Friday, 5 October 2018

Venom (Movie Review)

Venom is a great re-imagining of another Marvel classic. 

Another trip to the Arc Cinema in Wexford, where the staff are lovely and the premises are spotless and comfortable (and wheelchair friendly to boot).

This has been a much awaited movie and whilst getting mixed reviews I really liked it. The criticism, some of it warranted (unoriginal storyline, Disnefied down to a 15 cert & Venom character not being bad enough) still doesn't detract from the main positives of the movie for me.
But to start with ... the plot:

Journalist Eddie Brock begins looking into a shady businessman, whose experiments into alien symbiotes (i.e. creatures that have to bond with another being to survive) are putting innocent people in danger. However, in the course of his investigations Brock becomes infected with one of the symbiotes, quickly realising it possesses sentience and striking a deal with the creature now sharing his body – well kind of. They become VENOM. But you have to say that in a husky voice in your head.

In a formulaic manner, they attempt to quash the evil and win the day. This is where the movie lets us down. The original character of Venom wasn’t such a good guy so Marvel fans are annoyed and rightly so, I think the creators, so used to bringing us stories of good vanquishing evil, didn’t know what to do with the Venom character so fell back on the usual movie trope. However, the sci-fi and fantasy nerd is a much more discerning movie goer, we’ve shown how we don’t necessarily want the usual movie trope, Sin City and Deadpool come to mind so the creators dropped the ball here.


HOWEVER ... DUM DUM DUM ... If you are not an aficionado of the Venom comics or Marvel universe this will not matter to you. Without this prior lore knowledge the story line is fine and as Venom is a stand-alone movie, you need not have seen the other 100 movies based in the Marvel Universe to enjoy it which is another plus.

The comedy is very good and lightens the movie somewhat. The scene when Venom says hello to Brock when he is brushing his teeth is laugh out loud stuff and the timing is also brilliant. Before Brock figures out what is happening the conversations in his head are hilarious.

The Cast.

Tom Hardy stars as Eddie Brock, and he also voices the symbiote, effectively playing two different interlinked roles in the same movie. He does a brilliant job and the start of the story where he is coming to terms with his new parasite is very funny, although it does take too long getting anywhere.

Michelle Williams also stars as lawyer Anne Weying, Eddie’s girlfriend, who becomes a different version of Venom herself in the source comics. There will be a sequel, although it will be the story of Carnage rather than a Venom 2 (I think) but I’m looking forward to more of Anne’s story.

Rounding off the main cast Riz Ahmed plays villain Carlton Drake, the real baddie who wants to destroy the earth. Another plus to note, Marvel/Sony has  again considered representation and not whitewashing the whole cast. 

The Nitty-Gritty

The music is amazing with Eminem dropping the soundtrack. Even the end sequence (you will watch because you need to see the final scene) marries the soundtrack with some fab artwork – kind of like a symbiosis of Venom tentacles and Rorschach drawings. Cool stuff.

The special effects are stunning and the fight sequences are brilliant – exactly what we have come to expect from Marvel, still outshining DC by a mile. There is a chase sequence which is great, Venom on a motorbike and the baddies all driving massive black suburbans. 

Whilst the chase scene is a really entertaining and fast paced addition, it’s a little bit unbelievable that a motor bike couldn’t get away from a few 4 wheel drives. In reality of course in a city full of traffic the motorbike is king. But it is a cool bike so what the hell – it’s a Ducati Scrambler, here are its stats. I WANT ONE!

Chase scenes are much more realistic when proper bikes are used and if you’re a bit of a motorbike fan like me you appreciate when directors use real, honest, proper fast bikes in their creations. One of the most exciting chase scenes to ever grace our screens, IMHO are in The Matrix Reloaded – Trinity on the Ducati 996 – at its time and still the 996 is one of the fastest most viciously accelerating bikes to every be built. The 996 has propelled numerous riders to victory of the years. (read more here)

Tying it all together in a nice little bow

I’m going to tentacle hurl an 8 out of 10 planets at Venom. Even though the movie has problems with the storyline, you’ll still come out of the cinema with a smile on your face that will overshadow the bad bits and you’ll remember the funny bits especially. It was too slow getting into the meat of the story, but, in its defence, it’s hard to tell the origin story in a shorter time. With nearly 40 minutes left on the cutting floor which would have made the movie an 18 cert, I hope we get some of them back in an Directors Cut on the bluray release. This could probably propel the movie to a 9 or even 10 out of 10.

John The Captain Ryan

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