What makes a superhero movie great? The formula’s been almost the exact same for the past fifty years: some special effects, a valiant character faced with an obviously evil opposite, and ultimately the triumph of good. It is a good way to write a movie, and it works well enough for most major companies like Marvel and DC, but even still, some movies are more of a miss than a hit. With some movies such as Infinity War and Deadpool stepping away from traditional methods and conventions, it is only natural to want to move forward in new ways. One of these ways is concentrating on not the heroes, but the villains, who have been abhorred and beloved for years. Venom is the supervillain movie of the year, both loved and hated by fans of heroes and non-superhero-fans.
If I was to write a review purely based on my emotions about Venom, you might get tired of all the praise I throw at it. As a fan of comics-turned-movies, it was one of the funniest comic movies I have ever seen. The way it mixed its humor to appeal to a wide audience was incredibly methodical, resulting in—dare I say—a better comedy than Thor: Ragnarok. I have never been a big fan of the Venom comics, so my knowledge is limited, but the trailer portrayed Venom as a giant gooey monster with long teeth and an attitude. Seriously, what is not to love?
In addition, though I have never had much interest in the actor Tom Hardy before, I can now say I am definitely in the fan club. He has breathed life into the movie almost single-handedly, and his honest delivery of the pathetic Eddie Brock makes his character’s connections with the world and other people so much more intense. The greatest achievement of this film, however, is the way that the symbiote and Brock form a new partnership to fight evil, managing to incorporate both of their goals into ultimately saving the world. Some of the most intimate pieces of dialogue come from Venom talking with Brock: Venom initially calls Brock a loser, but then later on admits he was a loser too where he was from, and when Brock asks what changed Venom’s mind in reference to deciding to save the world, Venom states, “You did, Eddie.”
However, there have been controversies surrounding the film, including how Lady Gaga fans, called Little Monsters, vilified the movie as a way of drawing attention to A Star is Born, another popular film that came out in the same week, which Gaga stars in. The most slandering happened on Twitter, where fans created extra accounts and posted very similar reviews; one user even told Buzzfeed exactly what they were up to, saying: “It’s us Gaga fans creating fake IDs to trash the Venom premiere. They both are getting released on the same day, so we want more audience for A Star Is Born.”
While this was unfair treatment of Venom, some do not completely disagree with the naysayers. Many professional critics condemn Venom for the lazy writing, the stereotypical plot, the unexpanded characters, and many other things. Perhaps the only thing Venom was praised for by critics was the CGI and the relationship between the film’s main characters, Eddie Brock and his symbiote (the biggest fans started to call the movie a “romantic comedy” because of their chemistry). Even with the critics giving it a lot less than five stars (only 29% favorability on Rotten Tomatoes), it has raked in more money in the opening weekend than the average October release at the box office, coming up around $80 million. That is almost twice what A Star Is Born earned, a meek $42 million in comparison.
To say Venom was “the greatest movie of all time” or that it pleased both comic-book fans and non-fans would indeed be an overstatement. However, a film about a gooey brain-and-body possessing monster that teams up with a washed-up ex-reporter was certainly fun. The jokes were daring and constant, the evil scientist/businessman was indeed evil, and the love story was tumultuous, but still tender. And the secondary love interest (with a woman rather than a symbiote) was good too.
It is definitely one of the most entertaining movies I have seen in awhile; for me, it’s a solid five-star movie that doesn’t pretend to take itself seriously. Go on, give it a shot.