The Awesome: We finally get a Venom movie. The synergy between Venom and Eddie Brock (both played by Tom Hardy) was fun to watch as the dialogue between them enhances their conflict and I found to be a highlight of the film. Some of the set pieces and action really mimicked the comics and although a few times I had to tell myself not to criticize the exaggerated combat visuals. The moments Venom looks awesome in full CGI glory. Stan Lee cameo, although I wasn't thrilled with all his dialogue. That tease at the end credits. It does what it sets out to do in general and that is introduce Venom to audiences.
The Good: Once the film gets going it has a nice steady pace and that helped it not feel the two hours plus. The relentless action after the first act was a surprise since it starts slow making sure we get invested in the main character and some of the people he cares for, so I was fearing more talking and less action but that was not the case once we get rolling. It was better than I thought it would be in some places. The scenes in the labs were eye candy with all the high tech equipment and did enjoy the science elements in the movie, sure they overused the science jargon but I like hearing stuff like "metabolic abnormalities that are making it hard for your body to maintain homeostasis." and "Why are all these hosts showing hyperacute rejection?", but that's just me.
The Bad: Some of the character arcs are just brutal and so disappointing because there is source material and I felt that some of what I was hearing felt like it was being "Disneyed up" to make some characters likeable and family friendly. The film tries to satisfy two different audiences at one time by restricting it with a PG-13 rating and that hurts the violent scenes because the lack of blood feels so odd, it doesn't match the gruesomeness of what we are being shown. This film had the feel of studio tampering as I can't imagine some of the director's choices as some things seem so rushed that it loses meaning. A climatic battle that should've had me on the edge of my seat with all it's CGI grandeur fell flat because I didn't care if everyone just died by that point since I had lost investment in the characters because of the odd things they ended up saying in the third act. Why does Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) make grunt noises throughout the entire film, it was so strange almost like manly whimpers at times. The real villain in the film is wasted and honestly there is no explanation to his knowledge. Inconsistent Venom powers pop up here, did the writers forget the abilities they show us and then suddenly go away?
The Ugly: Some real bad wacky moments that contradicted the Venom character I had always interpreted from the comics and while they don't go full The Predator comedy route, it comes close with the buddy-comedy element though. There is one character that appears to take six months to get to its destination and there were so many issues with that subplot device because the director or writers should have given us some interesting flashbacks of that character's journey, instead of the cheap shortcut that left me confused as it contradicts one of the most important expository details. Many of the action scenes seem to be there just for the explosions and car wrecks which are usually cool but they are so generic instead of them creating unique action moments. Speaking of chase scenes, there is one involving exploding drones that completely convinced me that this project wasn't a work of passion for the filmmakers because a simple re-read of the script would have told them things in that chase won't make sense. The restaurant scene is one of the most cringe-worthy things I have ever seen in a blockbuster film, I understood it played for humor but the scene went on waaaaaaay too long even in a full length comedy. I mean, it is funny but then it just keeps going and going, like the "You're so pushy" scene in The Predator film (that film is becoming the measuring stick for awful filmmaking for me) and that restaurant joke gets plain stupid as it goes on because it just gets too silly. But while I despised the length of that scene there was one scene that also played for laughs but it just angered me because it went 1,000% against what Eddie had been showing us and what the film was saying about his heart.
Final Verdict ...2/5... While not as bad as I expected due to the critic reviews but I also didn't find it as good as the 98% rating Google users have given it. If the filmmaker and the studio thought that just because I like Venom from the comics that just giving him his own film would be enough for me to overlook how bland the film is with it's senseless climax, almost like this movie was just supposed to be about Venom meeting Eddie but suddenly they realized the film has no payoff or climax, so they rushed some ending together, filled it with CGI, and waited for the sounds of the cash registers and they sure did sound....the film made almost $1B!!! The far superior film Upgrade made $14M worldwide and is why films like Venom will continue to thrive while flushing the source material down the toilet while make billions in profits while pretending they are giving us something good. I wasn't planning on watching this and probably wouldn't have rushed to see it but after watching Upgrade and hearing about the parallels with that film and Venom, I had to see if the $100M film would entertain me like the $5M did and it's sad to say that in my opinion, Venom wishes it was Upgrade in almost every aspect. Even the Venom film's greatest strength (Venom/Eddie dialogue) is weak compared to what we get in Upgrade (Grey/STEM) and while I resisted thinking about Upgrade while watching Venom, when the credits rolled, it was clear what Upgrade got so right and what Venom got so wrong for me. Perhaps I was supposed to watch this like a comedy and overlook some of the plot points, too late for that. I guess I'll get ready for the sequel.
