Venom Review – Lacking the MCU Magic but Curiously Entertaining
When the first Venom trailer dropped, I, along with most comic book movie fans, became very skeptical about the project. While I’ll state that the movie doesn’t sniff a proper MCU movie’s jockstrap, it’s far from the dumpster fire it has been labeled as. In fact, thanks to its cheese and paper-thin plot, not to mention its high comedy quotient, Venom comes off as surprisingly entertaining, and way funnier than I could have ever imagined. Tom Hardy may have a wonky American accent, but the dude kills it playing a curiously entertaining version of Eddie Brock, and Michelle Williams is no slouch either. In the end, I really enjoyed it, so take that for what it’s worth.
You can check out my full review in video or script form below.
Hey now fans of the MC, oh wait, I mean Sony’s last few remaining Marvel licenses, Matt Heywood here to review Venom, the Tom Hardy starring, symbiote-laden action flick that unfortunately didn’t fall under the purview of Kevin Feige.
There will be no spoiler present in this review.
For all intents and purposes, like many of you, I didn’t think Venom looked all that interesting based on its plethora of trailers and previews that came out trying to convince us that it was. I found Tom Hardy’s american accent to be comical and cartoon-like, and the lack of Venom shots in the first teaser definitely didn’t leave me feeling great about this movie’s potential.
Like a good geek though I still committed to seeing it on its early release night, and quite frankly, I’m glad that I did, because while Venom severely lacks the MCU movie magic, it’s far from the forgettable piece of Sony Marvel trash that some outlets have been describing it as. I mean to each their own, opinions are opinions after all, but I truly believe that Venom, even with its issues, is an entertaining film, and that’s all I really want when I tune out of real life for two hours to watch a fictional movie.
Venom definitely doesn’t feature a plot that I’d call MCU-worthy, and it’s loaded with generic comic book movie tropes, with the most egregious being Riz Ahmed’s Carlton Drake big bad, who more or less plays a Dr. Evil type of bad guy. Some of his lines are so cheesy you could dip a nacho into them, but at the same time the cheese of Venom is what makes it so damn fun.
The plot is very comic book movie origin-story-esque, so the first 20-minutes or so do move a bit slow as the character of Eddie Brock is introduced, as well as the film’s other leads. The fun really starts to hit you though after Brock becomes one with the Venom symbiote.
Once joined, Brock and Venom essentially turn this movie into a Buddy action comedy. I wasn’t expecting to laugh as hard and as many times as I did while watching this movie. I really didn’t even expect to laugh at all based on the trailers, so I have to say that I was most impressed with how comedic Tom Hardy played his dual role of Eddie Brock and Venom.
I mean his accent was still as funky as a pair of undies with too many racing stripes, but the dynamic he creates with Venom, who essentially lives inside his body and can feel every thought Brock has, makes it easy to forget this movie’s rather ho-hum plot and other oddities. Watching these two beings fight for control of a singular human body provides for some hilarious physical-based comedy, but thanks to Venom’s narrations while Eddie is still in Eddie form, you can also expect more than a few one-liners from the symbiote that will make you smile.
Tom Hardy, goofy American accent aside, definitely excels in his performance of these two characters, and one could argue that he makes the movie, and quite frankly, he’s created a take on Eddie Brock that I’d be down for seeing again, which could definitely happen based on one of the film’s post-credit scenes, and of course if Venom makes enough cash to warrant one. I just really enjoyed how Brock and Venom played off of each other, and their journey together, while rushed due to the rather fast pace of the film’s last two acts, provides for a few genuinely touching moments, as well as plenty of laughs and fun visual moments.
I found the humor in Venom to be its most surprising aspect, and easily its best, but the action set pieces are also pretty damn great, it’s just too bad the film wasn’t rated-R. I’ll concede that the CGI Venom could look a bit wonky at times, but during action beats it doesn’t even matter, because they all flow very well, and feature some spectacular cinematic moments. In fact, the end battle provides for some of the more interesting looking visuals I’ve ever seen in a climatic comic book movie fight between the protagonist and antagonist. Plus, the bike chase heavily teased in the trailers is also really great, and provides for a great introduction to Venom’s abilities.
There’s no doubt in my mind that if this Venom film was under the care of Feige and in the proper MCU, it’d be getting praised by critics, but it’s not. It definitely has its issues because it isn’t under the MCU umbrella, and isn’t groundbreaking in any fashion, but thanks to Hardy’s performance, and the undeniable comedic aspect of his relationship with an alien pile of space goo that lives inside him, I still found it to be an entertaining experience. In fact, I kinda wish Venom had a bit more content in it, because you can tell a decent amount of the film was cut to streamline the final two acts, and I think we lost a bit of the evolution of Brock’s and Venom’s relationship. Things just get a bit too convenient towards the end in terms of speeding plot threads along to get to the final showdown.
Call me brainless, mindless, dumb, or a fanboy, I don’t care, Venom is a 7 out of 10 type of dumb comic book movie, and I mean dumb in an endearing way. It’s one of those films that is far from perfect, but has enough juice in it to make it a cult classic. I have no problem recommending it to other comic book movie geeks, and I do believe it should be seen on a big screen, but with that being said, I will also say that if you’re ability to see movies in a theater is limited, then you won’t be missing out on anything life changing if you opt to save your first Venom viewing from the comfort of your home.
Thanks for watching, Matt Heywood here signing off for EntertainmentBuddha.com, where we make you a better geek, one post at a time.
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