by Gelinda Allen
The first installment in the Sony’s Marvel Universe is the Spider-Man spin-off, Venom. The character made its cinematic debut in the 2007 film Spider-Man 3 starring Tobey Maguire as our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. In this iteration, Venom bonds with Peter Parker, greatly enhancing his powers and eventually seducing him to a darker side.
The film opens with the tragic crash landing of one of Drake’s Life Foundation spacecrafts. There is one sole survivor or so the paramedics thought. During transport of the survivor, we discover that he is indeed not alone. Intro an amorphous extraterrestrial symbiote resembling the Blob. The creature awakes to the horror of the paramedics and transfers itself from the body of the injured man to a paramedic and proceeds on an unknown object to the city.
Meanwhile, Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), a hard nose, on the ground investigative reporter. His stories focus on justice and equality for the underbelly of society. When tasked with conducting a non-invasive interview with billionaire and bioengineering genius Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), Eddie decides to take advantage of his fiancé’s access to legal files implicating Carlton in the wrongful death of a space flight crew involved in one of his programs. Bad move. This decision inevitably causes him to lose his job, fiancé and credibility in the world of news media.
Now, with no job, bills piling up and forced to live in an efficiency with an obnoxious neighbor that likes to play his guitar loudly in the middle of the night. Eddie attempts to reconnect with his fiancé are coldly shut down. He is presented with an opportunity to pursue a lead from a scientist within the Life Foundation regarding immoral and unethical practices on human test subjects. At first, he is gun-shy about taking the assignment as his life was ruined by Drake and he wanted nothing to do with him or his business. After giving it some thought, Eddie decides what the hell and follows-up on the lead to investigate the allegation. What happens next is the stuff comic books are made of.
Venom is a great action film to start the Fall season and a good introduction to the Sony Marvel Universe. It is a fun ride along with Eddie and his new-found symbiotic friend…or is it foe? The story evenly follows their violent introduction, reluctant dependency on one another and eventual kinship. As their internal battle with one another comes to a head, the realization of a greater battle reveals itself to the unlikely anti-hero duo. As with Deadpool, Venom is not your typical hero flying in to save the day. These two struggle not just with one another but also with how to move forward for their own survival and eventually that of mankind. The chemistry between Tom and the symbiote is addictive leaving you wanting more in this unlikely pair.
The actors were well cast. I thought that Tom Hardy was a good choice as Eddie Brock and he portrayed a believable anti-hero figure. The fight choreography throughout the film is impressive and the graphics impeccable. There was no lackluster CGI work here. Venom’s movements were fluid and life like. The story was plausible with few bumps in the road and looks to tie into the next installment possibly featuring other symbiotes from the crashed spacecraft.
Overall, I enjoyed the film and look forward to seeing more of this pair in future films.