I’ve been a Venom fan since I was a kid. I grew up with the 90’s Spider-Man cartoon that my father bought. I grew up with Groves graduate Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, in which Venom/Eddie Brock is played by Topher Grace. So when I heard about the production of a “Venom” solo movie, I was excited.
“Venom” lived up to my expectations, though my expectations weren’t incredibly high. But does it deserve a 31% on Rotten Tomatoes? No.
“Venom” is the story of Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), a San Francisco-based journalist, set up to interview the CEO of Life Foundation, Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), a kind of Elon-Musk-mixed-with-Carl-Sagan, but evil. After discovering confidential Life Foundation documents detailing illegal human testing on his fiancé Anne (Michelle Williams)’s computer, his interview is shut down early, Anne is fired, and dumps him.
Six months later, Eddie lives alone in a small apartment. After being helped into a Life Foundation facility by an astrobiologist working for Drake, Brock encounters a black, gelatinous substance, which infects him. Brock escapes the facility, exhibiting superhuman strength and agility. He slowly begins to hear a voice in his head- the Venom symbiote. Throughout the movie, Brock familiarizes himself with the Venom symbiote, eventually fully embracing it and becoming the ebon, hulking, binary entity named Venom. Venom eventually faces off against and defeats Riot, the symbiote avatar of Carlton Drake.
In a post credits scene, Brock interviews the serial killer Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson) the future host of the murderous Carnage symbiote.
“Venom” isn’t as good as proper Marvel movies like Thor: Ragnarok or Captain America: Winter Soldier, but isn’t as bad as Marvel movies like Thor: The Dark World or The Incredible Hulk. It is slow at times, engaging at others. It tries to have elements of horror, which it incorporates decently. It switches between tones rapidly, but I don’t feel that it detracted. Some lines were quite funny, because the symbiote, who the audience expected to be rather formal in speech, uses informalities like “loser” and “told you”.
“Venom” is also intended to be a cinematic universe-creating movie, in which the Marvel characters that Sony owns share. Though it doesn’t set up films for other villains, it sets up the sequel nicely with the post-credits scene.
All in all, Venom is a fun, if somewhat mundane, movie. It has its moments, and has some deficits, but it is not nearly as bad as the wrecks called “Catwoman” and “Daredevil.” At its goopy core, it’s a solid action movie that has fun moments. Venom is ultimately a nice 8/10.
Venom is out in theaters now.