REVIEW: ‘Venom’ fails to tell consistent, fulfilling story


“Venom” poster

Alex Novak

“Venom” falls short of its strong hype and loses grasp of a poorly written story early, causing it to easily slip into a unorganized and, at times, pointless film.

Problems in the movie arise often from its lack of reach and the surprisingly few attempts to be large-scale. It is a change of pace for Marvel, but a very unexpected one and lost opportunity in its production choices.

Ultimately it is still a Marvel movie as a whole with a Stan Lee cameo and all but is scarred with the touch of Sony that can’t capture the same magic of movies in the extended Marvel universe.

The film tells the story of a potential coming invasion of alien symbiotes after one escapes free following a rocket crash on the return entry to Earth. After the contained samples are collected, a collection of symbiotes  proceed to latch onto a number of citizens, including an investigative journalist named Eddie Brock, played by Tom Hardy.

The titular alter-ego character is most commonly associated with ibeing the villian in Sam Raimi’s 2009 film “Spider-Man 3.” In “Venom” it takes on a much deeper and unique backstory. But while it does a superb job of developing the backstory of Eddie Brock’s symbiote, it does little to develop Brock’s character and fails to provide compelling supporting characters as well.

One thing the movie does well is take a unique, more comic-book accurate twist at the human-symbiotic relationship that infects Eddie Brock and others. With a backstory that expands the symbiote species and their potential future plans for invasion, it changes up perceptions of who truly is the villain multiple times while exploring the origins of their kind.

Of the several main problems with the film, its very awkward pacing of scenes makes for a choppy plot and causes the tone of the film to feel inconsistent.

Most of the runtime is spent on a less than average exposition that seems to be placing a lot of subplots — but just when it feels like it’s taking off, it tones down once again until the ending of the movie.

Continuing its poor choices during post-production, the film leaves plenty of little things in those choppy sequences unwrapped which offers a lot of potential exploration if there is a sequel but brings no closure to its subplot.

Its ending is quick, slightly confusing, and a terribly anticlimactic conclusion as a poor end to an awkward movie. It feels severely rushed which could be the result of a lack of choices from the footage, or could just be a predictably simple ending to a disappointing film.

The frequent attempts at comedic relief during the film also speaks to its overall flaws that stem from its lost connection to its universe as much as anything. While at times it will have the audience burst out in laughter, its humor is average on the whole. Far too often it seems to fall flat, and even worse it commonly exudes a trippy comedic tone that doesn’t bear the recognizable Marvel universe signature.

And despite a charismatic performance from Hardy, it cannot save his hard to root for and oddly written character.

“Venom” fails to remain consistent because of these many issues in its production and story, making it a hopeful movie that leaves many expectations not even close to being reached.

Alex Novak is an entertainment reviewer. Contact him at [email protected].