By: Mike Massotto
It’s rare to find a movie revolving around a villain, especially in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). We’re all so used to the uplifting and slightly silly nature of Marvel’s superhero movies that we are instantly intrigued when a Marvel character has a movie that doesn’t take this approach. Going into “Venom,” this was what I was expecting- Venom’s character to be menacing, alien, and having no care for the well-being of humans. He is a Spiderman villain out to consume his lifeforce, twisting the mind of reporter Eddie Brock, whose career was ruined by Peter Parker. But this is not at all what we got in “Venom.” What we were instead given was a subpar Marvel film that smashes Deadpool and Hulk together, and that’s it.
So if Venom isn’t busy being a terrifying, Spiderman-eating villain, what’s the plot? The film begins with an outer space discovery by the unethical but stupidly rich company known as The Life Foundation, owned by Carlton Drake. It’s revealed that their outer space discovery is five “symbiotes,” which are alien beings that need a host to survive in an oxygen-rich environment. This is the point where the plot falls apart, because the goals of both Carlton Drake and the race of symbiotes are unclear. Drake wants to create a race of superhumans by combining the symbiotes and the humans, presumably through some fiction scientific method. But he never does anything to achieve this goal. In fact, all the villain achieves throughout the film is killing a handful of destitute volunteers to find a “perfect host” and infusing one of the other symbiotes with himself. Furthermore, halfway through the movie it is revealed by Venom that their alien race intended to be found, so that they could give the rest of their symbiote kin the go-ahead to invade Earth to sate their hunger. This leaves many, many questions, but by far the most baffling plot hole is that Venom decides to be sympathetic towards the humans for no reason. In the movie, Venom claims that because he is “kind of a loser” in his own world, he likes being with Eddie Brock (his host) and that he doesn’t want the rest of the symbiotes killing all the humans. But why? Venom could very easily just take over Eddie Brock’s body 24/7 — and he should. Venom’s character design and traditional place in the Marvel universe doesn’t portray him as a comedic, silly, anti-hero who has a soft spot for humans. In sharp contrast, Venom is typically portrayed as a ruthless, nearly animalistic being that lives to inflict pain and consume, all while being stealthy and calculated when he needs to. While I’m open to new interpretations of a character, those new interpretations need to actually be good. Because of the personality Marvel decided to carelessly slap onto Venom, I felt like I was watching a comedy-flat “Deadpool” film with action scenes ripped directly from “The Incredible Hulk.” It doesn’t help that Venom is paired with a particularly deadbeat, dopey, and overused Eddie Brock; there is nothing good to say about Tom Hardy’s performance of the character. Hopefully, all of this is a lesson for Marvel Studios that they can’t just paste their superhero template onto any character and expect a good result.
The other glaring issue “Venom” proudly wears on its sleeve is its absolutely horrendous dialogue. The dialogue of “Venom” consists of every action-comedy trope in the past decade, and I can count how many of them were executed well on just one hand. I legitimately suspect that the dialogue was done in such a way that it would fit the trailer better than the movie, and even then the trailers failed to make the movie appetizing in my eyes.
But despite all of the criticism I’m spewing at “Venom,” I still had fun watching it. It was almost like watching the “Star Wars” prequels in how you recognize that they are awful, but you still find yourself smiling or chuckling at various moments in the film. Whether this is because the movie cracked a good joke or because of how unbelievably dumb some lines were is a different story. So if you happen to have some friends who appreciate that kind of movie, “Venom” is a movie your friends might enjoy.
Venom is no doubt a bad movie, and I can’t recommend it to anyone except for people who find joy in bad films, but I still enjoyed it. I can’t really explain why; maybe it’s the charm of the movie’s design, the mindless action and equally mindless comedy, or the lame yet quotable dialogue. Regardless, I had fun watching “Venom,” and that’s about the only good thing I can say about it. Its plot makes no sense, its interpretation of an amazing character is a huge flop, and its dialogue is the best joke the film has to offer. I graciously award “Venom” a 4 out of 10. That’s all folks!
Categories: Arts & Reviews