Venom is a bad movie about a sorta kinda wise cracking reporter type named Eddie Brock. Eddie gets infected by a conscious alien parasite named, well, Venom. Together they form a supervillainy antihero who enjoys biting people’s heads off and running away from generic corporate types.
If this movie were a sound, it’d be an 8th grade orchestra stumbling over Beethoven. A taste? An amateur chef’s brunt macaroons. A smell? A sandalwood candle. There is an aspiration of greatness that fails so hard, so spectacularly, I almost found myself smiling.
But you probably already knew that.
This movie has been out for weeks, and even if you haven’t seen it, you’ve probably gotten wind of a scathing review here or there. So rather than dedicating a few paragraphs to the insane motivations established in the first act, or the banal supporting cast, or the awkwardly vomitous tongue sequence… I want to focus on the silver linings…the silver eyed linings…playbook.
In my opinion, there were parts of Venom that actually worked and if the series continues (which it might considering it’s brought in over half a billion dollars globally) these few gems could get me into the theater for round 2.
For example, I really liked the dynamic between Eddie and Venom. Note, I am not saying they’re great characters, or even comprehensible characters, but the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde vibes came through by the midpoint.
Neither is exactly pure of heart, but the film still maintains a sense of morality making their back and forth exciting and unpredictable. It’s just the type of thing you want to see in a movie with 2 leads but their dynamic goes woefully unexplored for most of the film. If revisited I’d definitely be down for a REAL buddy cop storyline instead of the half-baked one we were given.
I also thought the visual effects were pretty decent. You’d expect the black on black aesthetic to grow sickening, but in a remarkable twist, there’s a lot of clarity to what’s happening on screen. The fight sequences were well built into each location and I was impressed by different ways the whole “Mr. Fantastic but bulletproof” schtick was able to be used. I mean, that motorcycle chase is freakin’ amazing and I super wish there was more of that rather than corny unearned side plots. WHAT WAS THE DEAL WITH THAT HOMELESS LADY?
Finally, setting everything normal ol’ San Francisco was 10,000% the right decision. The best scenes of the movie are almost entirely derived from the worldbuilding: quirky interactions with the quickie mart owner, the cops shooting real guns at a giant monster, the snooty lobster eatery, all amazing stuff.
Details like these can really help sell audiences on a story and they’re way easier to pull off when you don’t have to sell a fantastical locale as well. I really don’t think Venom would carry the same weight if say, the cops were actually space cops, and they had laser guns, or whatever. The choice to keep things even a teensy bit grounded gives this Frankenstein a heart; dead, defiled, and broken as it may be.
Before I say goodbye, I just want to remind everyone this movie is horrible horrible trash stinky garbage.
I wish the new Venom got his reboot in the Tom Holland Spidey series rather than a standalone film, and I DO NOT recommend you go see it.
But Venom as a franchise is not worthless. There’s a good idea here. A glimmer of hope.
If Sony can keep their hands out of the pot for even half a second, we might actually get a sequel that’s better than the original.