I am at the point that I no longer look forward to seeing super hero movies. Honestly, if tomorrow we would get the news there would be no more super hero movies for the next ten years, I would be fine with it. Given that we got to a point that there are 6 such movies a year I would not mind the break. But, sure enough, whenever a new one comes out, I will be there to watch it, but mostly because of the same reason why I keep watching a tv series into its 13th season, when it has nothing left to offer, but I have invested so much time in it that cutting it off no longer seems viable. And they are also the happening movies. Every single one of them, every time. So, there you go, if you are into movies you got to see them, at least once. Now, regarding Venom, I had 0 expectations. I knew that it was in the works for years with quite some drama. I knew that the studio wanted for this to be a stepping stone for their own comic book movie universe. I could not care less about this movie. Then, the trailers came out, and I still could not care less. Finally, as we were just about a week before the premiere, the news just broke that the press screenings and the lift of review embargoes will be just a day or so before the movies wide release, which is a major alarm sign, and which means that the studio is not happy with their own product and are trying to do some damage control. Finally, the movie opened, and the first reviews came in, which were overwhelmingly bad. But, as I already mentioned, I will watch these movies at least once, so I went out to see Venom. It was the most fun Marvel comics based movie I saw this year.
Now, let me be clear. I am not saying that this movie is good. I am saying that out of all the Marvel movies this year, this was the most fun for me. From a quality point of view, this movie is garbage. I feel the same way as the comic book movies from the late 90s – early 2000s, and it doesn’t comes close to the level that we expect after the Nolan Batman trilogy or the 20 some MCU movies or 3 trilogies of X-men movies. The producers were clearly more focused on the brand power of Venom and the star power of its cast to achieve their goals instead of the actual final product they will be delivering. They do not understand the material they are working with and they do not care either, as long as they can make a buck, which they will. Even from an esthetic point of view, it is bad. The CGI looks outdated compared to current TV shows, never mind movies from the same genre. The action scenes are poorly conceived and even more poorly shot. You can barely make out what is happening on screen. There is a scene where Venom needs to fight an entire SWAT team in a lobby. The camera is more focused on how the SWAT guys are flying in the air and how terrified they are instead of showing us just how Venom is handling them. Venom is either too far away for a decent look or just not in the picture enough to actually see him in action. You get to see some of the action, but not the part that is interesting. Not to mention, there is some smoke involved and a somewhat dark lobby, so good luck on watching out for a huge thing all dressed in black that moves around on walls and stuff. Also, for a movie with Venom as its title, we do not get to see that much of Venom. Sure, Tom Hardy as Venom human host is in most of the scenes, but Venom, in all its glory, is rather absent.
However, the main problem of this movie is the script. Any technical shortcoming can be forgiven if the movie delivers on the story. This one doesn’t even knows that there is something to be delivered. The dialogue is ridiculous, the secondary characters are useless and the entire thing is riddled with plot holes. Whatever is established in one scene can easily be ignored in the next. Riz Ahmed is playing the main villain, but he is as interesting as a slice of toast. He has a nice speech of why he is doing what he is doing, but in the end it is clear that he just doesn’t care about any of it. I can never understand this thing about the big bad, all powerful, villain for which the ultimate goal is to free/resurrect someone or something just to become slaves to the very same thing. From king of the world to become a mere henchman. Michelle Williams is playing the love interest to Tom Hardy’s character, but she is just wasted. Honestly, she could have been cut out of the movie and nobody would notice it. She has no contribution to the story that cannot be erased. Some minor adjustments would be needed but they would be minimal. And she is a 4 time Oscar nominated actress, for crying out loud. A total waste of talent. That being said, there is one cool scene with her and Venom, that looked cool. But save for those 3-4 seconds, nothing about her is memorable.
But, there are some good stuff around too. Tom Hardy really gives everything he got to the role. He even speaks with an understandable accent this time around. The banter between him and Venom, which most of the time is just a voice in his head, is the saving grace of this film. That is just pure fun. And Hardy sells it. Also, the movie doesn’t take itself too seriously. You can find some joy in this film. There are some jokes and situations that will make you laugh, and despite of all the violence and stuff that is going down, you will never feel depressed because of them. If you will not consider the source material as holy scripture and you are not looking for this movie to be next The Dark Knight, you might just have a good time with Venom.
Basically, Venom is the kind of movie that you would put on when friends come over to hang out. Something to go on in the background while you guys chat and cheer for when it gets to the good parts, which you can enjoy even out of context. Again, it is not the best Marvel movie of the year, but it is the one I had the most fun with. It will be the best thing for a rainy Sunday afternoon when its on Netflix.