The first warning signs of Venom being mediocre, for me, was that the chosen tagline was “The World Has Had Enough Superheroes” despite showing every indication of following all the same tropes and patterns of most superhero movies. This seemed like the film was going to be incoherent in tone, trying to walk the line of appealing to fans of darker superhero films, whilst also trying to rope in the mainstream public, and I couldn’t help be reminded of 2016’s Suicide Squad, which tried to do the same thing with disastrous results. But hey, not every good film gets a great marketing team and I was fully prepared to be pleasantly surprised by the finished picture and ready to admit that I was ever wrong to doubt the film. I wasn’t wrong though.
the best that can be said about it is that the problems of the film are so evident that you can’t help but laugh at how much it feels like they makers of this film just weren’t trying
Venom is not a good movie. It’s dull, it’s boring, it’s got significant pacing and narrative issues, it has a visual pallet that looks like Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince mated with The Matrix: Resolutions, it has no significant identity or any idea of what it’s trying to be. The best that can be said about it is that the problems of the film are so evident that you can’t help but laugh at how much it feels like they makers of this film just weren’t trying.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. The plot focuses on reporter ‘Eddie Brock’ (played by Tom Hardy), who after having his life torn apart after investigating suspicious businessman ‘Colton Drake’ (played by a wildly under used Riz Ahmed), becomes infected by an alien parasitic creature called ‘Venom’, who gives him superpowers but also appears to slowly kill him.
‘Venom’ itself is occasionally entertaining simply because of the overly dramatic voice speaking rather boring dialogue
The main problem with this movie, for me at least, is ‘Eddie Brock’ himself. He’s an uninteresting character who, despite everyone claiming he’s some amazing journalist, is never actually seen doing any sort of proper journalism. He’s also massively arrogant, dismissive of those around him, has no basic level of charisma and his mumbling awkwardness during the fight scenes made me wonder if the role would be better played by a Peep Show’s David Mitchell. Brock’s relationship with Venom, though on occasion amusing, is utterly devoid of depth, and film seems uninterested in developing any degree of arc for either of them, in favour of slapstick comedy and shots of Hardy flailing around awkwardly. Venom itself is occasionally entertaining simply because of the overly dramatic voice speaking rather boring dialogue, and the amount that it is just not intimidating is simply hilarious. The moments of Venom and Brock arguing are probably the only times the movie feels actually fun, though that feeling disappears very quick.
At the very least, Hardy gets off better than Michelle Williams as ‘Anne Weying’ and Riz Ahmed as ‘Colton Drake’, neither of whom apparently have either a proper character or any sort of arc or purpose in the movie. Weying is easily the most uninteresting part of the movie, with the film mostly regulating her to the supportive female love interest, until a weird moment where she gets Venom-ised, just so they can create a sexy female version of the creature which was just unnecessary. It’s rather upsetting to see actually, particularly since Williams has shown that she is a very good actress. Colton Drake on the other hand, is as one dimensional as villains can get. At first it seems as though the film is presenting him as a Silicon Valley, Elon Musk type figure, but when he starts happily murdering people for no good reason, any type of subtly that they may have had with this character quickly fades. It’s hard to find any character in this film that you can be interested, or enjoy seeing on screen. By the time the film reached the final showdown, levels of disinterest had reached critical levels and I started begging for the invasion of earth, just out of the hope that it might make me have an actual reaction.
the film is terribly structured
The rest of the film is no better. The action sequences are uninteresting and uncreative, the film effectively steals action styles from characters found in films like Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk and even Green Lantern, whilst the scenes themselves just add more plot questions, and which could be cut out of the movie without making any difference. The film is terribly structured, with a very slow paced first act, a second act which is both long in screen length, but very short in the terms of actual content, and a third act that is over almost as soon as it’s begun. Character’s change depending on what the plot needs them to do, with big moments getting reduced to single lines of dialogue. All of this results in a boring, incoherent, and frankly rushed film, that feels more like an early 2000s Superhero movie, as opposed to an of quality 2010 one. Venom is overall a disappointment, that doesn’t aim for much, yet somehow is able to disappoint all the same.
Captain Marvel cannot get here any sooner.