Venom is the Marvel character that was first introduced in the Spider-Man comic book in 1984. Firstly as a strange black suit that Spider-Man brings back from the Secret Wars. Then as the full version four years later as a symbiotic alien being that finds a host in a man called Eddie Brock. That created the independent comic book franchise that has also spawned the movie Venom.
The movie introduces us quickly to the investigative journalist Eddie Brock. This guy is uber cool and riding the crest of a wave. He has a great girlfriend, a great job, and is very famous with his own TV slot. That is until he interviews the hyper-rich CEO of Life Foundation, Carlton Drake. Brock knows that Drake is up to no good, but there was no way he could have guessed the depths that Drake would go. He's about to find out and get a lot more than he bargained for – Venom. Overwhelmed with inhuman and horrific powers, can Brock adjust to life with his new friend? And what will they do if there are more symbiotic beings?
It's fair to say, that there has been a pile of Marvel-based movies released over the years. From Guardians of the Galaxy to Black Panther, these films are now incredibly popular. It's an easy recipe, throw in some A-List stars, jaw-dropping CGI, and an already loyal fan base creates an instant hit. In fact, it seems every time a new Marvel Universe movie is released, it breaks a new box office record.
So, where does Venom sit within this mix? Well, first off, the Venom character is quite different from your traditional Marvel character. The Venom comics could arguably be the most violent and horrific in the series so it's easy to see why it took some time to bring it to the big screen. But Venom has one of the most hardcore fan bases of all of the Marvel characters and the hype that came before the film release created a huge wave of anticipation. So big and powerful that even though critics ripped the film apart, it went onto make close to $900 million globally.
Sony Pictures really knew what they were doing here and made sure they ticked all of the boxes. First off, they chose the same composer who took an Academy Award for the soundscore of Black Panther. Is not a bad starting point and he does an incredible job with the score. Then add to the mix a director who has a proven record with cult movies like Zombieland, Ruben Fleischer. Gift him with an award-winning cinematographer, Matthew Libatique and surely Venom must be the best Marvel movie yet?
Well, the answer is a firm No. It isn't as good as it could have been. Although the direction from Ruben Fleischer is good, it's hard not to question some of the fight scenes. Having a black Venom mostly fight against a black or dark background loses all the effects and almost blurs out huge chunks of the action.
That said, he does a great job of keeping the pace of the film going. But there's so much content rammed in there that the whole thing feels rushed. Plus, Venom so needed to be R rated, let's say similar to the all-out madness that fans received with Deadpool. Everything about the character suggests that it should have not been toned down to make more money and I feel the fans expected that too.
Don't get me wrong here, it's entertaining and the cast does well with the content. Tom Hardy is brilliant playing Eddie Brock Venom, which I was surprised at. But, he really takes this role on as seriously as he has done any other. Plus, he really seems to enjoy the comedy elements too. Riz Ahmed does well with his role as the Hyper Billionaire Super Baddie, Carlton Drake. But for me, the real standout comes from Michelle Williams. She is outstanding playing Anne Weying, Eddie Brock's partner who makes a strong connection with Venom too. There's genuine chemistry between these two leads.
Ok, I may be giving a mixed message here. But, the truth is that the first two acts of the film feel so rushed and totally bonkers that it's hard not to start to tear it apart. However, as the film progresses it does build on you, mostly because of the decent acting. So, by the time the film reached its conclusion I actually felt like I had enjoyed the experience.
All in all, Venom and the follow up, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, is a barmy ride from start to finish. Just watch for some fun and accept it for what it is and you are really going to enjoy it too. Just don't switch the film off as the final credits appear, because the film does not quite finish there. Let's just say, we are going to be seeing more of Venom.