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Sunday, October 28, 2018

Venom: Entirely disconnected from the Marvel Universe


One of the most enigmatic, anti-hero characters of the marvel comics made its way to the cinema, but unfortunately failed to show viewers clearly why it deserves to have a movie of its own.

To put it bluntly, venom is a mess, annoying and entirely disconnected from the marvel universe. Hazy, jarring, noisy, it is overwhelmingly mediocre, following a monotonous screenplay, with visual and sound effects that suck!

For the entire 112 minutes running time of the film, I kept on tying the loose end of the sequences of action in my mind to make sense of the venom characterization, but as the film progresses until it reaches the end, it becomes painfully tedious.

It fails to create a solid plot and defines venom as an extreme, thunderous character. Instead, it alters the character to soften its image and turns it into a confusing anti-hero trying to appear a hero. Such a flat, flawed script.

Sony, which releases this film, never holds the rights to the Spider-man character, so Venom, which originated in the Spider-man series as Peter Parker's nemesis, must have to come on its own. The result is a senseless logic trying to recreate the villain into a superhero.

This pushes the  plot to commit too many loopholes. One is when the megalomaniac scientist, Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) blows off and venom bids goodbye to Brock. Only to reappear later when Brock talks to Anne Weying (Michelle Williams) at the steps of her apartment. And Brock, which at first dreaded the entire parasitic thing, appears to be loving the voices in his head. And even made a pact with the symbiote to kill only bad people. Such a joke time, as though the film tries to pile up so many bad ideas just to force the character to be a hero of the world. When it's not.


If not for those black monsters sporadically popping up in the scene, engaging into some dull fight scenes and crashing buildings with jarring sound effects, I would assume the movie is a loose sequence of another hilarious Tom Hardy film - This Means War.

Some scenes did not make sense. The flying motorcycle ride, the chasing of cars, the almost death of Eddie Brock when Drake thrust a spear on his body. What's the logic of that? The symbiote was already out of his system he could have died in instant before it could take control of his body again.

The only bright spot of the film is Tom Hardy's comical antics. He was really hilarious especially the gag he launched in the restaurant scene. The sticky monster invading his body seems like a bad dream poking fun at him for being broke.

This is the first attempt of a marvel-Sony collaboration to create a stand-alone film for the most enigmatic antihero in the marvel universe. And the script is trying to alter the character of this super villain monster to soften the image and makes it appealing to the viewers which betrays the very foundation of the venom characterization.

So how this "joke" started?

Well, Venom as we have seen in Spidey's past, forms when a parasitic symbiote finds a compatible host that could manifest its violent character. Because this is a dark alter-ego, it only becomes effective and compatible when the host accepts its manifestation. And the rage begins.

Through the previous Spider-man offerings, we all know that Venom's very first host was Peter Parker who turned a violent Spider-man when he donned a black suit.

Later, Parker fought hard to get rid of the symbiote due to its destructive and violent manifestations. Scrambling for its survival, the symbiote found a perfect host on Eddie Brock who was literally broke after losing his job.

In Venom, the whole symbiotes thing started when the egotistical CEO of Life Foundation, Charlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), launched a mission to the outer space in search for a habitable planet. The team returned bringing symbiotic life forms with them. However, the space craft crashed somewhere in Malaysia. While the other three species are recovered, one has escape.

Drake managed to secure the three and in a display of cruelty, which all scripts of sci-fi comics are known for, took homeless people as Guinea pigs to be experimented how these alien parasites could survive in the Earth and prevent the extinction of humans. Unfortunately, bodies of the humans he forcibly thrust to his laboratory, rejected the symbiotes.

British actor, Tom Hardy brings life to a dull movie with his comics antics
while Venom left to pick up its own mess. 

Meanwhile, Eddie Brock, an investigative reporter,  has been digging his heels to expose a scandalous project of a psychotic billionaire in the neighborhood. It's pretty much given, however that his girlfriend-lawyer, Anne Weying (Michelle Williams) works as a defense lawyer for Life Foundation which has been accused of using humans for its crazy bio-tech experiments.

When Brock breaks into Weying's computer, he found a classified information about Life Foundation, which has been taking defenseless humans for its experiments and covering up their deaths.

