By Alexa Garbus
Venom is a modern day action movie produced in association with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Venom takes place in a modern San Francisco, where the movie follows the origins of Eddie Brock’s experience with the symbiote Venom.
The movie begins with the successful Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), who makes a living on commentary on social injustices that he shares on his TV show. His fiance, Anne Weying (Michelle Williams), is a lawyer working for the firm that represents Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), an extremely controversial billionaire. Carlton Drake has made many scientific advances for humankind, but he is very controversial nonetheless. It is rumored that he has used humans as test subjects in his experiments. When Ed is asked to interview Drake to spread his good image, Ed instead decides to ask Drake about things that most likely would not present Drake in a positive light as was the supposed intention. To further twist the knife, Ed learns more about Drake at Anne’s expense because it is information from confidential documents on her laptop. After the interview, both Anne and Ed are fired from their jobs, and Anne breaks off their engagement.
Six months later, Anne is successful and with another man, while Ed is nearly broke and without a job. During this time, Drake has been testing what he calls symbiosis of man and a certain alien parasite they found. Dora Skirth (Jenny Slate), a scientist working for Drake, sees this as an injustice and has had enough. She calls upon a still resentful Ed to come in and expose Drake for what he is doing. Ed goes to the lab under the cover of nighttime emptiness. He takes pictures of what is going on in the lab with the parasites and humans. Ed finds a homeless woman has been joined with a parasite. He attempts to break her out. While he is successful in doing so, it is not before she dies and not before the parasite transfers itself into his body. Surprisingly, this parasite, named Venom, is a perfect match with Ed. Venom grants Ed the powers of superhuman strength and shapeshifting abilities. Venom’s weaknesses are fire and very high pitched noises. Ed decides to let Venom stay with him, as he will most likely die if he doesn’t.
Eventually, Drake joins with a parasite as well, a warlord of this type of alien named Carnage. These aliens came to Earth to take over the human race. Needless to say, Drake and his parasite face off with Ed and Venom. In this battle, Drake and his parasite are killed. Despite the common thought that Venom perished in their fight, Venom survives and is still living in symbiosis with Ed at the end of the movie.
The movie features good acting on Tom Hardy’s behalf, as he uses his charismatic charm in a subtle manner. However, the rest of the actors are unspoken for. There are many points when the acting is bland, and the reactions just seem forced. Graphics wise, the symbiotes (Venom and Carnage) seemed like they could be real. The timing matched the necessary editing almost perfectly. Despite some questionable acting ability, the movie had many action scenes where the actors demonstrated great skill with great editing to back them up. Many of the costumes were simple, as it does take place in modern times surrounding mostly average people. However, the costume designers did do a good job with making sure that the clothing was accurate to modern times and fitting for the characters’ job status.
Overall, most scenes of the movie felt like a bland set up for the next movies (if there are any) to come. I would say it was almost a waste. Most of the movie was comprised of great action, but otherwise overall flat writing. Even though it’s expected of a comic book movie to be so, it wasn’t all that creative, especially when compared to other Marvel movies of this year. It might not be fair to compare this movie to the likes of Avengers: Infinity War and Thor Ragnarok, but Venom did not come across as well as the others did. I remember the first comment I made shortly after seeing the movie: it felt like it moved very quickly. The movie, despite its 2 hours and 20 minute screen time, felt very quickly paced. While the movie had some components that made it interesting and worthwhile, these pros were not enough to outweigh the cons.