Review by J.T. Johnson
DIRECTOR: Ruben Fleischer
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Matthew Libatique
WRITERS: Jeff Pinker, Scott Rosenberg, Kelly Marcel
MUSIC: Ludwig Göransson
Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention! Something has happened that is a first for me in the ten plus years I’ve been reviewing movies. A film has managed to travel through time from the early 2000s to our present day. It’s name is “Venom” and this is a movie that probably would have thrived when superhero films first took the big screen by storm but it has no place in a post-MCU world.
Before I continue, though, let me go ahead and say that this film was nowhere near as bad as it could have been. There are some good performances, some good special-effects and even a decent action scene or two along the way. The problems with the film has everything to do with the writing and the pacing of the film.
The movie starts off incredibly slow yet somehow manages to rush the story along at the same time. I was honestly kind of impressed with this apparent paradox. While it feels like it takes forever to get Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) and the symbiote that is Venom together, they rush through his backstory as a disgraced reporter that quickly loses not just his job but his girlfriend Anne Weying (Michelle Williams) at the same time.
Eventually, a scientist (Jenny Slate) working for the evil Elon Musk wannabe Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) tells Eddie about Carlton’s evil plot to combine symbiotes to human hosts. When Eddie does investigate, he becomes the unwilling host of Venom. However, if the first part of the movie is slow as hell, then this is where things start to go way too fast.
There is virtually no struggle between Eddie the host and Venom the parasite before they start getting along. Also, Venom initially wants to destroy the planet with his fellow symbiotes but without warning he suddenly changes into an Earth loving hero for pretty much no reason at all. This all leads to a rather anticlimactic final battle before the movie is suddenly over and you realize that you’ve only spent an hour and forty minutes at a movie you could have sworn was well over two hours.
My only other major gripe beyond the lackluster script is the villain. Ahmed as Carlton has to be one of the most two-dimensional villains I’ve seen in some time. Also, his motives were not really all that clear as well as he considers humanity a parasite itself that has wasted this planet yet, for some unknown reason, he also wants to save humanity.
Finally, I just want to also point out that Venom doesn’t look like a bulked out version of Spider-Man for no reason. This villain should have appeared in those films first long before getting his own movies. This is why I wish that Sony would abandon its plans for superhero films beyond those starring Tom Holland and set in the MCU.
I know I’ve complained a lot about this movie, but again I must state that I didn’t completely hate it. What I did feel, though, was boredom and sometimes that can be an even worse experience.