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‘Venom’ Surprises With a Different Kind of Hero

By Mason Masotta
On October 19, 2018


After being disappointed so often with many superhero films in the past that exist outside of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Suicide Squad, Amazing Spider-Man 2, Batman vs. Superman), I was fully prepared to be let down by the Tom Hardy-led Venom. Surprisingly, I didn’t hate it. In fact, I enjoyed many parts of the two-hour long anti-hero feature. There is an unavoidable sense of bitterness that comes with knowing that a film is not being helmed by a studio that has a proven track record, but I want people to know now: Don’t go to see Venomwanting it to be an MCU movie. That is not what it is trying to do and honestly that might end up being the best for the cannibalistic “hero” that Eddie Brock proves himself to be.

To start, casual fans and moviegoers should know that this is NOTa Spider-Man movie. Get any ideas you have about the character from 2007’s Spider-Man 3out of your head early. And no, Tom Holland does not make a web-swinging appearance for the end credits to tie the movie in with the Avengers universe. This is a complete stand-alone film that entirely reinvents the character. 

The film takes place in California (no, not New York) with reporter Eddie Brock investigating the Life Foundation. They have been connected with wrongful deaths and disappearances in the past as well as the subject of many alien crash landing conspiracies. Upon investigating a suspicious Life Foundation laboratory, Eddie is infected with an alien parasite named Venom that begins to make him act strangely as well as giving him incredible powers. Together, Eddie and Venom must come to grips with sharing a body if they want to prevent a complete invasion of Earth.

One thing that I am deeply grateful for is Tom Hardy’s performance and American accent not being as terrible as it had seemed in trailers. For the most part, he sounds completely fine when not convulsing like a madman during conversations. This version of Eddie Brock is a man of the people and we’re supposed to find him likable because of this. I felt that it took away from the savage nature of the character that Venom is supposed to be by having Brock be total lawful good. He is tempted to do “bad things’ when he is infected, but this side of the character is played off as more of a joke than a real internal struggle. 

Venom doesn’t hurt the innocent in this movie, doesn’t fight any superheroes, and even actively saves the day on multiple occasions. This ends up being disappointing and cliché, mainly because of what the marketing for the movie tried to tell. Lines like “The world needs anti-heroes”, “we’ve all got demons,” and even the chorus in Eminem’s song for the film “Knock, knock let the devil in” seemed like we were going to get an edgier character. I was looking for inner conflict; but got jokes about “eating heads” instead. 

The real reason to go see the film is for the action. Venom looks awesome. When actually in the full suit, he has a unique slimy look and savage smile that could easily fit this character in a scarier flick. I wonder, if this film had been written as a horror or thriller, if it would’ve felt more original, but it’s a competent action movie regardless.

I’ve seen a good amount of hate get thrown at Venom both before and after its release, but I think people are getting excited to throw shade at whatever non-MCU film gets made nowadays. It’s not a perfect film and it has a Spider-Man sized hole in some of its writing, but as a pure entertainment spectacle, I think it earns a 7/10. 

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