Movie Reviews

Venom Review: Spin-Off Movie Spins A Simple Web

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For years the movie world has been familiar with the wall crawling, quip spewing, friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. The iconic hero of Marvel Comics has been an established film franchise and continues to be a prominent one even to this day. Yet as popular as the Web Slinger is, so too are the characters that surround him. One in particular is none other than the dark antagonist known as Venom. Whether he is Spider-Man’s arch nemesis or the lethal protector Venom has been a vital character for both Spidey and Marvel. The character made his cinematic debut in 2007’s Spider-Man 3, and ever since then the character has been slated for a solo film. It took some time but at long last the iconic supervillain has received his own film in the movie simply known as Venom. Directed by Reuben Fleischer Venom is not only a rebooted tale for the character but also slated to be the first of Sony’s very own series of Spider-Man spin-offs films. Needless to say there is plenty riding on this movie. Well the time had finally come to see if Venom had what it took to stick on the silver screen, and after watching the film I have to say this spin-off movie is a little bittersweet.

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Venom centers on Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) who, after being down on his luck, discovers that Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) is bonding humans with alien lifeforms known as symbiotes. Not too long after this discovery does Eddie realize he too has bonded with a symbiote and soon becomes the anti-hero known as Venom. The plot of Venom was an amalgam of a superhero origin and a monster story. Conceptually speaking this made for interesting narrative however the execution of this story left much to be desired. The pacing to the story was a little too quick for my taste as the rushing plot points prevented certains elements in this supervillain tale from being fleshed out. However this is not to say that everything about the plot was off putting. While its direction could be eccentric the plot did feature some intriguing aspects such as its character driven nature in Eddie Brock’s tale. Plus, even though the pacing was quick, the thrill ride element to the plot kept things exciting by giving this spin-off an action packed direction. Though the web this story spinned was a thin one that was not to say there was nothing noteworthy in this superpowered plot as this villainous tale ended up an exciting ride-with a hint of enticing elements to it.

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Bringing a character such as Venom to the silver screen is no easy feat. However the characterization of Eddie Brock/Venom in this film did its best and succeeded; well more of less anyways. Tom Hardy brought out a sense of charisma to the character while showing off Brock’s desperation. As for Venom I was surprised just how much character the symbiote ended up having as the movie showcased Venom’s sinister nature but also gave him a dark sense of humor. The result of this led to a unique duality between Eddie and Venom and allowing Tom Hardy to have a dynamic performance. The only issue I had with this characterization was that the development needed a little more work as the rushed narrative prevented Brock/Venom to flesh out their characters; particularly Venom. As for the supporting cast characters such as Anne Weying (Michelle Williams) and Dr.Dora Skirth (Jenny Slate) were effective but they had a minimal presence. When it came to the villain Carlton Drake, and the symbiote Riot, they were decent antagonists. Ahmed’s performance gave Drake a manner of depth while Riot was a captivating threat, but much like the other supporting characters this duo had a lacking presence which left them with a tamed impact.

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When it came the likes of effects Venom could be hit and miss in its presentation. While the visuals for the movie’s bigger scenes looked off putting the effects for the symbiotes were impressive as their design and practicality were quite effective. The stronger aspects to the visuals could be seen in the movie’s action-which was surprisingly well executed. Scenes such as the chase sequence oozed creativity as the blend of practical and cgi effects gave this element as solid impression. The music by Ludwig Goransson was an standout highlight for the movie. The music to this villainous spin-off was very thematic as it gave Venom an alluring score that was as exhilarant as it was monstrous.

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Venom may not have been the most enticing superhero film to grace the silver screen but the spin-off still had plenty to offer. While the story and characters were lacking in areas they still had their merits such as the plot’s exciting aspects and the performance from Tom Hardy. Along with the decent effects, entertaining action and a killer score the movie had a presentation filled with more hits than misses. If there was one major takeaway from Venom it was a potential that this movie showcased whether it was in its central character or its linear direction. Venom may not be the most groundbreaking blockbuster, or even among the best films of the year, but this spin-off was still an entertaining experience that manages to stick just enough to give Sony’s Marvel films a prominent future.

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