Venom: Spider-Man Story without Spidey

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Venom: Spider-Man Story without Spidey

Isaiah Smith, Staff

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Venom, starring Tom Hardy (Eddie Brock/Venom), was released this fall. Directed by Ruben Fleischer, the film has grossed over $377 million worldwide. An inconsistent film, from the very beginning, Venom had many obstacles to overcome.  

After the Sony Corporation refusal to sell the Spider-man film rights back to Marvel Entertainment (acquired by The Walt Disney Company in 2009), and with Sony’s film divisions not putting out the most quality of film in recent times, the mindset was Venom would not be a very good movie. This is a mindset that apparently stuck around with the movie’s critics as the film scored a 31% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 35 by Metacritic. 

Yes, the movie has it flaws, but overall it delivered on everything it promised from a Venom solo movie without the apparent obligation of a Spider-Man inclusion. Venom had an interesting enough plot, pretty well-written lines, main characters that the viewer could get invested in, expertly-crafted action sequences, and light-hearted humor. Throughout the film main character Brock was portrayed as a bull-headed and wise cracking reporter, but never to the point where he become unlikeable. Same goes for the rest of the cast who all played their roles modestly, if not a little “cartoony,” at times. 

The humor in the film comes up just enough to act as comedic relief, but it doesn’t distract the audience from the story at hand. The moments of comedy also don’t demean the viewer with running jokes that are designed to get a cheap laugh at nine-year olds. Instead, Venom legitimately tries to form solid moments of comedy between two or more of the characters with a build-up and a punchline. Sure, the jokes don’t always land, but considering the PG-13 rating the movie was given, this was definitely a step up on Sony’s part. 

The action in this movie is not the central point of the film, so it doesn’t come up very much until about midway through the film, but some of the action sequences we do get are truly a spectacle to watch. Seeing what the symbiotes could do on screen and the dynamic we get between Eddie and the suit is so fun to watch.  

Along with action and comedy, some scenes also had a touch of a horror overtone. Horror was an element of the movie that was semi-hinted to early in production with the October release date. The more creepy moments and unsettling settings made certain scenes much more suspenseful to sit through, and it was something really pleasant to see in a Venom movie considering how he is often represented in the comics. 

Speaking of which, how is Venom as a Superhero/comic book movie? Venom kept true to the source material while also making it relevant enough to the casual moviegoer as for them not feel confused or left out. In the movie there are plenty of  “easter eggs” and hints alluding to other characters and scenarios in the bigger Marvel landscape. There are also two end-credit scenes that could get any big superhero buff excited. Venom is well-adapted, and a mostly faithful representation of this long-established character. The Venom that appears in this movie is the best version to of the character to appear on the silver screen so far. 

There is very little negative to say about the first half of the movie as it was a very fun and solid opening; however, in the second half studio meddling starts to rear its ugly head. Near the end, the pacing of the plot seems to start rushing full speed ahead. All this could be explained by time constraints and scripts rewrites during production. This is a common problem during the movie making process, but still felt weird after watching such a promising opening.  

Towards the end is also where the movie takes a pretty generic turn; Not bad, just generic and predictable, where it becomes “just another superhero flick.” Never a good thing to see from a movie. 

Overall, this movie keeps you very much entertained. I would definitely recommend it, as long as you know you’re not going to get an amazing game-changer of a comic book movie. After all, what do you expect from a Venom movie where Spider-Man can’t be mentioned.  Sony delivered on most of what they were allowed to, and, if you can understand that and just lay back and view it as a film, it can be quite enjoyable.