Venom Does Whatever it Wants (With Minimal Effort)


John Enright, Reporter

Venom came out in early October, dominating the box office on its opening weekend. Despite its success in the earnings department, the viewers’ responses to this movie have been mixed. After my first viewing, I must say that my response is varying as well.

The first few minutes of this show are packed with exposition. A spaceship from a big company crashes to Earth and brings some alien slime and an investigative journalist by the name of Eddie Brock is on the case. But this case is more than what it seems as his world is plunged into chaos. Take the name “Eddie Brock” out of the equation and you have the plot for a couple of pre-existing science-fiction fantasy movies right there. The first thirty minutes of this movie brings nothing new to the equation as we are taken through a by-the-book narrative. The movie seems oddly self-aware of this for the first fifteen minutes of this as it flies through the story quickly with choppy editing. With a little less fluidity of movement, these scenes could be compared to the recap of a television series that plays at the beginning of an episode.

After a six-month leap in the plot’s timeline, the exposition is still going, but it slows down significantly. Here, everything that just happened in the last fifteen minutes of the show is explained in fair detail without having to be expressed visually. Honestly, the show could have started at this point and it would have been an improvement on the overall pacing. Having the story progress so swiftly at the beginning and then slow down to a crawl to highlight an especially dull point in the exposition does this movie no favors as it struggles to keep ahold of the audience’s attention. We see Eddie at an all-time low, just about ready to give up before he takes one last look into the big company’s nefarious schemes. This brings him face-to-face with a symbiotic alien and finally we see them combine to form Venom.

The movie switches gears frequently from this point to the end. When the movies decides to be an action film, the action sequences are entertaining. When the movie decides to be a horror film, the jump scares are relatively effective. When the movie tries to be a buddy comedy of all things, it has some good jokes. Venom as a film, seems to try to pick out parts of every movie it ever could have been if it had stuck to one genre. This movie seems to be pandering a little to each niche that it can reach. The only genre that it absolutely sucks at trying to be is science fiction. Of course it would be difficult to make a science fiction film with a weak plot.

The plot of Venom is simple. Aliens crash on Earth. Unethical tests are conducted upon these creatures. A reporter discovers this and gains their powers. It does not seem to be important as to how these events are set into motion. Eddie is a notoriously aggressive investigative journalist and of all the things he could be sent to do in order to spark the chain of events, he’s sent to do a puff piece on a man that he is suspicious of. The testing lab for the big company’s nefarious experiments is established to be full of cameras, yet Eddie breaks in and escapes without anyone being able to figure out who he was without questioning the characters who helped him get there. There again, the movie gives no illusion that its centerpiece is the plot. The centerpieces of this movie are the individual scenes where they try to take from every genre that could be associated with the character of Venom from Marvel comics. This explains how the dialogue is inconsistent in quality.

The dialogue, when used in exposition or as a means to describe everything that just happened in the case that the audience missed something, is awful. The dialogue of the side-characters is awful. Only the lines delivered by the protagonists or the villain for humor or building suspense are good. Even then, it is because of the saving grace of Tom Hardy’s charismatic, manic performance and Venom’s intriguing personality.

If all that Venom was trying to do was hit all the notes of a super-hero film, then it was successful at doing just that. That’s all it did. If you’re up for a movie that is strictly formulated to mildly entertain you, then this is your movie. If not, then you’ll get about the same experience for less time and money by watching the ads for Venom on YouTube.

Facebook Comments Box