Monday, October 8, 2018

Venom Review

Venom first appeared on another planet, when all the Marvel heroes and villains were gathered together to fight, in the twelve issue mini-series called Secret Wars (1984). 
At the time, it was just known as the 'black costume' that Spider-man discovered after ripping his regular Spidey-tights. It all seemed harmless enough, although there was the usual fan outcry hating the new look. When the limited series ended, and Spidey returned home, the plot thickened, as the costume seemed to slowly take over. Eventually, it bonded itself to Peter, and it really didn't want to let go. When he finally was able to literally pry it from his body, the alien blob slinked away only to find reporter Eddie Brock. The alien symbiote bonded with him, and called itself Venom... Marvel fanboys around the world squee'd with excitement. 

In 2007, super genius film director Sam Raimi was forced to include Venom in Spider-man 3. Yes, forced by Sony due to the popularity of the character. He really didn't want to do it... and it shows. The results were some of the most cringe-worthy moments in any comic book movie ever made. 

And now, in 2018, Sony releases a stand-alone Venom movie. Did they learn from their mistakes?
To clarify, while this movie is based on a Marvel comic book, it is NOT part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe of movies. Those movies are released through Disney. Venom is owned by Sony. So, there is zero connection between Venom and Thanos, or Avengers, or Captain America, or Iron Man, or Thor, or Ant-man, etc. It all has to do with copyrights that are equal parts confusing, and frustrating.

The popular opinion is to hate this movie, because how can you have Venom without Spider-man? So without the convoluted Secret Wars origin story, they simply went with the 'alien-life-form-brought-back-from-space' story, which was... acceptable. The 2007 movie used the same idea, as well as the original animated series, so it works based on that simple premise. 

I can't say I hated the movie, but there was still plenty to dislike. The most painful being the horrendous computer effects. To put it into perspective, The Abyss was one of the first movies to ever use CGI in 1989. There was a scene where they created a moving blob of water that looked pretty realistic. Thirty years ago, that scene looked far more realistic than any of the scenes with Venom. Did they not have a budget for the most important aspect of this movie, or did they just not care?

I'm also not a fan of Tom Hardy, who plays Eddie Brock. I don't see any charisma or personality in him whatsoever. You could replace him with a paper sack, and I would be as equally entertained. Although, in the 2007 version, we had Topher Grace, so... upgrade? 

I did however enjoy some of the banter between Brock and Venom. I might have even lol'd just a bit. Plus, if you overlook how bad the effects are, there are some good action moments... when the lens flare and smoke wasn't completely overpowering the scene.

When you compare Venom with the 2004 Halle Berry Catwoman movie, and the 2015 Fantastic Four reboot... it's not that bad! 
(Yes, you can use this quote for promotional purposes if you 'd like). 

If you're interested in seeing this, just lower your expectations, expect some bad effects and a few 'questionable' writing decisions, and you might like it. And if not, it's only ninety minutes long, so you won't lose too much time out of your life.