So, I must be the only one in the world who didn’t know what a symbiote was before I saw this film. I mean, Google Docs even recognizes it as a word. Well, they’re these alien species that manage to merge with another living specimen. But they have to do so, because they cannot survive our atmosphere without someone to attach to, kind of like the creatures in the 2002 Scooby-Doo movie. Meanwhile, Eddie Brock is a journalist who has his own little show, The Brock Channel. He’s clearly independent. He rides a motorcycle, uncaring of where he parks it, and is engaged to Anne Weying, an attorney. Life Corp is in possession of these symbiotes after four of them crashed a rocket. But one of them got out and is now taking the form of others. Brock tries to investigate this, and in retribution, the CEO Carlton Drake takes away everything from him. But Brock ends up coming back from it all, with a curse that is going to turn him crazy, and decapitating.
Here’s something you may not know about me. My mind is disturbing sometimes. The thoughts I have squirming around my mind when I’m angry are monstrous. I even remember a time when I got so mad I was laughing like the devil. Also, I just finished an education in journalism. I think a research paper involving scholarly sources that have already been cited by people and already published are boring and mostly pointless. I want to find what hasn’t been found before. I also live in a world where I can tell there are people thriving for work and just a little money to pay to keep a roof over themselves. It’s amazing that I hadn’t known anything about Venom before now, because it seems like the villain, and the movie, were specifically made for me. I completely recognized Eddie Brock’s itch to do the right thing and not cater to anyone else, as well as the anger he ends up having to display at the world.
I liked how the movie has tropes in its story, then doesn’t follow up with the ingredients that make them tropes. For instance, there’s the ex-girlfriend, and the guy that ex-girlfriend is now seeing. Usually, that new guy is an accomplice to the main villain, or only in the relationship for the money. Not that simple this time. The guy is honest, and willing to help without being patronizing. Also, the movie has partial origin-story syndrome, a syndrome I didn’t do my homework on so it wasn’t bad for me at all, but it doesn’t waste its time with too much back-history. Yet at the same time, there’s minor but welcoming development that doesn’t get in the way.
I also really didn’t expect the movie to be funny. I saw Batman v. Superman Dawn of Justice back in 2016 (has it really been two and a half years since that movie was released?) and the horrid bore that I witnessed prevented me from believing any more movies with a mostly carbon-black poster could be. And I remember once mentioning how it’s hard for me to laugh when I’m in the movie theatre; the atmosphere often doesn’t seem right. Here, I laughed a bunch of times and had a blast doing it alongside my uncle and the rest of the audience. And here it’s the kind of humour I like; slapstick, the inability to believe what’s happening on screen is really happening, and the irony of its humour. Trust me, you haven’t lived yet until you see Tom Hardy take an unsanitary bath in the middle of a fancy restaurant.
One of the many gambles this movie has up its sleeve includes moderately twisting our expectations of what we’re supposed to feel about Venom. I remember the omnipresent anger that’s still around after Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Well, in this case, it goes a different route than you may expect in the trailers, and the first half, but makes it so our excitement for what we expected isn’t completely demolished. It takes a flip, but not a 180 degree flip, allowing us to still enjoy what we’re watching and welcoming a few different things. One plotpoint it goes for is how Drake, played by Riz Ahmed, can only not control overpopulation and climate change, and those two things have brought us a planet on the brink of collapse, that’s why he wants to do what he’s doing; to help bring over a different lifeform to bring new possibility. I said this in my Infinity War review, and I’ll say it one more time, or as many times as I can point it out; Marvel’s antagonists almost always have something real to say to us.
Strangely, the movie is only in association with Marvel. It even has the old Marvel logo, not the one with all the big superheroes on it. That can even be a type of metaphor to the movie, on how the world has enough superheroes. Speaking of which, I’m glad Spider-Man and the Avengers weren’t part of this movie. They would’ve just gotten in the way, like how Sandman and Parker’s conflicts with MJ and Harry were other things he had to worry about in Spider-Man 3, where there was noticeable arguments between the studio and director Sam Raimi. I think the only thing I would’ve changed in Venom’s first time back on the screen since then is, I would’ve added a few extra scenes where Eddie talks to the new voice in his head to help aid something Venom tells him later on, and maybe make Drake have maybe something else to distinguish him. That’s it.
I think the movie I could compare this the most to is Ant-Man, because it also involves an antagonist who is prepared to see progress done and is not afraid of sacrificing lives and quoting biblical history to enforce his desire. And this movie also tries something different, giving us a big budget for a villain instead, with unexpected humour and a million creative ways to expose the protagonist’s new powers, while also somehow still possessing a beating heart and not being overlong. That, and I also gave an A+ to that movie. Look, there have been A+ movies I’ve seen where I’ve later lowered my grade one or two points. It’s very hard to know at first glance if a movie is going to stick with you or not. That’s why changing grades is completely acceptable. This has the air of potentially being lowered to an A, but I had just as much fun watching this movie as I did with the other A movies so far this year, and this one has a bigger relating feel to me.
This is going to sound very unapologetically wrong, and I can’t even believe I’m saying this, but the CGI Venom is so well animated that he ends up terrifyingly sexy. Some people have complained about this movie being rated PG-13 instead of R, and not having enough real gore, unlike the Deadpool movies and Logan. The reason that is not criticism that’s going to affect my grade is because I didn’t notice those details while watching the film. You probably won’t, either.
The stunts, story decisions and twisted humour all make a Venom movie that I can really say is worth your money to see with a big audience. RRAAAAWWWWRRR! (And stay for the credits. Not just for more footage, which is great, but the credits song by Eminem. It’s groovy.)