“Rolling down the street like a turd in the wind,” may have been more than just a threat by Venom, the titular character in Sony’s first entry in their Sony Universe of Marvel Characters, or the SUMC. A universe that will contain over 900 characters who are mostly based on their interactions with your neighborhood-friendly Spider-Man. For those that do not know, Venom’s an alien symbiote, whose origin is heavily tied to Spider-Man, so for Sony to produce a Venom origin movie without including the web-crawler, was a bold move. Will this movie leave your Spidey senses tingling for more, or is it a movie that even the film’s anti-hero would make a kamikaze into a dumpster fire? Let’s review.
WARNING: Spoilers Ahead
Superhero movies are everywhere nowadays, so the tagline of “the world has enough of heroes,” may catch the eye for someone that is looking for something different from the genre. Venom stars Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed and asks, and you shall receive because this is something different and that is for better or worse. Venom, an alien symbiote, arrives on Earth thanks to a failed space mission by Carlton Drake (Ahmed) and his Life Foundation. The space shuttle crashes in Malaysia upon its return to Earth and left in the debris are four symbiotes, later to be named Riot, Venom and two who are unarmed. Riot escapes the crash site by jumping into various hosts while the other three are collected by the Life Foundation and transported to their offices in San Francisco.
Eddie Brock (Hardy) is a journalist/blogger who moved to San Francisco from New York after leaving his job at The Daily Globe, a New York-based newspaper. He is engaged to a lawyer named Anne Weying (Williams) whose law firm is working for Drake’s Life Foundation. Firstly, if opposites attract then these two have to be magnets because they’re not even close to being on the same playing field. Brock’s living in squalor in San Francisco while Weying is living a few tax brackets above him. He makes his money doing an Info Wars like Web show called “The Brock Report.” Hardy’s portrayal of Brock displays a lot of twitching and shaking, and that’s before the symbiote takes over and he doesn’t really have a lot of on-screen chemistry with Williams. Their characters seem like they’re in two different films, but more on this later.
Brock is looking for his next big story, and he has an upcoming interview with Drake, the head of the Life Foundation, which is being sued because they’ve been unethically using humans as guinea pigs. Ahmed’s Drake seems to be inspired a lot by Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk because both have a strong need to solve all of Earth’s problems and send people to space. I guess that’s just what billionaires do because why not? One night, Brock reads a few confidential files on his fiancee computer about the ongoing lawsuit against the Life Foundation and finds some disturbing things and decides to use this intel during his interview with Drake. During the interview, Brock asks a couple of softball questions, then he brings up the things he read the night prior and Drake isn’t having and it cuts the interview short. Drake has BIG MONEY and connections, so he ends up getting Brock fired from his job. Weyings ends up getting fired from her job thanks to Brock’s snooping, and just like that these magnets stop attracting. She gives Brock his engagement ring back and they go their separate ways. Very serious stuff, folks.
Six months later, Riot’s in Malaysia transferring from
extra to extra host to host trying to make his way stateside. Drake is testing the three symbiotes he captured onto different “volunteers” and they’re dying because they’re just not a good match with these Ivan Ooze lookin’ gooz. A few screams of pain and agony from the volunteers and one of the scientists just feels like what she’s doing is terrible and she needs to find a way to stop the madness. Eddie Brock is still jobless, yet he still lives in his rundown apartment in San Francisco aka, one of the most expensive cities in the United States, gottta love movies. He tries to convince Weying to comeback, but she’s moved on with a doctor (Dr. Dan!), someone in her tax bracket, and Eddie leaves his local bodega. At the bodega he knows he’s being followed by someone and a scientist from the Life Foundation, and she tells him that he needs to expose the truth because Drake is killing these volunteers. Eddie mentions that he’s not a hero, ya know, he’s taking this breakup really hard, and she gives him her business card in case he has a change of mind.
