Venom Review: Even without Spider-Man, Venom still finds a way to shine
Look, it’s easy to poke fun at Sony for the flawed attempts in creating great Spider-Man films since, well, it hasn’t been exactly the smoothest ride for them. Spider-Man 3 is basically just a meme and the Amazing Spider-Man series never really earned its name. So with Marvel and Disney now having a web-slinger of their own, Sony had to do something with their other Spidey properties, right? Well, whether you wanted it or not Venom is here and the question is: Did Venom capture everyone’s favorite villain/anti-hero accurately?
In my opinion, the film actually does a great job reminding what I love about Venom and is held together pretty well by the solid performances by its cast. Tom Hardy captured exactly how I feel Eddie Brock and is easy to tell how much effort he truly put into his performance. While often associated as just a villain, Eddie isn’t necessarily a bad guy. Sure he makes selfish choices and is kind of a jerk to everyone around him, but he has the overall best intentions and is defined a little bit by his mistakes. Hardy captures on all of this in his performance and even touches on the loneliness and stress that Eddie goes through.
But nothing compared to Hardy’s help in delivering lines for his character’s alter ego Venom as he brings the good old, Deadpool-like charm that anyone could love. What really defines Venom is a couple of things: he interrupts Eddie at any chance he gets, he eats people to survive, he is gigantic dominating force, and he loves joke around and doesn’t take himself seriously. Venom captures on all of this, for the most part, and brings exactly what the character is to the big screen.
There’s a pretty solid dynamic between all of the characters and Riz Ahmed actually plays a pretty interesting villain. Ahmed’s Carlton Drake is more of an intellectual foe to Venom and Eddie’s more strength oriented nature and their clash is pretty entertaining throughout. The film’s symbiote antagonist, Riot, has an interesting look, but not really much else to him.
He also is a part of the film’s major problem for me: the editing. The editing in Venom has some definite low points as the story can feel choppy. There are moments were viewers will see some sections were clearly cut out and they will find themselves feeling a little confused as to how they got to this scene. It’s a little jarring to think how they missed these mistakes and, let’s be honest, if a viewer can look at a scene and tell you what should’ve happened, there’s clearly something wrong.
The film also has elements of horror that are mostly just face value and could’ve been played with a little bit more. It’s easy to say that this is basically due to the film’s PG-13 rating, because let’s be real it really should’ve been R, but even for someone like Rueben Fleischer, who can usually balance horror and comedy pretty well, his comedy over shines his attempts at horror.
Even with all of this mind, though, this film definitely has moments that will make fans smile. The dynamic between Eddie and Venom is perfect and exactly what I expected it to be, there are some fun action set pieces that ramp up the pace, and Venom looks great with a slick CGI look.
Look, Venom doesn’t try to reinvent the superhero movie formula and it isn’t a perfect work of art, but its one hell of a ride. There’s plenty to love about Venom and there’s no doubt that there’s a sequel in the works that will hopefully fine tune the mistakes made in the film (like the rating). Venom captures everything I love about the character without the need of Spider-Man and it’ll be interesting to see what Venom’s future looks like.