PG-13 | 1h 52 min
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Stars: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Jenny Slate
Eddie Brock is a vigilante reporter who is not afraid of sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong, all in the name of getting the real story. He’ll do whatever it takes to uncover the truth. Today’s story is to find out what dark secrets are being covered up at the Life Foundation run by Carlton Drake. Drake is a 35-year-old genius, billionaire, philanthropist and inventor who is trying to solve the global overpopulation issue. His solution: find a way to move people off-world, and what better way to do that than to figure out how to get his newly-discovered aliens, symbiotes, to live with their human hosts without killing the human.
The story is pushed along when scientist Dora Skirth, who no longer approves of Drake’s methods, teams up with Brock to expose her boss. Symbiote Venom finds a compatible host in Brock when he breaks into the facility with Skirth’s help, looking for evidence to expose Drake, and they’ve got to figure out how to exist in harmony.
Aaron: If you’ve never heard of the Venom character from Marvel comics since his debut in 1984, you’re not alone. He’s not my favorite character, either. I knew he was a “bad guy” and fought Spider-Man often. After 30-plus years of comic book reading and collecting, I know almost nothing about Venom. That’s a good thing because I wasn’t burdened with disappointment when they stray in this rendition from the original, as I expect they did. I assumed this was going to be as the trailer depicts with Eddie trying to rein in the evil alien, Venom, who just wants to destroy everything.
Elaine: Yes, boys and girls, we learned once again that movie trailers can be misleading and even lie. The plot is not at all what I expected based on the trailer and my only other experience with the Venom character: the 2007 Tobey Maguire version of Spider-Man 3. I will admit, though, that I liked this twist of the two characters, Venom and Brock, learning to not only coexist but also cooperate and even enjoy one another as they compromise their overall objectives in life.
A: Although this is a Marvel movie, I loved that it isn’t connected to anything else already established. I very much enjoyed this small cast of characters dealing with their own issues devoid of Thanos and Civil Wars and a hundred other people. The Stan Lee traditional cameo is the only connection.
E: I agree, this had a very different feel from the previous 10 years of Marvel movies, and I truly enjoyed the characters and found myself wishing to see more of them like you would sit down to binge-watch your favorite sitcom. Very likable and relatable characters, in my opinion.
A: The symbiotes are an alien race that are devourers of life. They consume the human host and move on to the next. Venom, being the outcast of his race, decides he likes humans, especially Eddie Brock. The movie felt a little heavy for the first half, but once Venom decided he was staying and liked Eddie, the real fun began. The humor and timing were perfect.
E: Yes! The balance of humor, adventure and character development was a lot of fun for me. And the special effects were impressive!
A: The actors played their characters very well. Tom Hardy played both Eddie Brock and the voice of Venom. Michelle Williams was just charming, and I kept waiting for her to break out in song as she does in The Greatest Showman. But, watching Jenny Slate as a scientist, all I could hear was “MONEY PLEASE” from Parks and Recreation. One of my favorite characters!
E: Oh, wow, I didn’t realize Tom Hardy did Venom’s voice! See, you learn something new every day! I’m not as familiar with Tom Hardy’s work, but this performance was memorable for me. I’m definitely a fan of Williams and Slate! I, too, kept halfway expecting a song-and-dance routine from Williams and just couldn’t get over the complete transformation of Slate as the smart scientist in comparison to her over-the-top Mona-Lisa character! Just fun to watch!
A: It has some minor issues, but overall I was surprised at how much I really enjoyed this movie.
E: Agreed, there were just a couple of minor issues that annoyed me a little bit, but I found this film to be very entertaining, a little unexpected, and it left me wanting more. It’s left wide open for a sequel, and there are talks online that Sony will, in fact, merge with the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) … so maybe we’ll see a little interaction between the Toms Hardy and Holland in the near future!
True to the Marvel tradition, there is some extra footage after the credits, so if you’re able to get to one of the few theaters still playing this, or when you purchase the Blu-ray, be sure to stick around/fast-forward. Although, it’s not the normal post-credit reel – fair warning!
My final standard for whether or not a movie is really good is my decision to add it to my movie collection at home. This one is going to be a purchase, for sure, and we will be watching it again! Enjoy!