Friday, October 5, 2018


Mild spoilers, I guess. TBH there's not much to spoil.

The sooner studios that aren't Marvel realize that when dealing with superhero movies, they're so far behind the game that it would be wiser and more productive to invent an entirely new game, the sooner the superhero genre can get the revitalization it so desperately needs. Sadly, I expect it won't happen until the genre has first died off completely. And Venom is just one more nail in a very, very large coffin.

Look: I gave it the best chance I possibly could. I tried. It didn't. You let me down, EDDIE.

It's not awful. No, okay, it is awful, but not any more so than your average by-the-book Marvel movie. And it does have a few things to it that Disney Marvel won't do -- like semi-horror scenes and tastefully biting people's heads off -- but in the grand scheme of things that amounts just about nil. It makes the movie stand out from the pack as much as Ant-Man and the Wasp stood out from the pack because people shrink in it. In other words, yes, there are some different details in the dressing, but it's all still the same stale formula.

Even worse for Venom than Ant-Man though, because Sony doesn't have Marvel's secret sauce recipe. Instead they copy and fudge their way through, but the template they're trying to recreate is all wrong for the character. Marvel origins are exclusively redemption arcs, but Eddie and Venom are supposed to be an anti-hero. And "he's an anti-hero because he kills people sometimes" doesn't cut it, okay? Eddie ends up a better person than he starts and is in perfect control and harmony with Venom. Even in The-Movie-We-Shall-Not-Mention (Spider-Man 3, shhhh) Venom offered a temptation to Eddie that was appealing -- an addiction. Here, they're just kinda... buddies.

"EDDIE, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

I guess it was meant to be funny, and it almost was, but at the sake of compelling character. They also could've gone the route of: Eddie is a determined good guy; Venom is a determined bad guy; but they're stuck together and have to make it work. They did a little, early on. I guess I'm fixating on the way everything concluded. But come on -- the movie stopped right as it was starting to get interesting, so of course I am! I just wanted the status quo to be balanced. At first Venom is in control, then Eddie is in control but allows Venom privileges. I wanted more like the part where they're arguing about whether they should put their hands up or not -- but without the cheesiness.

I'm sure there's any number of ways the dynamic could've been more compelling. As a start, maybe cast a different actor as Venom's voice. It's hard to banter with yourself, you know? The problem is just that they put in minimum effort all around. Not that they made the wrong choices; that they made no choices. The whole time it felt uncomfortable, like it was being forced into a shape that didn't fit it. They had their risk-less, badly-formed mold, and their unusual, kinda dark, little baby story -- and maybe they were scared to try anything crazy, or maybe they just wanted to appease an audience, but they neglected it, plain and simple.

OR, they could've had Eddie lose Venom for longer, and have him actually try to get him back.

Poor Tom Hardy. I genuinely thought, when the teaser trailer released, that I would enjoy the movie no matter what, just because he was the lead, and there wasn't much CGI in sight. They even said Venom would have only 5 mins of screen time. They were right. I counted. But he was still always present -- reaching out with his CGI arms and saying "EDDIE" over and over, and not allowing a single moment's peace. And then there's three other symbiotes to consider. All in all, the movie is teeming with them. Hardy does his best, but it really makes no difference. He merely seems at odds with the movie's tone and lack of depth to explore.

Everyone else -- Riz Ahmed, Michelle Williams, whoever played her doctor boyfriend -- I couldn't care less about, except Jenny Slate. I tried to like Eddie, but Jenny's character was the only one I felt anything for. She had a unique and important position in the story, she had a dilemma, conflict, threat... she should've been the main character, or at least the main supporting character. What a wasted opportunity. I didn't fall for the rumor it was going to be rated R (I did fall for the Spidey cameo one though, and that was a whopping BUST) but man, they should've gone for the R. They had to go out of their way to keep it PG-13.

Every time the camera does a "tasteful turn-away" you can feel the regret.

And the times you could feel the want of violence were the best -- when the tone edged on horror and the dark comedy got actually dark. They could've had something moody and strange -- like The Predator with it's I-do-what-I-want tone that audiences had to decide to take or leave. Or it might've been the blockbuster version of Upgrade, just with big action sequences and franchise-able characters.

It did remind me of both those films at times, but in ways that made me sigh and wish I were watching them instead. Venom isn't the worst superhero movie ever, but it is... it's just... it's... not even worth a wrap-up line.


  1. I love Tom Hardy, so it's disappointing to see how bad Venom has been received and wrote the character. It sounded like he had a lot of fun with the role, but I doubt Sony will ever step up to the plate to make compelling superhero movies. Nice review!

    1. I know it, almost doesn't seem possible he could be involved in something so disappointing. Well, I do have a lot of hope for Spider-Man into the Spiderverse! Thanks!