Venom: Bites off more than it can chew


Courtesy of Amazon

Anna Rachwalski

On May 4th, 2007, Spider-Man 3 was released by Sony, being the third installment in their Spider-Man movie trilogy.  They introduced a villain to the big screen- Venom, an alien symbiote, that in the movie, has taken over Spider-Man’s suit. The movie bombed in theaters, and Sony leant out the rights for Spider-Man to Marvel Studios. But Sony did something odd- they held onto the rights to Venom, and decided to make a movie. It came out eleven years after Venom’s original appearance, and though it was a box office hit, it was terrible.

The movie stars Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock, a snarky investigative journalist keen on exposing big companies and informing the people. Following a conflict with his fiancé, Anne Weying (played by Michelle Williams) and the leader of the L.I.F.E. Foundation, Carlton Drake (played by Riz Ahmed), where Brock questioned L.I.F.E.’s questionable and frequently deadly experiments using classified information, Brock is now poor, unemployed, and single.

L.I.F.E. scientist Dora Skirth (played by Jenny Slate) approaches him with more information about L.I.F.E.’s experiments, leading Brock to break into their compound, and come into contact with an alien symbiote named Venom, who uses Brock as a host. L.I.F.E. will do anything get that symbiote back, resulting in an action movie that takes itself too seriously.

The plot of Venom is confusing and predictable, with little to none of those typical shocking moments jam-packed in a superhero movie, (think of Avengers: Infinity War). Venom miserably attempts to be a multi-faceted action movie, à la Iron Man, with romance, sensitivity, and amazing special effects, but it falls incredibly short. Most scenes were over dramatised, but there were a few gems hidden in the dirt, including a remarkable scene with Weying and Brock at a seafood restaurant.

The romance between Brock and Weying is constantly overplayed, creating sappy, cliche moments that fall flat, due to Hardy’s fumbling over exaggeration of an American accent,  and William’s lack of character development.

The failure of their romantic scenes is almost surprising- due to both actors’ commendations and credibility throughout the industry. But along with other actors, like Jenny Slate, who proves she is truly better suited to voice acting, the movie’s attempts to create a serious, dark movie combined romantic comedy, but due to overacting and terrible acting the film ended up being just plain bad. Riz Ahmed is the only actor who gives a half-decent performance.

On top of his acting, Hardy is a mess in this movie- for the majority of the film, he’s stumbling around San Francisco, sweaty, confused, and in a gray hoodie.  He is vying to be relatable to the audience, but failing out of undesirability. And yes, in a superhero movie eye-candy isn’t everything, but it’s nice for characters to at least look like they have a sense of personal hygiene. Additionally, his accent continuously falters, noticeably slipping back to his usual British a few times.

But Hardy’s Brock also has a good point- his bond with his parasitic alien, Venom. Their quippy back-and-forth dialogue and almost brotherly relationship lends some much needed humor to the otherwise “serious” film. Venom’s action scenes are also very well done, full with interesting elements and great CGI.  If the whole movie consisted of action and Venom/ Brock dialogue the movie would be golden.

But sadly, it doesn’t, leading Venom to flounder, heavy with romance that doesn’t quite make it and TV actors who should stay on TV (sorry, Jenny Slate). Venom gets a 2 out of 5 stars from me, and I don’t recommend you go see it unless you’re really craving some action. Otherwise, just wait for Captain Marvel.

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