Venom finally has his own movie. He was previously seen in Spider-Man 3, but shifting studio fortunes being what they are, his solo movie makes no mention of Spider-Man whatsoever even though he resembles Spider-Man for some unspecified reason. In this new incarnation, an alien symbiote comes from outer space, finds its way to disgraced journalist Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), and the two team up to fight evil businessman Dr. Cartlon Drake (Riz Ahmed), who has his own symbiote, Riot.
The debate over Venom has been kind of fascinating with a sizable portion of critics arguing that although the movie isn’t very good, it’s at least entertaining in a trashy kind of way. I’ll have my spoiler review up on Monday, but I’ll say right now that, for the most part, I was just kind of bored by Venom. The movie doesn’t even get interesting until Venom shows up at the end of the first act, and from there, the only bright spots are Eddie and Venom interacting with each other. This is a movie that is pretty much saved by Tom Hardy giving it his all as an actor, and I suppose we should expect no less from a thespian who thrives on challenging himself, whether it’s from covering up his face or sitting by himself in a car for an entire movie.
But watching Tom Hardy be wacky and Venom threatening to eat people isn’t enough to make this a compelling origin story, especially since neither character really seems to have much of an arc. Eddie starts out as a guy who will do whatever it takes to get a story, and by the end of the movie, he’s more rewarded than transformed. And as for the Venom symbiote, it says it’s “a loser” like Eddie, but that it likes Earth, so it will choose to help it. It’s a character without consistency, one second looking at all humans as if we were snacks, and the next deciding that we’re all worth saving.
There are certainly “fun” parts of Venom, but more than anything, it reminded me of the weak superhero movies from the mid-2000s like Catwoman, Daredevil, and The Punisher. These were superhero movies without a sense of identity and were more about selling a branded character than telling a good story. Venom definitely doesn’t have a good story, but I guess if you like Tom Hardy having a bromance with his cannibalistic alien buddy, you’ll get some cheap thrills out of the movie.
What did you think of Venom? Was it worth the wait? Do you want to see a sequel? Could this interpretation of the character reasonably share the screen with the current iteration of Spider-Man? Sound off in the comments.