“Eddie on my planet I am kind of a loser, like you!” – Venom
I was feeling beaten up and brain dead last weekend so I grabbed a glass of wine and decided to watch Venom. I don’t know why I made this selection but it probably had to do with being too drained to have to think about something complex (I’m looking at you Christopher Nolan). Judging from the 28% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes I didn’t have high expectations that Venom would be any good. How wrong I was.
Before I talk about Venom specifically I should touch briefly on my perspective with regard to superhero movies. My first thought, there are far too many of them. Admittedly, I do typically like Marvel movies. That MCU has done a wonderful job using the superhero genre as fantastical and engaging lens on our current society. Black Panther in particular did this beautifully. But it wasn’t the only one. The DCEU has suffered by comparison to date. Mainly because I think they can’t decided what they want to be. Instead of trying to copy Marvel’s pithy and oh so socially aware but fun approach, they’ve gone a darker more dour route – with mixed results. Things seem to be looking up for the DCEU with the success of Wonder Woman and now Aquaman but they’ve stumbled quite a bit along the way. For the record, I don’t think DCEU movies are as bad as Rotten Tomatoes would lead one to believe. They suffer because they are not Marvel and this criticism is not always fair.
Into this crowded super universe blasts Venom. What I loved about this movie was that it was – for the most part – damn entertaining and legitimately funny. I certainly did not expect that from the trailer. Sure, it had a few things to say about the state of the world and mankind’s horrible treatment of our planet but it didn’t dwell too much on those points. The reason to watch Venom is to see a wonderfully fierce performer commit himself absolutely to the dual role of Eddie/Venom. When these two characters are interacting the film hums along at a frenzied, highly entertaining pace. The other subplots and supporting characters aren’t as strong but they weren’t horrible either. I doubt I would have enjoyed Venom without Tom Hardy. But then again, the same could be said of the Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor franchises.
I thoroughly enjoyed Venom. So much so that I recommended it to at least 3 other skeptical people who also liked the movie. Is it an Oscar winner? No. Will it change the world or even your life? Definitely not. Does it have a social conscience? Not really. But is it fun? Yes! I once remember an interviewer asking Tom Cruise why his Mission Impossible movies were so successful. His response – popcorn, popcorn, popcorn. Toss in a few bitten off heads and I think Venom fits this category.
Keep and open mind and reasonable expectations and you might be pleasantly surprised by Venom. I know I was.