Review: Venom [2018]

a review by the Azure-Winged Magpie.

WARNING: This review contains MAGPIE-CHATTER!

I hate this preview picture. Looks like a kid made it.

Hello-hello and chatter-chatter every-bady! How’ve you lot been? It’s been a while since I talked to you lot!

And hoo boy! Auntie Magpie’s got a lot to chatter about! ’cause guess what month it is?! Thaaat‘s right! IT’S OCTOBER! And you know what that means…

Imma bring the spooks and the dooks and all sorts of things that go bump in the night! (Well, maybe not all of them, some of those are… er… reserved…) BECAUSE IT’S HORROR MONTH! 

And look at lucky you! We’re going a post a day all of a sudden! You know you’re lucky when we’re firing both barrels into the internet!

That dopey old Crow’s gone and kicked us off already with two early disappointments in The Nun and The Predator (it counts!) But only I get to bring the real creepy crawlies out. And what adorable little creepy crawly am I bringing out of the shadows tonight, while you humans think you’re all safe and tucked into bed?

Only this guy:

(ಠ ◡ !

VENOM. One of my all-time FAVOURITE villains/anti-heroes from Marvel comics! He looks cool. He sounds cool (like the idea). And he ain’t exactly bunnies and roses. And WHAT’STHIS?! Tom Hardy‘s playing him?! Hnng! Sell me this film, you sneaky Fox! Sell it to me so that I can have it ALL to myself! Boy does Venom look cool in the promo pictures. He’s big and fierce and hungry and let’s take a look at this film without looking at any trailers or whatnot, I bet I’m going… to… oh.
…oh.

Magpie-dammit. Let’s just get this over with. Imma try and make this quick and painless. (Hang on, let me go grab my bucket…)

(◔ _ ◔) here we go again…


Need… more… fibre…!

Like A Turd In The Wind

WARNING: This section contains a SMALL BUNCHA spoilers.

So, the Life Foundation (the “Big LF”) is poking about space looking for new planets for humans to ruin. While they’re doing this, they find this comet which has all these creepy crawlies on it and take samples to bring back to Earth (you know none of these science-folk ain’t never done watched a horror film before).

On the way back, one of the creepy crawlies decides to leg it (or… slime it) and ends up making the spacecraft crash in Malaysia, SE Asia (hey! Don’t go around ruining that mie goreng place I liked!).

The Big LF brings the three samples left behind back with them to San Fran, and figure out that these creepy crawlies need hosts that breathe oxygen to stay alive. So, he does what anyone would do and starts chucking people into the room with the crawlies to see if they’ll make nice, warm, fleshy breathing bags. And… you guessed it! People end up ded. Like… very ded.

Now there’s this guy called Eddie Bwock. Eddie’s a journalist. It’s Tom Hardy(!) doing his best Elmer Fudd impersonation. He goes through his GF’s things (dick!) and finds out all about the Big LF’s little “experiments”. And just like every journo ever on film… he does stuck his nose in where it don’t belong. And BAM! He’s single. And he’s unemployed.

A few months go by, and Eddie meets this chick Dora (the Explorer!), who’s working for the head honcho of the Big LF. She gives him all these juicy tidbits about the Big LF’s experiments. They break into the Big LF’s “special lab” and one thing leads to another, and Eddie’s got mercs at his door after some spooky-dooky stuff goes down in the lab.

But Eddie’s not alone. No no no. He’s got a new “friend” to help him out…

So let’s get to what I liked. Venom (the character) himself looks pretty rad. So that’s one tickmark.They managed to have a Venom who doesn’t really follow the Spider-man look without changing too much about how the character is all fashioned-up. So that’s cool.

And we do get some characters straight from the comics, too! We get John Jameson (Chris O’Hara) and Anne Weying (Michelle Williams). And anyone who knows anything about the comics is gonna know who the GF is right from the second her name pops up. It’s kinda a spoiler just on its own. There are a few other characters from the comics, but I’m gonna leave them out for now, since that’d be giving too much away.

