‘Venom’ leaves audiences poisoned


Sony Pictures

Tom Hardy transforms into a malicious alien who attempts to take over the world in ‘Venom.’

Molly Donaldson, Staff Writer

Venom: The poor man’s Spider-Man.

Venom, infamously known as one of Spider-Man’s archenemies, received his own spinoff film in which his original storyline is abandoned and replaced with a Silicon Valley-take on the alien apocalypse.

‘Venom’ takes place in modern-day San Francisco and follows the parasitical-turned-symbiotic relationship of the alien Venom and ex-broadcast journalist Eddie Brock. Brock was fired for asking high-tech company CEO Carlton Drake one too many questions about his company’s ethical decisions.

Venom takes host in Brock’s body and gives him superhuman yet murderous abilities. Venom’s role as a character is uncertain; however, he forces Brock to switch from protagonist to antagonist, then back to protagonist without any real rhyme or reason.

Brock eventually manages to tame the murderous urges of Venom and accepts that he, too, is the hero.

Another plotline follows the plight of Drake, a sociopathic astro-biologist desperately trying to find a way to combine aliens and humans into a singular life form. After many failed attempts to combine the globulous creatures with unsuspecting human volunteers, Drake eventually hosts a parasite himself and becomes Riot, a larger and surprisingly more villainous creature than Venom.

The special effect creators had their work cut out for them during the final battle, when Venom has a change of heart and decides to stop Riot from taking over Earth. It became unnecessarily difficult to tell which monster was which after Venom and Riot made physical contact, when all four characters became a chaotic web of mass. Venom eventually vanquishes Riot, but not without the temporary death of Brock, who is saved by Venom.

Though it is implied that Venom, in addition to Drake and Riot, died, he instead remains in Brock’s body and the two set off on new adventures. Ending the movie on a horrifying note, Brock compromises with Venom and allows him to continue to eat people, something Venom enjoyed doing throughout the movie, so long as the people are cruel. 

‘Venom’ lacked the typical banter of a Marvel film and instead replaced it with the grotesque villain of a horror film. Designers went too far in the creation of Venom, ensuring that the image of the off-brand Jack Skellington will never leave viewers’ minds.

The producers clearly struggled with reflecting the reality of San Francisco. They included several high-speed chases through its streets, yet anyone who has driven through the city at night knows that it is nearly impossible to navigate the one-way and traffic-ridden streets without immediately crashing.

Additionally, after being evicted from his fiancé’s house, Brock immediately finds a new apartment. This is something nearly impossible to do in San Francisco in its current economic climate.

The cast of ‘Venom’ features very few notable faces. The exceptions are Tom Hardy and Michelle Williams, who play Venom and his ex-fiancée respectively.

Hardy, best known for his roles in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ and ‘The Revenant,’ does a worthy job of embodying the helpless yet resilient character of Brock. Hardy, however, who was born in the outskirts of London, struggles to maintain Brock’s loose New York accent and often allows his native British tongue to slip in.

Williams, Golden Globe recipient and four-time Academy Award nominee, portrays Brock’s ex-fiancée, Anne Weying, a lawyer who breaks up with him after she, too, is fired for Brock’s lack of journalistic integrity. Neither Venom nor Weying grows significantly and the movie ends leaving viewers more scarred and afraid than satisfied.

And, despite gaining the No. 1 box office spot in the world, ‘Venom’ received a meager 31 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Venom might be the subject of nightmares, but missing ‘Venom’ is nothing to lose sleep over.