Warning: This article contains numerous spoilers, only read on if you have already seen the film, or you really don’t care.
Venom is the hotly anticipated spin-off from the Spider-man franchise, centered on one of the web-slinger’s most infamous and popular foes. It tells the story of how talented, but down-on-his-luck news reporter Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) encounters and bonds with an amorphous alien life-form called a symbiote. The symbiote, called Venom, uses Brock as a host to sustain its life on Earth, whilst bestowing him with superhuman powers such as strength, agility, speed and regeneration. Together they take on the sinister Life Foundation, headed by Riz Ahmed’s Carlton Drake, which is experimenting on symbiote’s and humans to make the perfect being capable of thriving in any environment. You can read our full review here.
After Venom was given bitterly disappointing incarnation in Toby Maguire’s Spider-man 3, movie audiences were craving a much better version of the bad-ass symbiotic villain (and anti-hero). Many years later he has reappeared in his own film, but did Hollywood get it right this time around? Read on to find out what we liked and disliked about Venom’s reappearance on the silver screen…
Disclaimer: Although a long-term fan of the character of Venom and his brethren, most of my knowledge on his background and exploits comes from TV. I’ve read some of the comics, but admittedly not much. This article is an opinion piece rather than one on historical accuracy.
What was right: Venom on-screen
The one thing that I was most happy about in the new film, was how Venom looked, moved, and sounded; it was almost exactly how I imagined that the character should be portrayed. Unlike in Spider-man 3, Venom in his own film was a huge muscular beast with slick glistening black skin and an intimidating visage. Venom moved with purpose and ferocity, unafraid to be aggressive, violent, and deadly. He was finally a creature that you could be genuinely fearful of.
In pure-symbiote form, Venom was a grotesque blob of constantly churning amorphous goo. I personally prefer the concept of the symbiote behaving more like a liquid, but that’s only a very minor niggle for me.
My only real issue with how he looked, was his lack of webbing, a power which he inherited from Spider-man. More on that later…
What was wrong: Eddie Brock
When Venom was first announced, I was immediately skeptical. Hollywood had failed to get the character right previously, and there were several red flags surrounding the project that caused concern for me. Then Tom Hardy was announced as being cast in the role of Eddie Brock. Suddenly I was a little less pessimistic as I knew that Hardy is a great actor and definitely had the capacity to brilliantly portray the character, unlike Topher Grace’s miserable attempt. Tom Hardy looked the part, had the ability, he just had to deliver.
Unfortunately, Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock was still miserable, sniveling and well, irritating. Eddie Brock is supposed to be angry at the world for forsaking him, not filled with self-pity. This is why the symbiote bonds with him so perfectly – they share an aggressive disposition (and a shared hatred of Spider-man…). Hardy’s Brock also exhibits an odd body language and manner of speaking that appears socially awkward, which mixes badly with other character traits and his pivotal role in the film. Its an odd balance which is indicative of bad directing and a lack of understanding of the character from Hardy. A real disappointment.