Also! Also! The Venom vs “Eddie Bwock” scenes are actually really, really good. It’s mad fun to watch the two bicker with each other like an old married couple who’ve just gotten back together after a break-up, even though their… “relationship” ain’t nothing like that. Venom’s a pretty cool guy, we find out. He’s kinda like an excited little puppy who wants to spill some blood and guts all over the place. I could get along with this guy, y’know? He’s cool. He also seems to like biting things. I can get behind that.

And when they meet, Eddie turns out to be not-such-a-tough-guy after all, and he’s always getting scared by how tough Venom is and the things Venom wants to do.

But here’s the thing: we don’t get enough of it.

Apart from Venom looking cool and some stuff to do with Weying, we don’t really get much of the fun stuff. I mean, sure Venom himself gets some cool animations and it’s fun getting used to how our space creepy-crawly gets things done, but once you get used to it, and Eddie and Venom stop bickering so much, and the story starts going full-tilt action film, there’s nothing much to see any more.

(Just to mention it: the scenes with the little girl and the dog are pretty cool, too, even though they’re a bit blink-and-you’ll-miss-it.)

You’ve got Venom, right? VENOM.

This guy tears people to shreds. (To shreds, you say? Yup. TO FUCKING SHREDS!) And what do we get?! The same old action bang-bang boom-boom we’ve seen a billion times before. It’s just not creative, in a film where THEY COULD HAVE BEEN CREATIVE. There are so many scenes where you begin to think ‘Oh, it’d be really cool if Venom did this‘ or ‘Oh, it’d be really cool if Venom did that‘, and they just don’t pay off.

WHY didn’t we get to watch Venom biting MORE people’s heads off?! WHY didn’t we get to watch him deliver on turning MORE people into headless, limbless “turd”s?! WHY IS THIS FLICK MADE FOR CHILDREN?!

And one more thing… why is everything so hard to SEE?! Apart from a few scenes with good lighting, we mostly get to watch our lovely adorable head-bitey creepy-crawly spill around at night. And seeing how he looks like a heap of tar at the best of times… maybe being a little more clever with the camerawork and the CGI or whatever might have helped the film explain WTF is going on a little bit better?

Oh right. I forgot something. They’re trying to hide most of what’s hitting the fan because they couldn’t be arsed to spend too much on the CGI. Better to just make everything hard to see. When we get to see the other symbiote, which isn’t as tar as Venom, we get to see just how little these folks wanted to spend on the CGI. Riot (“what we would call a ‘Team Leader’!“) just looks… well, like a noughties’ game character.

There’s a fight near the end which is teased in the trailers which just looks like BP went and pissed all over the Gulf of Mexico all again, picked some of that slicky-icky oily water up and splashed it onto the negatives. The whole fight’s just two dudes duking it out like we’ve seen so many times before. Stabbings, punchings, some symbiote powers, but nothing that should get anyone’s gears going. And it’s all over a spaceship.

See… the symbiotes want to invade us …sigh. And that’s the main story.

Can EVERYONE in the ENTIRE Magpie-damned UNIVERSE stop trying to invade us?! Plz? …k?! thxbai!

So the comet’s like an invasion ship and somehow they’ve gone and missed Earth or something, so Riot/Drake (Driot?) have to go up in a spaceship and bring ’em on down to Earth so that they can start bonding with humans for some delicious human nom noms.

Side note: Humans ain’t all that tasty. I would… um… know.

So yeah, Venom and Riot get into a fight over this spaceship and this invasion gone wrong. That’s our third act right there.

I liked the scenes between Eddie and Venom while they’re heading into the last fight. Venom letting Eddie know that he’s a loser, too (on his planet). But he likes all this power he gets on Earth. And he likes Eddie. And Eddie’s begun to like his new powers, too. So… what does Venom go and do? Oh. Just betray his entire species so that he can stay on Earth and ‘not-be-a-loser’.

