When Venom was first announced there was a lot of panic in the streets since there are so many good arcs to choose from and so little time. Naturally it made sense to choose one where Venom is a little more on the heroic side to build him up as the main character of this universe (Or that’s what they should do at least) so then the film builds its origin story around that. It was actually quite a bit better than I expected after hearing the negative buzz. It’s a good film that can hold its own and I’m definitely ready for that sequel.
The film starts with Venom crash landing on Earth along with 3-4 other symbiotes. (The film opted to switch the pronunciation back to normal) they had been captured by the government except for one who manages to escape. This corrupt company wants to find a way to merge humans and aliens so they can live in space and are murdering a bunch of people off the streets in order to do this. Eddie once tried stopping this company but it cost him everything. Well, a doctor has convinced him to give it a second shot and with a symbiotic of his own, Eddie may just have a chance. He’s been beaten by corporate, humiliated, treated like a drunk has been. Eddie decides that it’s time he stood up for himself.
A lot of this film will probably depend on how much you like Eddie Brock himself. The guy is definitely not like your average hero. He’s usually a little on the drunk side and is always down on his luck. He means well but at the same time doesn’t think things through. On one hand you see several examples of him being a good person like when he gave a homeless lady some money or how he tends to get along with everyone like the door man and the owner of a convenience store. Eddie’s just a very easy going guy even if he can be a little slow to adapt to what’s going on. I don’t think his character personality was executed nearly as well as it could or should have been though. I think he could have been very likable if handled right but from what we got he can be rather annoying.
The Venom symbiote is a lot of fun though. His personality reminds me of Blue Beetle’s scarab. At first he is pretty ruthless and acts like a villain but gets rehabilitated rather convincingly. Even from the start he is pretty handy to Eddie and as he mentions, Venom is a reasonable guy. He even lets Eddie square away his personal issues before they head out on their final mission. The symbiote is always quick on his feet and I’d say he is also quite patient considering how much Eddie is complaining throughout all of this. Venom’s easily the best character here although I have a hard time believing that he wasn’t cool back on his world. I like to think he is just trying to be sympathetic to Eddie which shows once again that he is a pretty nice guy. The plot of a character being possessed by another entity or being forced to share a body can usually go on 3 ways. The spirit is evil and crushes the hero, the spirit is heroic and they team up, or the spirit is rather ruthless but will help the hero for mutual survival and down the road they become friends. The final version is typically the best route, especially when the other entity never fully turns good and is always a bit of a loose cannon. That’s why I’m glad the film went this route.
I do have to say that the writing can be rather weak though. The script isn’t great which makes the characters a little harder to like than they would be otherwise. The language definitely could have been toned down quite a bit. There is also the matter of the romance being quite weak here. The main heroine’s instant rebound was super suspect as she clearly couldn’t have cared for Eddie much if she’s already moved on so completely. There was a time skip of a few months which is supposed to make this feel more organic…but it doesn’t really work. Throw in the fact that some sketchy stuff happens later on and I don’t think her character arc is going in a good direction. Plus, Dan seemed like a reasonable character but you get the feeling that he is doomed from the start. At least he tried helping Eddie. Two other supporting characters who were fun were the Deli owner and the homeless lady by the store. They seemed to be pretty nice characters who were doing their best to get by. Eddie being nice to them is part of the reason why he’s a likable character in the first place. The rapport with those characters is on point and hopefully the Deli owner gets to appear in the sequel. Maybe she can give him some more advice.
As for the scientist lady who tries to enlist Eddie’s help….I can’t say that I was really a fan of hers. She just seems a little wishy washy and far too late about suddenly feeling bad about her work. The company she works for has already murdered a ton of people. She has a quick line about how it was worth it since they were curing cancer, but not anymore since they’re trying for space travel. While the latter does seem to be less important than the former, the ends don’t justify the means either way. Then when she does make her move she isn’t particularly smart. She should have left the complex the instant things went sideways. Did she forget that security cameras are a thing? As soon as the villain found out that someone had broken in she should have left. She just wasn’t nearly as compelling as the other characters.