You already know he changes his mind so he and Ms. Science go to the Life Foundation and he gets his investigative journalism on and takes photos of these
people volunteers being held captive, a few corpses, a dead symbiote and then he recognizes a homeless lady he saw earlier and he tries to save her. He frees her from the cell she’s in, but he catches a parasite. Well, it’s really a symbiote that leaves her mouth and crawls into his mouth, and this is where the movie starts to shift in tone. Alarms are going off and security guards are running to find out the problem. Brock manages to escape thanks from help from Venom, the symbiote that controls his motorskills. Brock really doesn’t have good manners since he’s letting his host do all the work. I guess that’s the New York in him.
Venom is talking to Brock, and Brock is wondering where the voices in his head are coming from, even though he just had Venom crawl into his mouth not even a scene ago but cools. There’s a scene where Brock is looking for food in his apartment because Venom gets to eat, and Brock ends up eating a chicken leg out of the trash can and then blows chunks into his toilet. He looks in the mirror and sees Venom and freaks out and passes out. He wakes up and
Freddy Kruger Venom starts cracking jokes and is ready to eat. Brock needs to tell someone he trusts about what he saw the previous night at the Life Foundation so he sets out for Weying. Luckily for him and his new friend Venom she’s eating lunch with Dr. Dan! At the Suit & Tie upscale restaurant the movie becomes a comedy because Hardy is doing a lot of slapstick humor and Venom is talking to him. Brock, who talks out loud to Venom, himself is going table to table and taking the food off other people’s plates. He eats someone’s steak and Venom comments on how it’s “well done,” beause that’s a clever pun. Dr. Dan and Weying are asking if Eddie is okay and he says he is hot so he decides to jump in the lobster tank. He grabs a lobster and eats its head off and Venom laughs because the lobster was alive. Thankfully, this restaurant was so elegant that no one had their camera out and took pictures of this ungroomed man in the hoodie acting like he took a hit of something bad.
Dr. Dan and Weying convince Brock to get an MRI to see what is wrong with him and the noise from the machine is too loud for Venom. Venom tells Brock that fire and loud noises are his weaknesses. Back at the Life Foundation, Drake is pissed about Venom escaping so he confronted the scientist that brought Brock into the lab to ask her who was it that took the symbiote. She doesn’t want to say who it was at first, but Drake tells her that if she doesn’t tell him then he can’t fix it and he can’t save humanity. Like a snitch, she tells Drake it was Brock. Drake says thank you and locks Ms. Scientist in a room and unleashes the last living symbiote upon her. If this movie wasn’t rated PG-13 then her death would be on screen but instead we have to cut away to Brock’s rundown apartment.
Venom tells Brock not to answer the door, but instead of listening, he answers the door and there’s this generic squad of mercenaries that were sent there by Drake to collect the symbiote. Time for another action scene! Venom takes control of the situation, opens a can of whoop-ass and tells Brock that he should eat all the mercenaries head off, but Brock won’t allow it. Another squad came into the apartment, so they escaped. Venom does a lot of things using his tentacles. A motorcycle chase ensues and nothing really spectacular happens. Venom makes some poorly timed jokes, and the effects do not seem up to par for 2018. They finally escape from the mercenaries, and Venom tells Brock why he and the other symbiotes chose to get on the spaceship. The symbiotes chose to come to Earth because there’s a lot of possible host for them here, and since humans are a dying species due to climate change and other factors, Earth would be a great place for symbiotes to take over. While Venom says his goal is to get on a spaceship and go back to his home planet and bring the other millions of symbiotes back to Earth, Brock feels used and tells Venom that he can’t help him do that. Venom tells Brock, WE are going to do it because they are now one and they are Venom.
Dr. Dan calls Brock, lets him know about the results from the MRI and tells him it’s something that he’s never seen before and he should come back to the hospital. Brock had to make a quick stop at the publication he worked for to turn in the photos he took earlier at the Life Foundation. He ends up tripping an alarm and we get ANOTHER shoot ’em up scene but this time with SWAT officers. This scene is better than the previous one because the room is dark and smokey so it adds some horror elements to it. Venom is fighting in the shadows and he bites off a couple of heads but PG-13 so no blood. Weying happens to know Brock was going to be there so she sees Venom getting ready to chow down on a human and she screams and Brock turns back into himself. She took him to the hospital to see the MRI results.
