Movie Review: “Venom”

by Hunter Johnson

As many people know, “Venom” has just hit theatres and while it’s certainly not a financial failure, it’s getting less than favorable reception from the critics. But it’s important to understand where this movie came from. How does a movie about one of Spider-Man’s greatest foes get made without Spider-Man in it?

Sony Pictures has been trying to get their grip on superhero filmmaking for a long time now. They’ve had the film rights to everything related to Spider-Man since 1999, and in those twenty years, they’ve attempted to start a new universe of Spider-Man films four separate times. After “Spider-Man 3” was released, Sony was originally planning on making a Spider-Man 4, 5, and 6, but those films all fell through the cracks when director Sam Raimi bailed on the films.

Then, Sony decided to reboot the character with “The Amazing Spider-Man.” The sequel to that film was intended to start off a whole new franchise of films including Venom, The Sinister Six, Black Cat, and at least two more sequels to “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” However, all of those plans also came to a halt when that film ended up being a critical failure.

Now, Sony has rebooted the character of Spider-Man yet again by essentially lending him to Marvel Studios, who have been making Tom Holland an enormous star as the titular role. Meanwhile, Sony is still determined to make their own universe of superhero films. Therein lies “Venom.”

“Venom” is a film about Eddie Brock and his pathway to becoming the infamous anti-hero known as Venom. The film is directed by Ruben Fleischer and stars Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock. It’s intended the be the first of many films in “Sony’s Marvel Universe,” which will supposedly feature films such as “Black Cat,” “Silver Sable,” “Morbius The Living Vampire,” and “Venom 2.”

This film has extremely few reasons that it should work in any way at all. Besides the obvious problem of its lack of an actual Spider-Man, this film has clunky dialogue, cliché plot points, thinly written characters, and an outrageous amount of plot holes.

However, all that said, this film gets the character of Venom right. Audiences have been angry about the portrayal of Venom in “Spider-Man 3” for over ten years now, but this film really does understand the character of Venom. The relationship between Eddie Brock and Venom is easily the best part of this film and it almost saves the whole thing.

Tom Hardy is fantastic in this film. He’s fully devoted to bringing Eddie Brock to life and he does a great job as he steals every scene he’s in. He’s just a joy to watch. Tom Hardy also does the voice of Venom, which was a brilliant creative decision because every moment that Venom is on screen—which is surprisingly few—is electric to watch. Both Eddie and Venom are terrific in this film.

The most disappointing thing about this film is that the world has finally been given a great portrayal of the character of Venom, but audiences will probably never get to see this version of the character meet the current Spider-Man. Sony is so stubborn and determined to make their own universe of Marvel characters that they’re denying the world of something amazing. But who knows, maybe in five years’ time, we’ll actually get to somehow see Tom Hardy’s Venom go up against Tom Holland’s Spidey.

Hunter Johnson is a sophomore theatre major and an arts and entertainment writer for Cedars. He spends his time acting on stage, reading and watching Star Wars, and occasionally doing homework.

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