Venom: Was it worth the wait? (spoiler-free)

Sony’s long awaited Spider-Man spin-off finally drops, but was it worth it?

I went into Venom with very low hopes. This is Sony’s first solo Spider-Man universe film since The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which was an absolutely terrible film in every way. Although it has an all-star cast, I was convinced that it was just a cheap (or rather very expensive) marketing ploy. Therefore, I wasn’t entirely thrilled by the prospect of yet another disappointing film, especially with such a beloved character. The trailers still showed even less hope, with slightly dodgy visual effects and an excessively dark tone. I was pleasantly surprised then, when Venom lived up to my expectations.

Mostly.

While the story-line is depressingly poor and some of the casting is questionable, Venom had some redeeming features. The film is slow to start, but gathers pace just before you get bored, and Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock has natural development, and by the end you are rooting for him. However, the best part of this film has to be the Venom symbiote, who gives a running commentary of Brock’s every action, sounding like a malicious God-like figure. Much to my surprise, the remarks are generally humorous, or simply just offending Brock. The visual effects are also outstanding, with the many symbiotes throughout the film moving naturally and yet completely unnaturally at the same time. Venom’s character design is one of my favourite in recent superhero films, and it is close to the comics, doing the character far more justice than Spider-Man 3 did. The fight scenes are also gripping, with Venom stomping and smashing (and occasionally biting) his way through hoardes of enemies.

However, much to my dismay, Venom has a startling amount of failings. To start, many of the other characters were far less engaging. Riz Ahmed’s performance as the antagonist Carlton Drake is exceptional, but the character’s motives are unclear and confusing, and his character has no background aside from about 3 lines of exposition clunkily dropped in by Eddie Brock. Brock’s love interest is similarly flat, with good acting by Michelle Williams, but once again a lack of background. All the other characters blend into the background after appearing once. Most notably, I managed to forget about a character who was somewhat important to the story because she had no defining traits whatsoever. As well as this, there are many themes in the film which are left untouched after one mention, possibly being saved up for a potential sequel.

Speaking of which, Sony may have been a little too optimistic to write-up 3 film contracts. Although Venom was a fun, engaging film, it wasn’t a good film. I just hope they learn from the mistakes of this film to make a successful trilogy.

Verdict: Confusing, disappointing, but extremely entertaining.

Venom is in cinemas now and stars Tom Hardy, Riz Ahmed and Michelle Williams. Directed by Ruben Fleischer

 

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