Turns out Brock has an illness that is killing him, and Venom is telling Brock that he can fix him. Dr. Dan says the illness is nothing like what he’s ever seen, but if they do another MRI he can diagnosis the issue better. Venom tells Brock no to the MRI because that’s his weakness and they have a dialogue between each other. Weying starts with the MRI machine and the loud sonic noise makes Venom leave Brock’s body. They lock Venom in the room and Brock tells Venom that he’s done with their SYMBIOTIC RELATIONSHIP. As Brock left, those mercenaries from earlier return, and capture him. Venom crawls through a fan and travels through the ductwork in the hospital in search of Brock not knowing he’s long gone.
Riot finally arrives in California at the Life Foundation with a little girl as his host. She transfers the symbiote to Drake, and now Drake and Riot are one. Mercenaries have brought Brock to the Life Foundation and Riot confronts Brock on the whereabouts of Venom. Brock tells them that he’s gone his separate ways so they decide he’s no use to them anymore. The mercenaries take Brock out into the woods to be executed, but in the shadows Venom’s tentacles are taking out the mercenaries one by one. The woman who wears the symbiote kisses Brock, and of course, it’s Weying and the symbiote transfers back to Eddie. Brock and Venom have some unfinished business with Riot so much time for a fight scene.
During this fight scene it’s hard to tell the two symbiotes apart, and it’s a reminder of Michael Bay’s first Transformers film. They end up fighting on a rocket and upon exiting the atmosphere Venom gets the one up and causes the ship to blow up. He turns into a parachute to save Brock, but in the process gets burned up by the flames. The fight scene wasn’t anything special, a lot of rolling around, and then there’s the money shot where the suits expand that we see in the trailer.
Some time has passed and Brock is talking to Weying on her doorstep and she tells him not to tell Dr. Dan about their kiss. Venom, who is
surprisingly still alive, tells Brock to tell Dr. Dan about the kiss and Brock tells Venom to shut-up but yet plays it off where Weying thinks he is talking to her. Brock leaves and walks down the street, then Stan Lee makes a cameo walking his dog and says something to Brock about “them” as if Stan knows that Eddie still has Venom. Eddie tells Venom the difference between good and bad and what people he can and cannot eat. Venom tells Brock the reason why he didn’t want to leave Earth is because of Eddie (bromance). They stop at Eddie’s favorite bodega, which is being robbed by the same guy from earlier in the film, and that’s when Venom makes the infamous turd in the wind threat. Venom ends up eating the robber whole because there are not any body parts on the floor when he’s finished. The cashier/owner of the store does not look surprised after seeing an alien creature eat a grown man, but sure. Credits roll. The End.
CAMEOS, CAMEOS, CAMEOS! The mid-credit scene is Eddie Brock, the infamous journalist doing an interview at a prison with a killer named Cleetus Kassady who is played by Woody Harrelson. Harrelson does not appear in the rest of the film. Kassady tells Brock to step into the light so he can see him. Kassady says when he gets out of jail there will be CARNAGE! Hinting at the sequel is the most subtle of ways. Whoever decided to put Woody Harrelson in this bright red Raggedy Anne doll wig, I am not sure what they were thinking. It just made Woody look really goofy. The post-credit scene was a 5 minute clip of the upcoming Into the Spiderverse film, and it was better than the 1 hour and 52 minutes of Venom.
The initial reaction to this film was that it seemed like it came straight out of 2004 and I agree. The movie felt like it came from an era where studios just made superhero movies just to make superhero movies. The movie doesn’t have any heart or anything that makes you want to see more. The tagline was that the world has enough of superheroes, but Deadpool 2 was released earlier this year and does a far better job with the antihero role. It’s unbelievable that Woody Harrelson was cast as Carnage and he’s only used for a small cameo at the end of the film. Riz Ahmed is wasted in this film as well. Michelle Williams’s character came off as too serious during the whole movie, while Tom Hardy felt like he was playing it up for laughs. Being PG-13 doesn’t really help the film because Venom is supposed to be grotesque, after all he is eating people. It was ambitious and foolish for Sony to try and create a world based on Spider-Man characters without Spider-Man and after watching this movie I think it could’ve been achieved but this aint it.
[a si a si]
[All Mames Wey]