Sony Pictures’ “Venom,” released Oct. 5, offers an interesting take on the iconic Spider-Man villain but falls into the trap of becoming a generic action film.
“Venom” follows the story of Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), an investigative reporter who stumbles onto a series of experiments by the Life Foundation, a company attempting to colonize outer space. This revelation becomes dangerous for him however, as he soon realizes he has the power of the symbiote, an extraterrestrial parasite that grants the host superhuman abilities, to aid him.
The symbiote made its first appearance in the comic book “Amazing Spider-Man” #252 (1984). During this comic, the symbiote made Spider-Man its first host, later attaching itself to Brock, who would become known as Venom. This origin was first adapted in Sam Raimi’s 2007 film, “Spider-Man 3.”
However, the origin of Venom played out differently in this film compared to the original comic. Spider-Man isn’t referenced at all throughout the movie, requiring Eddie Brock to fuse with the symbiote through alternate means. Despite this major change, it didn’t feel like a necessary part of Venom’s origin was missing from the movie.
The first act of “Venom” sets up action for later scenes, showing Eddie Brock confronting Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), the CEO of the Life Foundation, and uncovering the morally questionable experiments taking place at the company. It isn’t until the second act that viewers see the action pickup.
The relationship that develops between Eddie and the Venom symbiote is humorous and endearing. Despite coming from a dark origin in the comics, “Venom” is able to inject genuinely funny moments to an otherwise dark movie.
The over-the-top and brutal action sequences in “Venom” hold the interest of the viewer. Although Venom is portrayed as an anti-hero in this movie, his frightening and maniacal nature is still prevalent during encounters with hostile opposition. Action-packed scenes are true to Venom’s character and mesh well with what audiences would expect from his movie iteration.
Although the action and characterizations in “Venom” are spot on, the movie still has faults. During the second act, the movie devolved into a string of action sequences with comedy interjected in-between, making some scenes play out like a generic action movie with a superhero theme. This became evident during the second act’s opening chase scene chase scene. After the chase scene concludes, a dark humored dialogue between Brock and Venom serves as the transition to a fight scene.
Other successful movies such as “Thor: Ragnarok” (2017) similar to “Venom” made the distinction between important, character developing moments and comedic action sequences ― something “Venom” fails to do.
Although “Venom” appropriately adds comedy to enhance the tone of the scene, emotional moments without a comedic overlay are spread thinly after the second act. It becomes difficult for viewers to separate the emotions they’re supposed to feel during certain scenes from the humor underneath.
Despite its flaws, “Venom” is a faithful adaptation of the popular symbiote and tells a unique story which doesn’t require knowledge from past movies to understand. Venom is currently in theaters nationwide.