It feels like everyone has something to say about Venom. Amongst critics and fans, it’s caused a lot of debate and controversy. Whenever this happens, I tend to find myself becoming even more curious about the film because if everyone else has strong words to say, maybe I will too?
Before I begin my review I just want to put in a quick disclaimer: I am by no means a comic book expert, and I don’t claim to be Marvel’s number one fan. If anything I’m a casual fan. So this review is coming from the mind of a film lover and nothing more. Now that’s out of the way…
Venom was quick to grab my attention when it was first announced, as I’m always interested when Marvel move into darker, grittier territories. I have a soft spot for villains and Venom’s character is definitely one of the coolest ones in the franchise. There are few things scarier than the thought of a parasite taking over your body, so the horror elements definitely drew me towards the film. Visually, Venom does utilise things we would associate with horror, such as long, lingering shots and sudden jumpy moments. Whilst they’re nothing new or particularly outstanding, I did enjoy this side to the film. Symbiotes as a concept are terrifying, so it only seemed fair to portray them in this way.
Tom Hardy gives a great performance as Eddie Brock, especially during his interactions with Venom. The comedic side to this film was genuinely funny, and gave the audience some light relief after the more horrifying scenes. This dynamic between Eddie and Venom is what really stood out to me, as they owned the vast majority of screen time and had to keep the audience entertained. For me, it worked and it had some serious laugh-out-loud moments.
Some of the scenes are a bit ridiculous, but I’ve quickly learned to expect a bit of implausibility when it comes to comic book movies. I wasn’t bothered by some of the sillier scenes, though I can see why someone would want to criticise them. The one thing I was bothered by, however, was the plot holes and confusing lines within the film that, so I felt this did weaken the script in places. I’m certainly in agreement that the writing was lazy overall. Nonetheless, I was still entertained by 90% of the film and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. The action scenes were fun, chaotic, and made even better by Venom’s presence inside Eddie’s head. Without that, I might not have enjoyed them as much.
I liked the visual effects throughout the film, and was particularly creeped out by the way the symbiote looked before it finds a host. The scenes set within The Life Foundation’s facility stood out to me, reminiscent of other films where science ‘goes wrong’. It’s clinical, confusing and isolating, making you feel just as uncomfortable and scared as those undergoing the trials. I really enjoyed the twisted side to this narrative, showing us a dark side to corporations as films often do.
Is Venom the best film I’ve seen this year? Of course it’s not. But it was a fun way to spend 2 hours on a Sunday evening and that’s good enough for me. It’s a very average, very three star film that kept me entertained. It’s nothing more than that, and to me, that’s okay.