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I love the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and how they made superhero movies a viable genre, so much so that people are discussing Black Panther getting an Oscar nomination. Before that, superhero movies were either campy, mediocre, or downright terrible. Granted, there are still films made today that aren’t under the MCU banner that have varying reception. And even before Spider-Man Homecoming, there was a reboot of the Spider-Man series that didn’t go over too well. In that vein, came one of Spider-Man’s iconic rivals. Venom.
When the trailer for this launched, it excluded the title character to keep the mystery. Since then, he’s become somewhat of a question mark and people try to figure out what role it had in the film. Now that the film’s out, I figured I’d at least check it out. So, let’s see how this goes down.
The story follows Eddie Brock, a reporter uncovering the dirtiest news and willing to speak for the truth. Once he lands an attempt with science expert Carlton Drake, his accusations utterly ruin him. Yet when Mr. Drakes’s efforts reveal an insidious plan with three aliens parasites, one of which consumes Eddie, he must be forced to work with this mysterious Venom and stop Carlton Drake’s evil plot.
There’s a lot to say about this. The movie did have its badass moments. Many of the fight sequences were well done and truly crafted the horror of Venom’s evil side. The anti-hero aspect is a welcome take on the iconic villain and it’s executed quite well.
For the most part, Eddie seems likable enough. He’s a guy who isn’t one for subtlety. He’s a bit of a loon at times and isn’t too sure what’s happening. And to be honest, the movie started off well. It had a convincing main character, a villain with a purpose, and had brilliant action scenes that showcase the hero perfectly.
But it did have a number of downsides. I have a list actually.
First, it took way too long to set up Venom. They did show off the parasitic beings in their goopy form, which was nice, but it felt like a long episode to a whole season, rather than a two-hour film. They should have introduced him much earlier. Instead, even though he’s in the building, he ends up destroying his own career and that of his girlfriend’s and it isn’t until about forty-five minutes in do we see him get his power and even longer until we see Venom first appear.
Which is more or less where the series goes from potentially viable to “just another idiot duo comedy.” Venom is more or less blunt compared to Eddie and forces him to get into ridiculous situations. I get that Eddie is more or less supposed to be funny, and I don’t mind his character, but I felt like seeing two different takes on him.
When Venom is fully visible, he’s a hunter biting people’s heads off. Outside, the two exchange banter that’s out of place for the film it’s trying to tell.
Venom and Eddie Brock
I do want to talk about their dynamic because I felt there was a lot there, but a hugely missed opportunity. To start, I felt considering how long it took to get to see Venom, that they should have made the two interact more to develop character development.
Basically, it should have focused on those two rather than his relationship with his girlfriend. About a year ago, there was an anime called Parasyte ~the maxim~ which had a similar story. In it, Shinichi is forced to work with a parasite he names Migi, and although he hates the creature with a passion, he’s forced to do things against his will and kill just to survive.
This film could have incorporated the plot based on that. Venom could have had a purpose that went against Eddie’s worldview but made the two into this buddy-cop duo that didn’t seem to mesh with either personality. Here you have a serious character act like an utter goof. If they could have worked out their focus a bit more and made it more about Eddie and Venom than this romantic subplot, they could have had a classic that could stand alongside the MCU. Instead, it’s Hollywood as usual.
And this was something that couldn’t have been too hard to fix before even filming. A little care goes a long way instead of trying too hard to be the next big thing.
What? You thought I was going to go through this entire thing and not bring up this scene? Oh, I haven’t forgotten.
So there’s a point in the film where Eddie and Venom are separated, yet Carlton Drake’s goons kidnap him in an effort to recover the Venom symbiote from him. However, Venom inhabits other creatures, including a cute, yappy dog (which wasn’t bad on its own but just wait). Then, it’s implied that Venom inhabits Annie and eventually, the two reunite and then…
We see Venom take over Annie, becoming a sexy supermodel venom and thus, the two make out.
If that made you tilt your head and made you question your Spider-Man collection…well, you’re not alone (even though I don’t have a Spider-Man collection).
I couldn’t see any reasoning behind this. To clarify, this film had a decent start in spite of its pacing issues. The plot was engaging. The villain was convincing and likable, and Eddie had a good personality to start off. After a while, it was a bumpy road, it had its outstanding moments.
This made me just question the writers involved and I’m curious if they just lost track or watched too many Spider-Man reruns on Netflix. I mean, does that big, hulking badass with the long tongue and cackling laugh get reduced to cringe humor, but they make it into a pointless joke that had no purpose in this film.
It might seem like I’m overreacting, but I really do have to wonder why this character wasn’t handed to Marvel Studios if THIS was the best they had to offer. If they had spent a little time taking special care to an iconic villain, this could have been a classic. After seeing this, I’d say give Venom to Marvel Studios. Let them show you how it’s done.
Not entirely sure what to make of this. This film did have some strong moments. It had plenty of intense action scenes and iconic moments, yet it’s humor and strange pacing and character development that it basically comes off as a mixed bag. I didn’t outright hate it, but I didn’t love it either. If this could have been worked on a bit longer, and made the dynamic between Eddie and Venom, it could have been a better film. For now, I’ll only recommend it based on curiosity. It wasn’t exactly a masterpiece, but I had a fun time.
That’s all for today. Take care, and remember, the inn is always open.