By Corey Sapsford.
Sony’s answer to the MCU is a mixed bag, introducing a fantastic, fun, new character but one who is trapped in a terribly uninspired, uncompelling story.
The film opens very much as you would expect with an alien crash-landing on earth, showing its cool powers and left in the wind being pursued by an evil corporation. Venom tries to ground Tom Hardy’s Eddie, in reality, showing himself as a fringe report who is happy to piss off the wrong people to get the truth. In an effective and believable way, we see Eddie’s life crumble around him as he chooses to make a selfish decision going against his boss and tarnishing Anne (his fiance’s) career. This leads Eddie desperate to make up for his mistakes so when he is given a huge scoop on the same person who ruined his career he jumps at the chance and that’s where the story gets good. Inside this facility, Eddie sees an assortment of horrific experiments and encounters an old friend who he desperately tries to save. Although, in trying to save her he receives the parasite she is infected with; “Venom”.
This leads to Eddie escaping the facility with some awesome new abilities but also a sickening virus. When Eddie arrives home he becomes incredibly erratic, flailing around which provides an amazing action scene as a confused Eddie wrestles with his new partner in crime and fashionably defeats a bunch of goons in the process. Also benefiting from a dedicated performance from Tom Hardy and a great visual style by using a handheld camera in most of the scenes to craft a sense of dread and anxiety of what’s to come, which definitely does not disappoint when Venom does arrive.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is that this film is called Venom and as you can probably expect, any scene with said character in is extremely entertaining from the action sequences to the personal interactions with Eddie. One thing I certainly did not expect was for the writers to bring some added depth to the character. Not only do we see that he is incredibly humorous, we learn that like Eddie he is a loser and an outcast on his planet. This leads to a pivotal moment in the film when the primary antagonist (Riz Ahmed) finally gets his own symbiote with plans to return home and bring an armada of symbiotes to earth. Rather than cowering, Venom decides to become a protector of earth and his new found friend Eddie, fighting to save it and finally showing why they bonded because the two characters really are one in that they do both genuinely want to be heroes for the right cause.
Venom is by no stretch a perfect film with a seriously lacking first third, but once we are introduced to the wonderous Venom the movie instantly kicks into gear and is incredibly enjoyable. While a lot of the more serious moments do not work, having a truly captivating, fun hero certainly helps make the film more appealing.