Director: Ruben Fleischer
Cast: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, and Tom Hardy as himself.
Have I Seen it Before: Honestly? I thought I was going to get away with never seeing it, but here we are.
Did I Like It: There were long stretches where I might have been willing to go along with the proceedings, able to write it off as a well-meaning b-movie with some a-listers slumming it through the run time, but it’s not nearly bonkers enough to offset its thorough commitment to being mediocre. To put it succinctly? I’m not sure what the hell I was suspecting, but no.
I don’t like Venom. I think the whole idea is pretty stupid, and Sam Raimi’s work in Spider-Man 3 (2007) leads me to believe that I may not be alone in that assessment.
The thought that I might enjoy Venom, this new Spider-Manless version of the character seemed preposterous on spec. Upon watching any of the trailers, it nearly seemed like the the movie was being made less as an attempt to make an actual film, or because of love for the character, or even just to keep the rights from reverting to Marvel, and more that it was made as part of massive prank on behalf of Sony and Columbia Pictures.
I wrote recently about how Aquaman seemed intent on wrapping itself in an aesthetic that would be more at home in a film released in the 80s, this film seems just as manic in it’s desire to be a film discovered in a time capsule that was buried in 1997. Which is kind of like trying to pull off the same trick, but without any of the charm. Dodgy CGI, a base-guitar-heavy score, all culminating in an Eminem-penned track over the end credits that helpfully retreads the plot of the film I just saw. In fairness, I’m not sure what I was expecting from a movie based on the most 90s comic book character outside of Spawn or Withcblade, which I’m pretty sure is actually a thing.
Much has been made about Tom Hardy’s swing-for-the-fences-post-modern-Al-Pacino performance as both Eddie Brock and his best-good black goo. I’m frankly not seeing it. He spends the entire first act of the film reaching for that fabled arena of overacting wherein he appears to be performing in scenes from an entirely different film. This would be all well and good (or well and good enough) if the central conceit of the film isn’t completely reliant on Brock’s transition to the alien head-biter. With this lack of a transition, all we’re left with is a litany of CGI characters that aren’t all that impressive, and seeds for a sequel that I still don’t care about.
I’m having a Spider-Manassaince as of late, with the exquisite Playstation 4 game, the vibrant and beautiful Into the Spider-Verse, and the forthcoming Far From Home, but unfortunately, I don’t think Eddie Brock should come along. At least with the success of this film, the MCU version of the web-head is relatively inoculated from having to trudge his way through his own symbiote related storyline.