By Drew Henderson// A&E Editor
Coming for the studio behind great hits, such as “The Emoji Movie,” “Ghostbusters,” and “Slender Man,” comes another mixed misfire in Sony Studio’s portfolio of reboots, remakes and unnecessary sequels. One might ask how a Venom movie can be pulled off with the most important factor: Spider-Man. The result is not as bad as one might have expected with Tom Hardy doing a great job as Eddie Brock and voicing Venom as well. But everything else is still pretty awful, compared to more recent superhero films, such as “Infinity War” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming.”
In “Venom,” we see the focus turn to Eddie Brock, once Spider-Man’s longtime nemesis. In this movie, Eddie and Venom, must team up to stop Carlton Drake, a mad visionary, from helping launch an alien invasion on Earth. The plot feels so 2000s, Carlton Drake had to be the worst villain on the screen, maybe second to the rebooted version of Doctor Doom in “Fantastic Four (2015). ”In “The Night Of,” and “Rouge One,” Riz Ahmed was great, but it felt like he was reading cue cards while the producers dangled the paycheck in front of him. The film happens at such breakneck speed too that it is pretty jarring. One minute Venom is talking about how he came to Earth to help start an invasion for his species. Then 15 minutes later he’s confessing to Eddie that he loves the planet and is determined to become something on Earth, which feels like an outrageous and unjustified out-of-character moment.
But with the flaws of a rushed story, wooden characters and a painfully corporate decision to make the film PG-13, Tom Hardy is genuinely the saving grace of this film. The one thing I heard going into the film, was that the character Venom was pretty fun to watch and is the best part of the film, and I agree on that statement. Watching Venom and Eddie go back and forth in constant conflict with each other is hilarious. Venom often eggs-on Eddie to do certain things and he either ignores it, or Venom takes control, which makes for some funny moments, such as throwing himself into a live lobster tank to eat. The CGI for the Venom character was also great and it was pleasing to finally see the role as he should be, instead of the way he was portrayed in “Spider-Man 3” back in 2007.
Overall, my feelings are mixed about this film. While it was an enjoyable flick, in the same vein as watching “The Room” for laughs, I would not watch it again. The potential for such a great film was seething through the cracks of this corporate hack-job, and maybe if they had made the film R-rated to show off the brutality of the character fully, it could have been what “Deadpool” was for Fox. “Venom” is a disappointing start to a Spider-Man-less universe, but it has flashes of potential. The question is will Sony let those flashes of potential be flushed out in later sequels.
“Venom” sees Spider-Man’s most famous nemesis breakout in his first ever solo film. Photo by Sony Pictures