The Bad & Ugly Explanation Spoilers: (click here if you have seen the film and want to know why I felt the film failed me)
In the bad i mention how I disliked some of the characters being "Disneyed up" and what I mean by that is Venom, I know he is sarcastic and has a dark sense of humor in the comics but what they have him saying towards the end of the film I felt was silly and out of character, like when he says he likes Anne (Michelle Williams) implying he wouldn't hurt her and tells Eddie to get in the car with her. A better dialogue or setup would have been instead of him saying he likes her, he could have said something like "get in Eddie, i'm kind of hungry." Now that would have the implication that Venom would eat Anne and this would have added so much tension and conflict as what is Eddie to do? Trust that Venom won't eat the love of his life, imagine wanting to be near the person you love but you have an alien living inside you that in a blink of an eye could take your loved ones life. I mentioned the inconsistent Venom abilities and the examples are when Venom is in Eddie's apartment and he tells Eddie not to open the door before we even hear anyone at the door, so Venom has an ability to sense things, but then later at Life Foundation building he takes the elevator down and is then surprised by the SWAT team waiting for him. I was like, WTF Venom, you couldn't sense all those men...and that scene ends so absurdly with Anne watching Eddie almost bite the head off a SWAT member and her reaction is basically..."Eddie what's wrong with you? The hospital, now!" He has a damn alien attached to his body and she suggests the hospital??
In the Ugly I mention a character that takes six months to get to their destination, I was speaking about Riot, the only other symbiote that survives along with Venom. We see him in Malaysia enter one body after another until he settles for the body of that one woman and I believe she visits that market and ends up killing some people. Then we cut to this on the screen..."Six Months Later"...we see Eddie and whats happening and then without any explanation, we see the same Malaysian woman that we were shown Riot possessed and now we see she is in San Francisco...so my mind instantly began asking, why did it take that symbiote six months to arrive in San Francisco and what led it to San Francisco and of course we know that Riot is searching for Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) but was it because he knew he was a perfect match as host (and how did he know that?) or was it that Riot had somehow heard when Carlton told everyone he would fly the spaceship himself. Yeah, I feel the same way, it isn't ever explained so it comes across as just a convenient plot line. Instead of me getting invested in what is going to happen to Eddie, I was wondering why Riot couldn't use his symbiote abilities to arrive in San Francisco sooner than six months, instead of the chase scene explosion stuff, I would have liked some flashbacks of people's eyes turning to Riots eyes showing his progression towards San Francisco where we know our hero lives and that would have added some awesome tension, again I missed opportunity because they rather have cars flipping over and stupid restaurant scene that should have only lasted 3 minutes to make room for more important exposition and storytelling. But the one scene that basically took me out of taking this serious was when Anne helps Eddie rid himself of Venom at the hospital and the entire time leading up to this moment we are shown how much Eddie loves Anne and regrets being the cause of the breakup, she is the love of his life, but tell me why once Venom is out of him, he literally says, "I'm outta here." and leaves Anne behind with the Venom symbiote trapped in a hospital room and then he easily escapes through the vent in the ceiling. If I loved a woman, I would not prove it by leaving her behind with a killer alien life form. Any romantic attempts after that mess just made me laugh because if there was one moment where Eddie could have proved his love for Anne, thats the fucking moment!!! "No, I'm not leaving without you, Anne." then have Venom escape through the vent and force Anne and Eddie to separate for her safety. But instead they play it for comedy and fail. Now had they established that Eddie no longer cared about Anne because she was already dating someone else....now leaving Anne behind with her new man would have fit tonally and been funny because he is leaving them to find a way to contain the symbiote. I hate when a film spends more time on car stunts and CGI than telling a solid story from all angles. Take the last scene when Eddie gets revenge on the thug extorting the store owner...not only is the floating turd line uncreative, its when Eddie walks through the doors that we should see the thug's body on the ground but there is nothing on the ground in the store, where did the thugs body go? Just bad.