Venom movie review: The greatest guilty pleasure of 2018 has arrived

Photo credit: Sony/Venom, Image Acquired from Sony Pictures Publicity
Photo credit: Sony/Venom, Image Acquired from Sony Pictures Publicity /

The new film Venom takes Tom Hardy and turns him into a psychotic symbiote alien. Is the movie another mistake by Sony or a misunderstood masterpiece?

Since the days of Sam Raimi, the studio Sony has lost all awareness of what to do with their Spider-Man properties. Things were looking up after they partnered with Disney/Marvel for Spider-Man: Homecoming. Then a string of reports started to flood fan sites that Sony had the intention of making spin-offs for other characters, starting with VenomFor most of us, this smelled like a cash grab.

While we were not completely wrong, the new film Venom is surprisingly entertaining. One might argue that the film is entertaining for all the wrong reasons, nevertheless, as much as the film fumbles, Tom Hardy overacts this thing so hard, it makes all the missteps seem diluted. The result is an absolute mess of a film that still manages to be one of 2018’s greatest guilty pleasures.

The film stars Tom Hardy in the central role of Eddie Brock, who eventually becomes the villain/anti-hero Venom. In this movie, Eddie is a highly famous reporter who is accustomed to taking massive risks and takedowns as a journalist. Towards the beginning of the story, he gets an anonymous tip regarding a billionaire who specializes in the medical field known as Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed). Eddie decides to confront him on tough questions involving deaths within his practice, doing this ruins Eddie’s career.

Venom movie, photo credit: Frank Masi via Sony Pictures EPK
Venom movie, photo credit: Frank Masi via Sony Pictures EPK /

Eddie Brock also has a relationship with Anne Weying (Michelle Williams), which at the start of the film they are both engaged. After his sabotage of an interview with Drake, Anne loses her job also which causes her to break off the engagement with Eddie. Most of these events happen really quickly and are very hard to care about because none of it feels earned. Also, Hardy and Williams have as much chemistry as a peanut butter and mustard sandwich. So when they break up, the tragedy behind it feels non-existent.

Eddie finds a doorway to redemption through one of the lab workers who works for Carlton Drake. Long story short, Eddie breaks into the lab, gets attacked by the black alien sludge, then becomes the insane symbiote known as Venom.

Once we get past the downfall of Eddie Brock, the film goes absolutely bonkers and it’s glorious. From here, the film turns into an over-the-top mess but a fascinating one. It’s almost like Tom Hardy realized halfway through that the film was going to be terrible, so he dialed his performance up to 11 and never stopped. I don’t think we’ve seen a performance this manic since Jim Carrey in The Mask.

Venom movie, photo credit: Frank Masi via Sony Pictures EPK
Venom movie, photo credit: Frank Masi via Sony Pictures EPK /

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We see him devour tater tots like a honey badger on meth and even jump in an aquarium like a hobo on acid. Seriously, there are just hilarious over-the-top moments in this movie that work for some reason. Most of this will not work for everyone but for me, Tom Hardy just made all the stupid fade away.

Hardcore fans of the character might take issue with the inconsistencies of the alien symbiote. There are no rules to what the symbiote can or cannot do except for its weaknesses–which are fire and high-pitched noises.

That aside, it’s a no-holds-barred fly off the wheel decision-making process for all the writers of this movie. It does not explain why the symbiote rejects and accepts certain humans. It does not explain where the human heads go after Venom eats them–which does not bother me but may bother others.

There are other major plotholes too which seems to be a factor of possible studio interference. It’s very clear that a great R-rated film might be hiding within the core of Venom and got chopped to pieces for the sake of box-office revenue. Chunks of this film require leaps in logic–such as the finale which involves Carlton Drake having a space shuttle ready to go on command. It seems like there’s possibly a subplot in this movie that probably got trimmed out. There’s no way to know for sure until it leaves theaters but I’m willing to bet a director’s or extended edition will be offered on digital and Blu-ray.

Next. Will the next Spider-Man film be a sequel to Venom too?. dark

Overall Thoughts

Venom is a complete mess of a film but somehow manages to entertain. Most of this is due to Tom Hardy who delivers an extremely over-the-top performance of Eddie Brock. In no way shape or form would I argue this is a good movie, but even a bad movie can be fun. Which is the best description for Venom– a really fun bad movie. It’s not a game changer by any means but thanks to Tom Hardy this could be a guilty pleasure for many.

Venom is in theaters now.