Makes perfect sense, don’t it? That’s the sorta thing a loser would do. His peeps were mean to him, so let’s just let them all starve to death and tumble through space like the rock of goop that they are.

There’s also this one scene that’s strangely… kinda… hot(?) I mean. I’m a bit confused by it. On one wing, I’m confused and yucked out. On the other wing…

(⊙◡)

Um… where was I again?

Oh right. The scenes of Eddie being hungry and absolutely wrecking everyone’s peace of mind, the scenes of him wandering around town while dealing with his “parasite”, etc. are all good fun, but the film drops the ball way too much to save itself.

AGABOOGABOO! I NEED A BETTER FILM!

Like I said, the CGI’s alright. The music’s okay, too. But the film’s just… average. It’s not horrible, but it ain’t good, neither. It’s like the execs got cold feet and just turned out a cookie-cutter flick to earn some bucks without thinking about the fact that they’d made plans to have a trilogy (at least) of Venom movies.

Venom deserved to be a bit darker, and a LOT more brutal. Venom really isn’t a nice dude, most of the time. And here he’s a little too funny-bunny than I liked. It’s like they just skipped the character’s “growing up” period from the comics and just straight slapped him into the story like he became afterwards. He’s NOT the Venom we want to see in a solo intro film.

I’m confused whether or not this is even a horror flick. I mean, I counted The Predator to be one, but this one feels even less like a horror film than that turd. I heard they cut out like 40 minutes of the film for the final cut, which pissed Tom Hardy off. And y’know what? I can see why he’d be pissed off, since those 40 minutes were probably the ONLY 40 minutes NOT IN THE FUCKING TRAILERS!

I mean… seriously. There are some pretty big spoilers right there in the trailers. That’s why I’m being a bit loose with my own little feathers about how much to keep under wraps.

And before I forget: the editing’s really all over the place. Just look at the opening section with the ambulance and you’ll get an idea of how they messed it up.

And because I’m such a big fan of the character, Imma take a sledgehammer to this film. I’m not really happy with what they turned out. This could’ve been SO MUCH more awesome, and they dropped it all on the floor like pieces of dead lobster. I wanted more, and the execs got in my way. It puts me in the mood to bite a few faces right off their heads…

So, to sum up…

  • Visuals: It’s alright. Needs better lighting. CGI’s alright. Editing’s a bit messy.
  • Sound: It’s k.
  • Acting: The only thing I’m totally fine with in this film. The villain seems a bit out of sorts, but everyone else does a bang on job.
  • Characters: Venom is NOT Venom as we deserved him, but he’s cool. Eddie Bwock’s “awright”. And Weying’s really good, even though she’s barely there.

I don’t really like this film, but it has it’s fun moments. It’s one of those flicks that you know isn’t good, but you have a good bit of fun with anyhows. It’s not a gorgeous trainwreck like The Room or anything, but it’s not even on the level of Black Panther (a film with similar problems, but a much better film than Venom).

It’s a kick-back-take-your-shoes-off flick that wants you to turn off your headbox. But it also tries to be a serious story (for some fucking reason). And the mix-n’-match doesn’t really work. Maybe a bit more of Eddie vs Venom would be cool, and I’d totally watch a whole film about just the two of them bickering with each other about pretty much anything (especially food).

Some of the lines don’t make sense. And Venom’s personality is just so changeable. So yeah… I’d recommend skipping this for now. Watch it if you ain’t got nothing better to do, but I wouldn’t go out just to see this film for a night out. And if you do… make sure you get some live lobster to wash all this oily, slicky alien-creepy-crawly-gloop down with.

Oh, and there is a scene slap-bang in the middle of the credits. If you do watch it, wait around for it. It’s one of the few things about this film that is actually exciting, even though it doesn’t pay off.


Final Ratings

THE CROW: NA/10

THE AZURE-WINGED MAGPIE: 2.5/10


Here’s the official poster:

 

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