On the 25th anniversary issue of the comic book “The Amazing Spider-Man #300,” Sony Pictures released the movie “Venom,” which is the name of the villain in the popular Spider-Man series. Venom’s second on-screen appearance was highly anticipated due to the casting of Tom Hardy as the eponymous character and the attachment of Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer. However, in my opinion the film did not meet the fan’s expectations in almost every way possible.
“The primary loss of this film comes in its superficial treatment itself.”
The story follows Eddie Brock, a revered journalist, who loses his job, apartment and girlfriend for accusing tech mogul Carlton Drake of unethical practices. Following an investigation into Drake’s business, he inadvertently becomes Venom’s host and saves the world. The primary loss of this film comes in its superficial treatment itself. The lead character Eddie Brock experiences an unfortunate day full of losses, and all the audience sees, are scenes of him walking around. For him, to host Venom in his vulnerable state, would have provided an interesting opportunity for the audience to watch a relationship form between the characters; but there is no conversation between the two other than the usage of poor humour. Unfortunately, Tom Hardy’s poor performance as an actor simply exacerbated the lack of meaning in this film. The underdeveloped lead character adds to the lack of character inconsistency, as Eddie feels no stark emotions despite losing the love of his life, or suddenly gaining the ability to conduct humanly impossible tasks.
The film seemed to make a popcorn flick featuring a character’s fall from grace, grotesque and pointless deaths, and a live-in relationship between a human conscience and an alien symbiote. The production chose the ingredients for a film with deep meanings but forgot what it was. The character of the slime, Venom, is briefly self-described to be a loser like Eddie, yet no connection is ever formed upon this similarity although they spend most of the film intertwined. The story fails to arc, as the symbiotes’ evil plan of taking over the world through humans, is introduced as nonchalantly as Venom’s decision to betray his species for a human man he met a few hours ago.
This lack of catharsis is also experienced in the action scenes. The film uses a dark colour palette to compensate for the possibly psychologically darker on-screen portrayals which were probably avoided to maintain the PG-13 rating of the movie. This makes the action hard to see, making you lose out in the overall experience of such scenes. The first half an hour features no action sequences, but the rest of the film is punctuated by fights every other minute. This desensitizes the audience and eventually, the thrill of action is replaced by its monotony. When the action is meant to climax in the fight between the symbiotes, it’s like watching splotches of rotten paint squiggling down an ugly canvas. Even in their non-slime form, the symbiotes don’t hide their green screen creation – looking as fake as a good review for this film.
Perhaps a Director’s cut with the severed forty minutes might make the film more comprehensive, but right now, it’s an added disgrace to the comic-book legend of Venom.
Akash Nair is a first year communication science student. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of The Amsterdammer.