calls him a “pussy”. It’s funnier when you see it in action. In the end, if you’re looking to kill some time and watch a fun flick, then why not give Venom a try.
I’m still not a fan of the whole detachment of Spider-Man bit; as much as the wall-crawler belongs in the MCU, Venom, and Brock belong in the Spiderverse. Their stories belong together. And if the two were in the same universe, I think it would have made for an even more entertaining flick overall. I hope the two eventually cross paths so we can get one badass fight, on-screen fight or team-up battle. Either way, I’m sold!
Venom is currently making the theatrical rounds with a home release not too far off. If you haven’t seen it and you’re a fan of the Marvel films, even though this one isn’t really connected, then, by all means, check this one out. It’s not a terrible film; in fact, it’s actually a lot of fun. Plus, you’ll get a better Venom story than what you got with Spider-Man 3. In the end, out of TOV 5 stars, I’m giving Venom a 3.5.