Review: Venom


I was very reluctant to watch Venom: partly because of the lack of advertising & marketing campaigns and the poor reviews it had received in early screenings. But being a lover of all things Marvel, I made my way to an evening showing. I was quite surprised. Nonetheless Venom isn’t quite as captivating as his Avenger counterparts.

The thriller superhero picture follows Eddie Brock, an investigative journalist whose life gets turned upside down after becoming the host of an alien symbiote. The extraterrestrial inhabits Brock’s body, presenting him with super-human powers and an extremely violent and ruthless alter-ego – Venom.

More bark than bite?

Venom was successful in recreating and reviving a character audiences hadn’t seen on screen since a short cameo appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 yet the plot just seemed to move in a rollercoaster-like fashion. The film jumped from plot point to plot point without much focus on character or story. This meant a lot of development was sacrificed so the narrative could progress as quickly as possible.

Take the romance between Brock and Weying. Their separation appeared very sudden after the pair lose their jobs from Eddie’s brutal confrontation with Carlton Drake, the film’s antagonist. The entire opening section itself was very random before the time jump to six months later when the story started to get exciting.

Drake and his dull demeanour

My other complaint was the film’s villain, CEO of the Life Foundation, Carlton Drake. This was one part of the plot that I would have been happy to have sidelined. Played by British Pakistani actor Riz Ahmed, Ahemd rose to fame after his break-out role in Nightcrawler. He portrays a genius scientist who is obsessed with finding a way to better the human race and save the future.

Drake followed the stereotype of the “mad scientist” perfectly. However he spent most of his screen time fixated on screaming with anger at his security team or throwing orders at his employees. The character was anything but compelling. You couldn’t help but groan when he popped up on screen. Even when Drake was bonded to a different symbiote known as “Riot”, it made no difference whatsoever. He was almost cringy to watch.

Hardy the Hero

One area that excelled however was Hardy’s performance. I adored the likeness of Brock/Venom to Jekyll and Hyde. Two polar opposites in personality that work to form a comical relationship. Their humour very much reminded me of Deadpool, sharp and hyper-aware with the two inner monologues inside Eddie’s head.

Brock was clumsy, driven and lazy whereas Venom was sinister, merciless and all-around evil. The two were a perfect contrast. In a slow story, Hardy drove the plot to construct a distinct version of Venom that wasn’t previously seen in the comics and other media appearances.

The future of Venom

So what does the future hold for Venom? Well from the film’s mid-credits scene, it seems a sequel could be in the works. The introduction of Cletus Kasady, or Carnage to those who are well-versed with the comics looks very interesting. Sony are planning to launch a film series devoted to this crazy character. Plus Tom Hardy has revealed he has already signed on for two more films. Do you think the famed anti-hero will provide further success or could his survival be dependant on a mega superhero-crossover with Spider-man?

Rating: 6.5/10