Venom: The Good, the Bad, and the “Meh”

Despite a solid performance by Tom Hardy, Venom fails to grab the viewer and have them fully invest in its character relationships. Ultimately, this brings the whole film down to a disappointing “meh”. In short, it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good either. It is just watchable.

Tom Hardy, unsurprisingly, was satisfactory in his portrayal of Eddie Brock, a passionate investigative journalist at the top of his game. Hardy also vividly encapsulates Brock’s symbiote alter-ego, Venom. The one problem I had, that seemed to pop up again and again in this movie, was the relationship between Eddie and Venom. It didn’t feel fully developed, leaving the viewers confused as to why Venom – an initially malicious extra-terrestrial being – ends up being Brock’s helpful companion. There could have been a deeper, more resonant relationship developed between the pair, which would have helped the audience root for, and fear, Venom in equal measure.

All of the relationships in this movie were forgettable, no one is rooting for Eddie and Ann, his fiancée, to make up, the character deaths have no impact whatsoever on the viewer, and Venom and the alien antagonist Riot’s relationship feels really tacked on.

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Tom Hardy joins a long list of Hollywood heavyweights, who have immersed themselves in the Marvel universe // Sony Pictures

Why throw away these vital relationships by not developing them? Ann Weying, Eddie’s fiancée (played by Michelle Williams) may as well not have been in the movie. Sure she had some relevance to the plot, but ultimately she felt like a superfluous character, that only existed to stitch the plot’s threads together. There was no chemistry between Williams and Hardy, meaning the whole relationship may as well have been cut out of the film.

Another of the film’s flaws was the weak villain Dr Carlton Drake (played by Riz Ahmed). Ahmed’s Drake, combined with the sinister symbiote villain, Riot, fail to truly capture the menacing traits of a proper screen villain.

“If you go into Venom expecting a terrifying and enthralling experience, you’re going to be disappointed”

The movie does however, provide a teaser for a possible sequel that looks much more promising, and hints at a darker, more compelling story that could be explored in future installments.

Venom, in theory, had everything, a dark yet compelling anti-hero, an array of stars, and a decent storyline, but somehow it just didn’t work. Why was Venom’s character toned down? When the first trailer was initially released viewers expected this eerie and unsettling character-driven superhero film. However, both Venom and Eddie were a little bit too comedic. It didn’t feel like the combination of a hard-hitting investigative journalist, and a powerful symbiote with questionable morals. At the end of the day, director Ruben Fleischer’s Venom can’t quite decide what kind of movie it wants to be.

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