While in the days of old, it was commonplace to introduce a comic book villain directly in the hero’s film. Not today where gradual dripping of world and character building before the two face-off, approximately three films down the line, with maximum build-up. In 2018, the tale of how an intergalactic alien symbiote and an investigative reporter teamed up to save humanity, and eventually fight Spider-Man were chronicled in the tale of Venom.
Investigative reporter, Eddie Brock, screws up his career when he uses his girlfriend’s confidential information to try and ambush Life Foundation executive, Carlton Drake. After getting a tip that he was right, Brock attempts to seek the truth. Breaking into the Life Foundation, Brock accidentally bonds with the mysterious goo. It plays on his mind, literally, they both benefit, increasing Brocks fighting prowess, and the Symbiote having something to eat, but this symbiosis may be deadly to the puny human host. Although, the entirety of humanity may also be doomed if the two don’t work together and stop Venom’s family from coercing Drake and bringing wanton destruction to the unsuspecting citizens of earth. Can Brock survive with the fate of humanity on him and the Symbiote forming a mutually parasitic relationship?
With a character like Venom, it’s a precarious tightrope of how you want to play the character, and sure he is one of the darker elements of the Marvel Universe but the fan-base spans all ages and graphic mutilations and devouring the human populous might not be the best solution currently. The burden is certainly resting on the shoulders of Tom Hardy, who ends up giving a certain physicality to depicting the ever-increasing effects the Symbiote has in its reluctant human host. Hardy also has the task of voicing Venom, the two do make for an impressive double act, a task even more impressive considering that Hardy must play against himself, but he does the job, nonetheless. His take on Venom is interesting who we learn is the runt of his team, it’s a fascinating touch, one that could yield dividends depending on how many Venom films get made. Yet fans of the comics will also know where Brock’s ex-fiancé, Anne, will end up going, and entrusting Michelle Williams to the role is a good step.
While it never gets too bleak, there’s a darker edge that’s fitting for a character like Venom. With gags about chewing pancreases, straight from the comics. Yet seeing symbiote murders and brain-eating feel a slight step beyond the tried and tested formula that the Marvel films usually do well to dabble in, though your mileage may vary. Being a Marvel film entry, there’s connective tissue all over the film, linking to a wider world of content, we learn that J. Jonah Jamerson went into space, and a significant chunk of Into the Spider-Verse for those who stay to the credits. Results in Venom being an integral piece of the puzzle, for those who wish to stay up to date with Marvel’s cinematic offerings.
Venom is a solid introduction to the franchisable potential of the oozing monster, establishing the acclaimed anti-hero while delivering an entertaining film in the meantime. Tom Hardy makes a great double act; adding ample amounts of devilish humour to the formula while not traumatising the younger viewers who want to see the next necessary instalment of the wider Marvel Mythos. The pieces are perfectly in place for continued success, and if you can stick with the symbiote, then you might have a friend in Venom.
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