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‘Venom’: Marvel’s own DC film?

  • Published at 09:43 pm October 14th, 2018
Tom Hardy's Venom photo
The film has very good CGI effects, starting with Tom Hardy’s transformation into Venom | IMDB

Let us start with the good. The film has very good CGI effects, starting with Tom Hardy’s transformation into Venom to its high-rise action sequence with symbiotic goo. The music of the film invokes no clear reaction from viewers for being too-much action film material, but very notably redeems itself with an end credits rap song by Eminem himself. Eminem lovers will definitely listen to the Venom end credit song on repeat, as it will remind them of their idol’s famous compositions of catchy choruses. As for Tom Hardy, he did all he could to portray a Marvel anti-hero with as much realism he could muster with his acting chops

I will be honest. I loved Ruben Fleischer directed “Venom.” I loved Tom Hardy’s portrayal of iconic Marvel character Eddie Brock, better than the hapless version of Topher Grace in Sam Raimi’s “Spiderman 3.” I was surprised with the negative to mixed reviews of the Sony-produced standalone “Venom,” which does not take place in the well-established Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, a close introspection after watching the film revealed some stark truths about it. This review will point out those stark truths of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Let us start with the good. The film has very good CGI effects, starting with Tom Hardy’s transformation into Venom to its high-rise action sequence with symbiotic goo. The music of the film invokes no clear reaction from viewers for being too-much action film material, but very notably redeems itself with an end credits rap song by Eminem himself. Eminem lovers will definitely listen to the "Venom" end credit song on repeat, as it will remind them of their idol’s famous compositions of catchy choruses. As for Tom Hardy, he did all he could to portray a Marvel anti-hero with as much realism he could muster with his acting chops.

Now for the bad. Most noticeable is the poor screenplay overall. “Venom” can in fact be divided into a slow first half, and an action packed second half, and the inconsistency in pacing felt more accidental than deliberate. Secondly the antagonist fails to impress until he gets transformed into Riot (another symbiotic monster), which is to say, his actions and dialogues were delivered in a manner that fit his role, but genuinely lacks the depth of emotions and convictions we have come to expect from comic book villains. Most strikingly, Venoms’s love interest, Anne Weying, portrayed by Michelle Williams, does not have any endearing chemistry with Tom Hardy. I guess this problem can be attributed once again to the script. When Anne said that she enjoyed the kiss with Eddie, it just felt like a forced but needless reminder that they are to be a couple in future films. 

There are few things that can be considered as “ugly” in the film, figuratively speaking. The ugly bit was the comedy, which was delivered mostly through one-liners and interaction between Venom the symbiote, and Eddie Brock.  Why is the comedy ugly? For one, it failed to induce any laughter from the people watching the film with me, and I mean an entire hall-full of audience. The few laughs heard here and there were during moments without any comedy, so it seemed like the sheepishness of viewers pretending to enjoy the movie as it was too late to go to a different film. The “ugliest” delivery of all was when Anne says to herself that she is more capable or something, after assisting Venom, when the latter staunchly refuses to bring her along in the final fight. Her clear lack of terror at the fight between Venom and Riot shouts bad acting.

“Venom,” at the end of the day, is a gritty film as it deals with a dark character, but that is not why I felt it was “Marvel’s DC film.” That feeling came after watching bad comedy delivered repeatedly. It was reminiscent of “Suicide Squad” or “Justice League,” which, in order to have greater acceptance from cinema-lovers around the world, forcefully inserted jokes in storylines where none were required. The result was that people can easily target the bad delivery of one-liners that do not fit well with the scenes they are in, and the “suspension of disbelief” is lost among the viewers.


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