Prior to Venom‘s debut my feelings towards the movie (as previously stated on this blog) were less than stellar. In short: The trailers didn’t impress me, I wasn’t convinced this was a movie that the world needed and I was in no rush to watch the film.
Due to my misgivings towards Venom, plus the muted critical response, I decided not to rush to the cinema to watch the movie. This is unlike me as a.) I tend to watch films during their opening weekend (if not their opening day) and b.) it’s rare that I don’t see a Marvel movie within the first week of its debut.
Anyway, the buzz surrounding Venom didn’t excite me and to be honest last weekend I was busy at Grimmfest that I left it until tonight to give the movie a go. The following post details my thoughts on Venom – and they’re not great.
For those unfamiliar with the film, Venom tells the story of Eddie Brock – a man who bonds with an alien parasite (a symbiote), which gives him super powers. Brock gets caught up in a plot involving The Life Foundation – a shadowy institution looking to combine humans with alien lifeforms – and hijinks ensue.
Right, where to start.
Venom is not the worst comic book movie I have ever seen, nor is it the worst Marvel movie – Punisher: War Zone (2008), Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011) and Fantastic Four (2015) are all much, much worse. However, Venom is a bad movie. A very bad movie.
Let’s talk about the tone. Let me make this perfectly clear now – this is a movie which wants to be dark, but doesn’t commit to that idea and instead becomes a bizarre mix of neither one thing nor the other.
Tonally, Venom is all over the place, jumping from slapstick comedy (which isn’t funny), to bizarre violence. Venom frequently bites the head off his enemies, but… no one has a problem with it.
Hey, I can laugh at decapitation as much as the next guy but only in a movie that knows if this sort of thing is meant to be funny or extremely violent. The truth is, I don’t think anyone knows because this is a badly directed film. Don’t believe me, well just ask actor, Tom Hardy who plays the lead role of Brock/Venom.
I’m not quite sure what instructions Hardy was given prior to filming, but it’s pretty evident he wasn’t given much direction. If he was, then it was bad direction.
Hardy’s performance is something that has to be seen to be believed – and not for good reasons. There are moments in this movie where I truly thought that Hardy was drunk. If he wasn’t, then maybe he should have been.
Come to think of it, while watching this movie maybe I should have been drunk. Hmm… maybe I was.
Someone must have been drunk. Presumably the writers were, because in terms of the script the writing is appalling – juvenile, if you will. The dialogue feels as if it was penned by a 13-year-old – 14 at best.
The dialogue between Brock and the symbiote is just terrible and over time the interactions between the two become more excruciating. At one point, it got so bad that I rolled my eyes.
But the dialogue isn’t the worst part, there’s the plot itself which appears to have been written on the back of a cigarette packet and/or made up on the spot. That can be the only explanation for the threadbare narrative which never expands beyond basic story telling and is beyond predictable.
There are also big plot holes, including a large one at the start that is never explained. It is suggested that the symbiotes have to jump from host to host (until they find the right body), yet Riot – one of the symbiotes in the movie – spends six months inhabiting the body of a random woman who clearly can’t sustain it.
Did the writers/director simply forget about this? If you’re going to put some kind of rules into your movie, then at least stick to them.
And don’t even get me started on a rather drawn out car/bike chase scene which takes place roughly halfway through the movie. Not only is the scene flat, it also makes no sense.
It is established quite clearly that
Evil Incorporated The Life Foundation are trying to keep the symbiote situation under wraps, yet the operatives who work for said organisation have no problems with chasing Brock through the streets of San Francisco exposing Venom in the process! Madness!
Why try to keep everything hush-hush and then embark on a high-speed chase, blasting guns left, right and centre?! WHY?!
There are other lapses in logic throughout the movie (the whole rocket ship sequence at the end), but this is the one that truly bugged me the most.
No, scratch that, the entire rocket ship sequence at the end was just bobbins. It also highlighted one of the film’s biggest problems – the piss poor CGI. Seriously, did the techno bods in charge of the effects just give up?
I honestly believe they just ran out of time and hoped that no one would notice. Well, guess what? When you watch a movie on a big screen, you notice the CGI is sub par. Surely that’s covered in film making 101?
Perhaps the biggest problem with Venom is that it’s simply very boring. It’s very, very boring.
Three times during the course of the movie I checked my watch. The most surprising thing I discovered was that I don’t own a watch – yet I still checked it three times.
I wasn’t just bored, I was super bored. The film was bland. It was dated. It was dull.
The only glimmer of hope from this movie came during the end credit scene, which saw Brock visit a prison to interview serial killer, Cletus Kasady – as played by Woody Harrelson. For those who don’t know, Kasady is another character from the comics – and quite a popular one too.
Harrelson is the PERFECT actor to play Kasady, a character we will no doubt see in the sequel. Yet during this all-too brief scene he was decked out in the most UNCONVINCING HAIRPIECE I have ever seen.
I HAVE EVER SEEN!
I get that the director wanted Harrelson to look like his comic book counterpart, complete with his distinctive red hair, but jeez, that wig was bad. At one point I did a double-take as I was convinced Simply Red front man, Mick Hucknall had shown up in a last minute cameo.
For the record, Hucknall wasn’t involved in the movie. Although it’s possible that the wig is part of a Simply Red tribute act.
Am I being harsh on Venom?
No. No I am not. I could be a lot worse – believe me.
As noted at the top of this post, Venom isn’t as bad as some other Marvel movies, but it’s really not what it should be for a Marvel movie released in 2018. It only further highlights that Marvel Studios really are the only studio who should be making this kind of movie and Sony don’t really have a clue.
Unfortunately, this is perhaps the sort of movie we will simply have to get used to. Venom has made a decent amount of money (so far), pretty much guaranteeing a sequel, and it’s already helping Sony to develop its other non-Spider-Man related Marvel movies.
Current word has it that Sony is preparing to fast track the Morbius movie and it’s looking like the Kraven the Hunter film won’t be too far behind either. Jeez.
If you’ve not watched Venom yet and you’re on the fence, take it from me and skip it. While it might be doing well at the box office at present this says more about the popularity of the character (and actor Tom Hardy) than it does about the quality of the film.