Sony’s Marvel Universe has finally kicked off with “Venom,” based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Directed by Ruben Fleischer (‘Zombieland’), it stars Academy Award nominee Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock, an out of luck journalist who became the host for an alien symbiote that gives him superpowers.
The film also stars Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Scott Haze and Reid Scott, and is produced by Columbia Pictures in association with Marvel.
The film begins with a space probe on its way back to Earth after discovering four symbiotic life forms. One of which escapes while in transit, causing the ship to crash in Malaysia. The bio-engineering corporation who owns the probe, Life Foundation, manages to retrieve the other three specimens and transports them to a research facility in San Francisco, while the other one escapes and possesses a human, as it tracks down the rest of the symbiotes.
The experiment to these symbiotes attracts the attention of investigative journalist Eddie Brock. After a series of mishaps, he finally comes face to face with one of the symbiotes who possesses his body and introduces itself as Venom.
A lot of critics are saying that “Venom” is the dumbest movie of the year, which maybe true given its nonsensical plot featuring a talking alien life form making jokes and comments on its host’s life. It’s as if we haven’t seen this before (remember the Japanese live action adaptation of the anime “Parasyte”?). It’s true that the film has a lot of plot holes and stuff that really don’t make any sense.
Still, its straightforward story is what gives it a more comic book feel. It’s fast pacing bears similarities to how comic book stories are plotted, jumping from one frame to another. Despite its fast pacing, you’ll still understand what’s going on and you won’t feel like you’re missing something because of its simple narrative. You also won’t notice its almost two hour running time and by the last few frames of the film, you’ll end up asking for more.
The film boasts some really gorgeous visuals, particularly those beautiful symbiotes enclosed in glass containers. I don’t know why but there’s this weird satisfaction watching these creatures move around, with their designs that are just so impressive. The look of Venom in full form whenever he takes over Eddie Brock’s body is also marvelous and terrifying to stare at with its hulking figure, shiny pitch black skin, white demonic eyes and that everlasting evil grin on his face.
The film is packed with high octane action that will leave you at the edge of your seats. Audiences will surely enjoy the movie’s exciting action scenes, especially whenever Venom would pop out to help his host, Eddie in fighting the bad guys. The scene featuring Eddie on a motorcycle being chased around San Francisco by some guys sent by the Life Foundation was one of the wildest chase sequences I’ve seen.
Riz Ahmed nailed his part as the film’s main antagonist, Life Foundation CEO Carlton Drake, who later became the host of another symbiote named Riot. Michelle Williams wasn’t given much to do, and is forced to act just like any other leading lady in a superhero film. Much of the film’s credit is for Tom Hardy’s effective dual performance as Eddie Brock and Venom (specifically providing his voice for the character).
His transformation from the cool and confident investigative journalist to the out of luck bum was very believable. His character’s relationship with Venom was one of the best aspects of the film, starting out as a parasite latching itself unto its host and forcing Eddie to do lots of hilarious things (like jumping into an aquarium and biting into a live lobster) which eventually evolves into a solid friendship.
Their arguments are infused with loads of humor. Their contrasting personalities create a different dynamic onscreen chemistry that gives the film its soul.
So despite a lot of critics dissing this movie, I highly recommend that you see it for yourself. “Venom” is a fun and highly entertaining superhero film that has all the goods: high octane action, dark twisted humor and an amazing performance from Tom Hardy.
Heck, it’s even more fun than most Marvel Studio films.