By ADMIR DURAKOVIC
“Venom” is the film Sony is hoping can kick-start their own cinematic universe.
After the commercial failure of “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” Sony was forced to negotiate a deal with Marvel Studios that would see them relinquish the rights to the live action version of Spider-Man to the Disney-owned studio.
On Sony’s end of the deal, they managed to retain their video game license and some movie rights to Spider-Man related properties. The newest video game based on Spider-Man is a PlayStation exclusive and was released to massive critic and audience praise.
The one project that hasn’t seen the same critical success is Sony’s newest attempt at a live action superhero movie, using their remaining Spider-Man assets.
Normally in the Venom mythos, the characters of Eddie Brock and Venom (both portrayed in this movie by Tom Hardy), start out as evil foils to Peter Parker, but then progressively go from villain to anti-hero to their own kind of hero.
The biggest issue of concern among fans was how Sony was going to produce a Venom origin story without the key piece of his origin.
In response, the marketing for this film portrayed Brock as the hero of this story and the Venom symbiote as the villain. Once they joined together to become Venom, they skip straight to becoming an anti-hero.
Brock is a journalist who prioritizes exposing corrupt officials – a stark contrast to the photographer looking to soil Spider-Man’s name for his own gain. The symbiote arrives on Earth in a spaceship, piloted by John Jameson.
The Jameson name drop and Brock being “chased out from New York” line was the closest the film ever got to referencing Spider-Man himself.
The symbiote is then transferred from the crash site to a lab in San Francisco where Brock is residing.
Brock hits rock bottom, losing his job and his relationship while trying to pressure the president of a shady foundation with some tough questions.
The first act concludes with Brock getting into contact with the sybiote. From this point on the film becomes infinitely more enjoyable but, it also loses any sense of structure it was building up.
For the rest of the movie, the tone drastically switches from a character drama to a buddy-cop action comedy as Brock and the symbiote wrestle for control of his body.
The interactions between the two are undoubtedly the highlights of the film.
Unfortunately, there are noticeable edits that look like an R-rated film being adjusted to achieve a PG-13 rating. The best parts of the film were the more violent action moments and it could have benefited from leaning into its darker side, since it was doing a great job of not taking the concept too seriously.
The action scenes carry the remaining hour and a half of the movie, with small breaks so that Brock and Venom can exchange dialogue and quips.,
The Venom symbiote is the only character to really go through a major character arc, but there wasn’t enough time between action scenes to develop the character. Instead, the audience is handed two quick scenes and maybe two lines of dialogue so that they may discover why Venom had a change of heart on their own.
“Venom” is an enjoyable movie. The action, dialogue, and plot represent a cheap Saturday morning cartoon-the visuals, jokes, and action set pieces are prioritized over great storytelling and character development.
“Venom” is out in theaters now.
Photo by IMDB