Apparently, Lady Gaga fans have been going so gaga for her movie that they have taken drastic action by tweeting disparaging tweets about the Venom movie which just so happens to release on the same week as A Star is Born. This came to light when a series of identical tweets about Venom were reported. In a world of fake news and political meddling on Twitter, it’s not a surprise that is the latest tactic employed to take down a film and boost another.
It is so blatantly obvious it’s gotten to the extent only fools would actually believe them, but it did coincide with negative critical reviews including a one-star review in The Guardian (however Peter Bradshaw hands out one-star reviews like confetti to anything that isn’t in German with Finnish subtitles). Anyway, maybe because I went in with low expectations, but I left the cinema feeling the film didn’t deserve the negative reviews, and the twitter troll/bot war, that it garnered.
Venom stars Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock who after antagonising Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) loses his job (and girlfriend) at a San Fran newspaper. Six months later, Brock is approached by one of Drake’s scientists, Dora Skirth (Jenny Slate), who disagrees with Drake’s methods and reveals to Brock everything he said was true. The pair break into the Life Foundation Laboratory, but during the break in Eddie becomes infected by an alien parasite (who looks a cross between the xenomorph from Alien, the water thing The Abyss and the alien from Signs) which takes control of his life.
As I have said before, Venom was much maligned but not deservedly so as there are some positives. The most notable positive is Tom Hardy’s performance and the good interplay between Venom and Eddie. It is this interplay that brings about the film’s most amusing moments as Venom initially acts as a voice inside Eddie’s head, providing astute commentary of events around Eddie’s life. There is so much that works with Tom Hardy’s performance, and his ability to play dual roles, that it powers the film through its many flaws.
One of these flaws is the film’s flimsy writing, like why was a laboratory, conducting illegal tests, so poorly defended with a distinct lack of security cameras and an absence of guards? It does seem to suggest that the film was written in a rush as a major plot point occurred when an unauthorised person was allowed to stroll up to the lab willy nilly, completely going against the whole top-secret nature of the Life Foundation. The rushed nature of the film can also be seen in the sudden ending, and incredibly short final act where the enemy was (briefly) built up to be unstoppable yet was easily disposed of.
The film also struggles with characters outside of Eddie Brock. Michelle Williams is given a thankless role as “person who sometimes helps move the plot on” (instead of being a living breathing human being) whilst Riz Ahmed’s Carlton Drake is as boring as villains come (which is saying a lot considering he’s a villain in a Marvel related film) as he’s lumbered with motivations so often peddled in movies of similar ilk. Additionally, Venom’s changing motivations also do not hold up well to any form of scrutiny.
Perhaps the rushed nature of the film is the result of the 40 minutes cut from the film or perhaps it’s a result of numerous production issues (which would have included rewrites) but the film feels chopped up and uneven (both pace wise and tonally). Yet, despite these often-fatal flaws the film’s cheesy entertainment value is enough to sustain it for its relatively brief running time. I didn’t stay for the end credits. I really hope post credit scene malarkey stops.