Warning, Spoilers to follow. Most will be mild, but there’s one that’s major if you haven’t followed any of the news about this film.
I was a bit nervous when this film was announced. A Spider-Man spin-off without Spider-Man and featuring one of his biggest villains did not strike me as the best idea. Still, Venom has had several of his own series and mini-series throughout the years, so a solo movie isn’t necessarily a crazy idea, but I thought it would be better to have him appear opposite Spider-Man and then give him a spin-off. But comic book movies are all the rage and Sony doesn’t have much since the made a deal with Disney regarding everyone’s favorite wall crawler.
Full disclosure, Venom is my favorite Spider-Man villain. I can hear the screaming now. “Venom isn’t Spider-Man’s greatest villain, the Green Goblin is his greatest villain!” To which I say, you’re wrong; Doctor Octopus is his greatest villain. I’m fully aware Venom isn’t Spider-Man’s arch-nemesis, but he’s always been my personal favorite. I grew up in the 90s alright? Also, I like Tom Hardy, so Venom had that going for it.
So plot wise, Eddie Brock is an investigative journalist working in San Francisco. He’s known for not compromising and following stories others won’t. One of the people he wants to investigate is Evil Corrupt CEO Carlton Drake WHO IS DEFINITELY, TOTALLY, NOT IN ANY WAY ELON MUSK. Musk has a space program (DEFINITELY NOT ELON MUSK), which he’s using to bring back alien creatures called symbiotes to Earth. These creatures need a host to survive, and he begins human experimentation almost immediately. Through a needlessly complicated set of shenanigans, Carlton ruins Brock’s reputation, his career and his engagement. Eventually, Eddie ends up bonded with one of these symbiotes, Venom. Hijinks ensue.
This is not a good movie. It’s not horrendous, but it’s definitely not good. There are a handful of things that I really liked, but I can’t recommend this film. Tonally, it’s all over the map. Venom can’t seem to decide what kind of film it wants to be, and never seems to find its footing. It keeps going back and forth between sci-fi/horror, action, and black comedy. Now it is possible to combine different genres and make good movies, but Venom never manages to pull it off. The best bits are when Venom is talking, and I’ll come back to that later.
The Bad: For starters, Eddie doesn’t get the symbiote until about halfway through the film, which is way too long. A lot of the setup is needlessly complicated and rather dull, and while I don’t know if the following issues count as plot holes, they kept nagging at me throughout the film.
Eddie is known for being a muckraker, so why would his boss send him on a puff piece assignment about someone Eddie is gunning for? That’s just asking for trouble. Telling an investigative reporter “don’t do your job,” is pretty unethical in my opinion.
When Eddie gets fired from his job, he loses everything and can’t find work because no newspaper will hire him. Why doesn’t he just go independent? Set up a YouTube channel and continue with investigative journalism. It’s made clear at the start of this film that Eddie’s show is popular, I’m certain he could find funding. If this was set in the pre-internet era, I could see this making sense. It doesn’t work in today’s world.
When Eddie gets in trouble, it costs his fiancé (Anne) her job at a law firm since that firm is working for Drake. If all it takes is losing a job to cause a break up, I have to question how strong that relationship is. Maybe it’s because I’m a jaded millennial, but almost no jobs are permanent today, that’s just the environment we live in. Or maybe it’s because most of my work is contract and I’m never in one place for long, so I don’t get attached to jobs. It just struck me as stupid.