Then you have the corporate big shot who is trying to harness the power of the symbiotes for his own gain. The guy is heralded as a genius, but doesn’t seem all that smart from what we see. It just looks like he has a lot of money and gets everyone else to do the inventing for him. I mean, that happens a lot in real life as well as the small workers do all the work for the big shots who take the credit, but it needed to be said. Still, he’s a pretty fun main villain. He’s very full of himself and definitely does take down a lot of characters during the course of the movie. He definitely gets outranked once Riot shows up though. Also, he wants to inhabit space since Earth was too overpopulated. I think he would have liked Thanos’ plans to snap half of all life away. Then things would be balanced….as all things should be. He would have joined Thanos’ ranks in a heartbeat….and then chickened out halfway so he would have been doomed.
Riot is definitely a fun character. He makes for a great villain and his deign is pretty hype. In general the designs for the symbiote creatures were pretty solid. Venom looks like his classic 90s self and of course Riot is basically just a grayer version of Venom. This makes for a pretty epic climax in the film where both characters really get to go at it. With the raw power that both characters have as well as their regeneration, it means that neither one will be going down very quickly. I suppose that it’s unlikely we will have Riot show up again in a sequel since the next film will likely feature the fan favorite Carnage as the villain. We’ll see if that guy can really match up to Riot though.
Naturally this film does have an after credits scene so you may want to stick around for that. It’s a fairly low key scene involving a character who certainly doesn’t seem to be very interesting, but you could argue that this side of him doesn’t actually matter. The real deal will show up soon. It’s definitely a good stinger for the next film though. It does its job of cluing you in as to what will happen next time as opposed to just going for a quick gag. There is another scene at the end, but that one’s just a preview for Spider Verse so you don’t need to stick around for that. Having previews for other films don’t count and shouldn’t be left for the end unless it’s a direct sequel or something like that.
While the lobster scene wasn’t quite as bad as I thought it would be I definitely don’t think it was needed in the film. All the scenes of Eddie just eating random stuff just didn’t age particularly well and showing him trying to deal with being the host to Venom could have just been shown through the voice in his head. Why would Venom be trolling him like this? Also, the film briefly delves into the whole “The symbiote will destroy you from the inside” plot, but in Eddie’s case he should have believed Venom. He had already seen the regeneration in action so why wouldn’t that keep working to protect him? Worst case is that he becomes dependent on the symbiote to live, but if that’s the case then so be it. Venom seems like a trust worthy guy.
This film also keeps up Sony’s trend of having scenes from the trailer show up at the very end of the movie. It’s a pretty interesting strategy as you keep waiting for the moments to arrive and almost start to think that maybe they were cut until they finally show up at the end. An example of this is the deli scene near the end that basically everyone knows about since it was in the trailer and probably a lot of TV spots. It’s a pretty fun way to end the film I suppose. It’s one of the perks about being more of a villain who just helps out the world for his own reasons. If Batman, Spiderman, or another hero did this then it would be time to write a lot of quick editorials about how this was a terrible mistake. When Venom does it? Eh, it’s no real problem. Venom’s not the kind of guy who typically spares people. At least he didn’t destroy the cops right? When done right characters like this can have some pretty interesting story arcs. Eddie doesn’t really seem to care much about hiding his identity and pretty soon the villains are going to be terrified of him. The crime rate should drop quite a bit in his home town although he will have to make sure to be at least a little more subtle before the government starts going after him.
Venom’s also fairly tame with the violence considering that at one point it was possibly going to be R. It just goes to show that the film didn’t need it and honestly no film has ever been improved by upping the rating that far. All it does is water films down with excessive content so I’m glad that the sequel is going to stay like this one. With the cool effects we’ve already seen here we are guaranteed to have some really fun fights as it is. It also makes sense to keep the opponents to symbiotes since it will be tough for a normal opponent to hope to fight Venom. Even Spider-Man likely wouldn’t stand a chance against this version of Venom although since his spider-sense should work it could still be a good fight.
Overall, Venom was a solid film. It delivered on the action scenes and it’s also good to have a lead like Eddie who is very down to Earth and looks after the every day guy. He keeps on helping the neighborhood and won’t let fame cloud his mind. It’ll be nice to see him in the sequel as his confidence should be a lot higher and he’ll have his life under control once again. So long as the sequel stays on point and maybe fixes up the writing, it could definitely be quite the title to look out for. If you haven’t seen this film yet then you should try to fix that while you still can. Its theater run won’t last forever after all. Minor thing to watch out for as well, the film decided to drop the whole SymBYote thing so…if you’re watching for that line then keep this in mind.