Ever since I was a wee lad, I’ve wanted to see one of my favourite comic book characters, Venom, on the big screen. In 2007, my prayers were finally answered with Spider-Man 3 - though my prayers might’ve been the victim of broken telephone, because Venom was awful in Sam Raimi’s third film. Now, Sony has heard our louder prayers for a better standalone Venom film, and I’m confident to say that it is a major upgrade, though not the one most of us were probably expecting. Venom, directed by Ruben Fleischer, is a bit of an anomaly in today’s overstuffed superhero film landscape, but it’s also one that uncharacteristically provides a burst of energetic fun that's sorely absent from its darker cinematic counterparts.
Venom takes place in San Francisco and follows Eddie Brock, a big-shot journalist who has gained a reputation for being an abrasive but entertaining icon for the masses. One day, Brock chases a story at the Life Foundation, a pharmaceutical company run by mogul Carlton Drake. His snooping leads him to discover a plot to harness alien DNA called symbiotes, and fuse it with humans to essentially create nightmarish super-soldiers. When Brock himself gets infected by one such parasite, his body plays host to his alter-ego, Venom.
Venom begins on an upbeat note and immediately lets audiences know that this isn’t going to be the Venom film they imagined. Eddie Brock’s introduction is given a cheesy pop song to accommodate his work montage; all the while his love life is highlighted to be peaches and cream. In fact, the entire first half of the film plays out like an early 2000s drama/comedy, with tons of jokes, one-liners, and characters randomly getting obligatory sex scenes, to just drive home the point that there is some semblance of romance in the film. A lot of the exciting, symbiote-related action only comes in around the 50-minute mark, so you’re left with a film that desperately tries to set you up for a grander pay-off. It doesn’t always work to its benefit, but it does manage to invoke some light-hearted fun.
Venom... uncharacteristically provides a burst of energetic fun that's sorely absent from its darker cinematic counterparts.
When Venom throws down with bad guys, bodies are snapped in half, heads are eaten clean off shoulders, and limbs are severed... and it doesn’t shy away from showing it.
...there are more symbiotes in the film than Venom, but it tries to set them up as pawns for a sequel instead of having any impact on the story.
Writer. Enthusiast of all things geek. Legend has it he completed Final Fantasy VII without a memory card.
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5 October 2018
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