He went to Drake and forced him to admit the accusations. It became the catalyst of Brock's misguided fate. He was fired for breaking rules in journalism, exposing and accusing personalities without concrete evidence (he couldn't name his source because it might angered his girlfriend for breaking boundaries in the relationship. Which turns out the case anyway).

From then on, Brock becomes literally broke. He lost his job, his girlfriend, his credibility, and his life went into a limbo. Frustrations piled up on his system until Dora Skirth (Jenny Slate), one of Drake's scientists sought his help to take evidence on Drake's crazy symbiote projects.

But, well, as with most of the marvel stories, it backfired. Paving the way of venom to materialize. Pretty much like those horror films where victims have been pushed to the door to be devoured by killers.

The symbiote  transfers to Brock's body when one of the victims he tries to save attacked him. The contact proves to be a compatible element and Venom comes to life. Brock starts to notice some weird changes in his body and behavior. And starts hearing a booming voice in his head which he dreaded.

This is where things of the film become annoying. Though the intention seems good, it was flatly written. Tom Hardy might be fantastically excellent on his comic scenes and makes almost no effort to be as hilarious as possible, prompting viewers to burst into fits of laughter, but the Venom itself sucks. It could not simply settle to its character as the script is being softened to make it appear good and heroic instead of sticking to its dangerously monstrous streak and temperament extremes.

It lacks focus, jerking from one scene to another and follows an incoherent screenplay. It fails to define the character of the Venom itself. Looks like only a strip in a midnight horror film trying to appear scary. In which attempts both failed. As a result, it turns out to be a painfully boring interpretation of characters. The sound and visual effects are too mediocre, so uncharacteristic for a sci-fi film made out of a cartoon book.

Hardy nails it, yes, when it comes to his performance. He saves the film from being so entirely disastrous. His comics antics breathes a life in a dull film. So Venom sounds like an Eddie Brock film  portraying him as a regular guy trying to make sense of his misfortune by poking fun at himself.

Perhaps, due to its PG-13 rating, and the superhero norms in a movie, Venom's character has been thoroughly sanitized to portray a hero-antihero image.

Aside from biting people's head and assuring Brock they'll only kill bad people that threatens to destroy the earth, Venom is totally out of its own character. Film director, Robert Fleischer's attempt to sanitize the character by altering Venom as a hero rather than stick to its violent tendencies sounds mediocre and the way the character transcends makes the entire plot overwhelmingly tedious.The fight scenes with a loose symbiote that manifests the cruelty of Drake did not help.

It lacks focus and the plot just jump from one idea to another without a clear definition of the venom's character, making this entire film visually and logically incoherent. It was as if the director changes his mind towards the end of the script by revising only half of the plot to suit up some commercial intentions instead of respecting the flow of logic. Sucks! The only bright spot that makes the film interesting is Tom Hardy's comical scenes.

Perhaps, Sony is trying to show a film on a more psychological level of defining one's character and not bringing a marvel antihero into a film franchise. That human beings have venoms within themselves and its manifestations will depend on the host's current state of mind.

If the host breeds anger and violence, the venom deep within becomes destructive and murderous without compaction. If the host chooses good intentions and has a pure heart, the venom channels a superhero manifestation. Which really makes the film totally out of character.

The post-credits shows Eddie Brock back on his job and his very first assignment is to visit a serial killer in jail, Cletus Kasady, host of another symbiote villain in Spiderman, Carnage. Kasady appears to be promising Brock of more killing spree if he will be freed. Urggh!

A bad joke. As though the epilogue is trying to show us some "this means war" idea. That another venom installment is on the way. And Eddie Brock's venom will have to face another bad energy symbiote in the next chapter. And we all know where it leads us. Sulk!

But for people who never actually look on technical merits of the film and less critical on the plot and screenplay, perhaps they will find it entertaining and hilarious. But for movie goers who are particular on the flow of a well-written script, Venom sucks. It's nothing but a futile attempt to make the film appealing to set a stage for more installments. Oh God!

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authorI am a blogger from the Philippines. My interest centers on travel and food, global affairs, European royals and self-help. I've a great passion in traveling and photography. I am also a book author with five published books in Amazon.
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