Ruben Fleischer makes his directorial introduction into the Marvel universe with Venom; an action-packed, sci-fi thriller but also brings his trademark comic tinge into the mix. With so many avenues already explored in the genre, the audience has been wondering if this new entrant could live up to the expectations.
Well, in my opinion, it could have been a lot better.
Being an avid follower of the genre, I had similar qualms. I have to confess that all my fears seemed to come true as the film introduced itself. There was an air of recurrence in the initial phases of the film. The plot seemed quite predictable and there seemed to be a void that could not be filled throughout the film.
The film follows a righteous, driven and successful journalist, Eddie Brock, whose life has everything a sane human needs. That’s before it all falls apart when one of his interviews goes awry, landing him in hot water. It all arises from an experimental space odyssey gone wrong, which brings some uninvited malevolent aliens to the earth. Eddie Brock acquires the role of a protagonist as he unexpectedly encounters one of the members of the alien species and develops a parasitic relationship with it.
Tom Hardy does a superb job of portraying a role that was very dissimilar from his usual characters. He is the only shining beacon in the otherwise incompatible cast. Jenny Slate didn’t really fit her character, and there was no obvious chemistry between Anne Weying, the female lead played by Michelle Williams, and Eddie Brock. The rogue mastermind, Carlton Drake, played by Riz Ahmed, seemed to be too helpless with good fortune being his saviour.
Despite everything, there are a few positives about the film. The visual effects live up to the expectations and the cinematography is good. The sound effects and musical score were probably the highlights of the show. This was probably down to Ludwig Grandson who reached the standards he set for himself in doing the music for Black Panther. The film had all the resources to be a standout Marvel creation, an (anti) hero character, a backstory and, most importantly, the budget to back it all up. But there were some definite plot-holes that they were unable to fill. There was a feeling of disconnect throughout.
Coming from the director of Zombieland and Two Night Stand, Ruben Fleischer tried to retain his identity by introducing his characteristic sarcastic humour into the film. But as they say, “excess of everything is bad”. The comic sequences were too many to still justify the film as a sci-fi thriller, it just left the audience confused about what to expect. There were also some elements of the film that seemingly took inspiration from elsewhere; such as the lair of the antihero which looked like Tony Stark’s place in the Iron Man movies. Overall, the film lacked a sense of originality.
Looking at the bigger picture, the film is a one-time watch if you lower your expectations a little and want to be introduced to a character that might grow into the Marvel Universe with time. And, as a piece of friendly advice, if you do decide to watch the film stay for the post-credit sequence. It might surprise you.