The look on my friend’s face at the end of “Venom” summed it all up: “Tasteful, yet a sad disappointment to the hype.” From the highly-acclaimed comic pages of the character, worthy of an Eisner award, Ruben Fleischer’s “Venom” seems to lack the powerful allure required to make it a commendable cousin to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
“Venom” details the story of Eddie Brock, a former revered reporter who is now spurned by his workplace, fiancée and life. He comes into contact with an alien symbiote known as Venom, eager to taste its freedom in the world. Eddie Brock undergoes radical changes upon bonding with the symbiote to bring out the monstrous alter-ego from within him, using it to find his place once again in the world.
Yet, from what seems like a tantalizing idea appetizing to a fresh audience, amalgamated with comic-lovers and just regular people looking for a good film, “Venom” seems to have an issue specifically with its plot. The movie tends to slow-pace its own plot, with heavy exposition on the story of Eddie Brock and plays out his downfall in life, before encountering Venom around the halfway point. This arguably leads to rapid-fire climax of the film, which made me question the time on my watch, when the movie had ended.
Don’t get me wrong though, “Venom” had its beautiful highlights and two of them include the fantastic portrayal of the character egos of Eddie Brock and Venom, both played by Tom Hardy. The movie nails head-on the conflicting dynamic of the partnership between the two characters and shows great depth of creative flair, by adding a more humorous side to Venom, departing from the character’s original nature of being a revolutionized misanthrope. This is a fantastic feature to Eddie’s desire to find himself at peace, yet hate every fabric of his life due to his penchant for ruining the grand scheme of life. Tom Hardy eloquently acts out both egos as if he himself has lived through the turbulent lives of both characters, creating a memorable performance for movie-goers to enjoy.
Which brings up the interesting approach to the supporting characters of the film: Anne Weying (Eddie’s ex-fiancée) and Carlton Drake, played by Michelle Williams and Riz Ahmed respectively, do just enough on their own to keep the pace from not dying down and heaving the center-stage over to Tom Hardy. It is unfortunate, however, to see Riot who is considered to be the main villain for this movie get overshadowed by the character of Carlton Drake, introduced in the movie as a shady businessman, ready to have his nihilistic views projected onto the world. Riot, who isn’t a considerable force in the comics, has an interesting appeal to it, only to be questioned by the screen-time of Carlton and the rushed climax of the film.
As a well-read comic lover, I was in a few words, ecstatic to watch an original film of Venom detailing its backstory; a better approach to the legend of the character, rather than the disastrous management of it in “Spiderman 3” back in 2007, the first known appearance of the character on the big-screen. Fans worldwide who waited for eleven years, have in fact wondered, what really happened to the hype of the film?
Though the movie has gone on to break several box-office records for the month (and did open better than “Captain America” and “Thor”), there seems to be something off in its standing as a Marvel film. Perhaps that is the problem and it would be better to scope this film as an individual entity rather than a cousin to an already established universe.
With a star-cast, emphatic CGI and a brilliant end-credit scene (wink, wink): “Venom” captivates the audience in its own way, yet seems to lack a punch required to make it an extremely memorable film. However, if you are looking for a film to enjoy and relax on a lazy weekend, head on to see a good action film which serves to be enjoyable from time to time. Do not expect any interaction with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, simply because it isn’t and it wasn’t meant to be a film in the established universe, but rather an individual cousin to it.