The central theme in Venom surrounds the split personality of our protagonist Eddie Brock, this also reflects the movie in general, as it just can’t decide what kind of film it wants to be. Venom goes back and forth between a dark thriller to comedy to buddy cop, delivering a conflicted final cut, leaving everyone confused.
Making his return following the disastrous Spiderman 3, Venom is back after 11 long years. After getting in contact with an alien symbiotic organism, whilst investigating a shady organisation, down on his luck Eddie Brock (Hardy) suddenly discovers that he isn’t the only person inside his mind! With his new-found powers, can he tame the malicious Venom, as he aims to take back control of his life?
Without a doubt, Hardy and his scenes with Venom are by far the strongest parts of the film. The film takes a while to ramp up the action, but once the symbiote starts to take over, the intensity takes off! The constant conflict between the two sets up some great scenes, as he struggles to remain in charge. The action set pieces with Venom are a blast, showing the true threat of the symbiotic terror. The powers that Venom possesses are awesome, and it’s great fun to see him go all out, wiping the floor with countless goons.
Though that’s where the film really has to offer is regards to promise. Venom for some reason decides to go full out comedy, ala Nutty Professor. Some scenes where he is struggling to restrain the beast are comically bad, and Brock’s breakdown in a restaurant is incredibly awkward, almost Nicolas Cage levels of insane! Venom constantly demeans Brock for no real reason, yes, it may deliver some cheap laughs, but it goes totally against Venom’s actions when he reveals his true intentions. There is a strange buddy cop vibe, which seems so out of place in a film such as this.
Generic Evil Corporation #2158, The Life Foundation, led by Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), is the big bad here. Ahmed does an OK job as the villain, but he really has nothing much to work with, apart from being a young prodigy who is a CEO in his 30s. We don’t really go into what his motivations are, why did he become so crazed? His behavior is pretty much psychotic, but we see nothing to show why he has become this unhinged person, which greatly hurts the character. Brock’s love interest here, Anne (Michelle Williams) is devoid of anything interesting, and is for some reason, forced into the final scenes of the movie far too much.
The film is also oddly mild, considering the vicious monster Venom is. Whereas Deadpool & Logan have shown that if it’s done well, an R rating is not a bad thing, if anything, it can enhance a movie. The lack of any blood at all is confusing. There are scenes where people’s heads are bitten off, or get impaled, but the clean nature of the scenes makes Venom look sterile. Venom never really feels as dangerous as he should be.
Venom should do well enough at the Box Office to earn itself a sequel, hopefully the studio will take the feedback from this, and produce a far more polished final product. Though it may seem a far reach, the presence of Spiderman, regardless of how small it is, would be great for Venom to play off against down the road.