Marvel Studios, especially their cinematic properties, have dominated the box office in 2018. In fact, several of their films that have been released this year might be taken seriously as Oscar contenders, and they are certainly in discussion for accolades for now, but for all of the good fortune their films have received it was only a matter of time before something came along to really trip them up and that time has come with Venom.
In this film Tom Hardy is Eddie Brock, a disgraced investigative reporter who is down on his luck after crossing the brilliant and ruthless Carlton Drake in an interview. After losing everything important to him, Brock is contacted by an associate of Drake’s at his company to blow the whistle on Drake and his scientific discovery of a lifetime: alien lifeforms called “symbiotes”.
Brock comes into contact with one of the symbiotes and the result is the beginning of the most toxic love story ever told in the Marvel Universe. Eddie and the symbiote, Venom, must learn to coexist and stop Drake from carrying out his twisted ambitions, else the human race will sprint towards a potential extinction.
Suffice to say, after being exposed to Venom, I found myself immune to its-whatever it has that passes for “charm”. Director Ruben Fleischer and the screenwriting team of Jeff Pinker, Scott Rosenberg and Kelly Marcel were given an opportunity to flesh out a popular character derived from the realm of one of Marvel’s most amazing characters, give him a life of his own and by all accounts it most certainly tries to do that but this is probably the weakest and cheapest Marvel (affiliated) movie to come out in years.
The writing for this picture is completely stale and awkward with some hints of creativity here and there but it is a chore to follow. Fleischer attempted to truly honor the savagery and complexity of the title character but the material he is working with so substandard and I felt as though in going through such lengths to distance this character from Spider-Man, it felt as though the character was weakened and the experience watching this film was rendered common.
I will admit that I was excited to see what an actor of Tom Hardy’s caliber and dexterity could bring to the role of Eddie Brock and his alien-parasite alter-ego, but not even he could save this toxic picture. The rest of the cast does not fare any better if you ask me.
Michelle Williams is wasted in this film, Riz Ahmed is okay in this picture but okay is practically the highest grade this film allows itself to make, Jenny Slate, Peggy Lu, Scott Haze, Reid Scott, Michelle Lee, Woody Harrelson, Melora Walters, this cast is relegated to practical nonexistence and because the plot and pacing of the film is so drudgingly bad!
Matthew Libatique’s cinematography is wasted in this film, Alan Baumgarten and Maryann Brandon’s editing is practical yet predictable, Ludwig Göransson’s score is okay, Oliver Scholl’s production design is mediocre, the art direction and visual effects are okay, Alice Felton’s set decoration is fine and the costumes by Kelli Jones are fine as well. In front of or behind the camera, there is hardly anything special to take away from Venom.
The best way to describe Venom is “been there, done that!” You see it, it’s good for a few surprising spurts but it does not leave a lasting mark upon you. If you miss it, you won’t miss anything.