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Movie Review: Venom

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Watching the trailer for Venom hit me with a certain déjà vu. Seeing the symbiote crawling and plastering itself across the various surfaces presented in this major motion picture reminded me of the Venom from Spiderman 3, which was released almost 11 years ago. Even though the Venom from the two movies was essentially the same character, it didn’t seem repetitive. This is due to the new conflicts, dialogue, and designs in the new movie.

 

Tom Hardy, commonly affiliated with his antagonistic role as Bane from The Dark Knight Rises, plays Eddie Brock, a well-known reporter and later host for the extraterrestrial symbiotic organism Venom. Riz Ahmed, who had previously landed a role in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, plays Carlton Drake, a famous scientist and host of a symbiote known as Riot. Other supporting roles consist of Eddie’s ex-girlfriend Anne (played by Michelle Williams), Drake’s assistant Dr. Dora Skirth (played by Jenny Slate), and Anne’s boyfriend Dr. Dan Lewis (played by Reid Scott).

 

When one of Drake’s jets carrying various different samples of symbiotes crashes in the Eastern Malaysian Greenlands, one of the samples escapes. While this unfolds, the attention is redirected to San Francisco, where Eddie loses both his job and his girlfriend Anne after an unfortunate interview with Carlton Drake. Throughout the movie, we begin to learn about Drake’s motivations: he wants to retrieve symbiotes to fuse them with living things. Since he believes that the harmony between human and symbiote is essential to life, and that “the symbiote chooses the person”. Dr. Skirth offers to provide Eddie with proof of Drake’s unethical and despicable methods, that consist of experimentation on impoverished people. When Eddie roams the labs and takes pictures of glass chambers, a symbiote uses Eddie’s body as a host. The rest of the movie consists of various comedic scenes between Eddie and the symbiote ( that reveals itself to be Venom), and action-filled scenes that pack a powerful punch at the audience. The symbiote that escaped during the plane crash occupies a number of temporary hosts until it reaches its destination, Carlton Drake. This symbiote is known as Riot, and its purpose is to destroy the Earth and use it as a habitat for symbiotes to thrive in. Drake, however, is completely unaware of Riot’s motivations and believes it to be his ally. During the climax, Venom and Riot, both containing their hosts, fight, eventually leading to the destruction of Riot.

 

Although the main conflict in the movie is between Venom (Eddie) and Riot (Drake), there are smaller conflicts that are portrayed in a spectacularly humorous way. One example is the conflict between Eddie and Venom when Eddie is initially used as a host. The conflict between Riot and Drake, although seemingly insignificant, is still integral, as it is responsible for the characterization of Drake and Riot. We are shown that Drake desires to use these symbiotes to extend and enhance the lives of people. He attempts to achieve this through multiple failed experiments. Although both Drake and Riot want to bring more symbiotes into Earth, Drake wants to live in peace with the symbiotes, whereas Riot wants to seize Earth and use it as a habitat for symbiotes only. This can only be achieved of course, by killing off humans.

 

The CGI and visuals that were put together for this movie were, in my opinion, first-class. The Venom symbiote that was portrayed in Spiderman 3 seemed like a liquid substance, and it seemed fake. When comparing the new Venom with the older one, the CGI and the visual difference in the symbiote itself is obviously different. It is not that the older symbiote was created using poor CGI, but the new one was very sophisticated and realistic. Furthermore, the symbiotes seem far more realistic in Venom, as the symbiote enters the anatomy of the host, and can push a part of itself outwards, like an extra limb (this is also how Eddie communicates with Venom). By adding this effect, the production cast truly discarded the whole idea that Venom is like Spiderman. The spider suit can be taken off, but Venom depicted the symbiote as being a part of the character, living inside the character and taking control of the host’s internal organs, in addition to healing any injuries (such as when Eddie breaks his leg, but the symbiote shapes it back together within seconds).

 

Let’s move onto what made Venom such a good movie. The first and foremost thing was all the scenes where Eddie turns into Venom. The symbiote consuming him to become Venom seemed so real (even better in 3D!), attention-grabbing, and even satisfying, to see the symbiote completely cover him.

 

The comedic scenes were the best I have seen in any superhero/antihero style movie. Unlike Infinity War which was held back by a few too many comedic scenes, and the first Thor movie, that consisted of pretty much absolutely no humor at all, Venom had found the perfect balance between cheesy, funny, and serious.

 

Fights and physical conflict that took place throughout the movie were shot at an angle that made each contact seem powerful and “hyped” up the atmosphere of the cinema hall. This is well depicted during the fight between Venom and the SWAT officers, at Eddie’s old workplace. The dialogue that was in this scene was also very powerful. The balance that was created between humor and seriously was nothing short of the best I have ever witnessed. To be specific, the way Eddie nervously tries to warn the officers, who call “mask” and wear gas masks, intending to force Venom into an unconscious state. Venom, a symbiote that consists of no pores, is unaffected by the gas. Shortly after, Eddie himself calls out “mask”, with intent to mock the officers, and bonds with the symbiote to form the endosymbiotic being once more.

 

The final thing that made Venom great, was the characters that were opposite the protagonist. The reason I do not use the word “antagonist” to describe the host-symbiote relationship between Drake and Riot, is because Drake is essentially “good”. Although his methods were inexplicably cruel and unethical, he still wanted humans to survive and live to their full potential. He also wanted to live in peace and harmony with other life, especially the symbiotes, so he, therefore, fits the role of an antagonist. Someone who is not necessarily evil, but just opposes the protagonist. However, Riot is the villain. Riot wants the world in his palm, and lead the other symbiotes into their new habitat, which would ideally be eradicated of humans. The mix between these two is what produced a villain that was essentially two-sided. In the case of Venom(Eddie), one can see the host and symbiote working together, for example in Eddie’s first fight with Drake’s agents, and his escape from Drake’s lab. However, the compromise between Riot and Drake is never established. At times, the host dominates the endosymbiotic being, but at other times, it is dominated by the symbiote. This is what pushed me towards concluding, that Venom is one of the best movies I have ever watched.

 

My fellow peers have been generous enough to offer their opinions on this movie.

 

When asked about their opinions on the movie, Ms. Sunny Choi and Mr. Lorenzo Bonara both agreed that there was a perfect balance between comedy and action. Moving on, both also agreed that no other actor could have played the role of Eddie Brock better than Tom Hardy.

 

When asked about the CGI, Ms. Choi claimed that she didn’t mind the CGI and that it was OK to some extent. However, Mr. Bonara emphasized how impressive and intimidating the CGI made Eddie and Venom look.

 

Furthermore, Mr. Bonara also claimed that the one thing this movie could have avoided was the female Venom.

 

“It was kinda disappointing”, was Mr. Bonara’s opinion on this scene.

 

Ms. Choi found that the trailer was a rather lacking depiction of the movie, as it made Venom seem like a cheap knock-off horror movie.

 

Ms. Choi rated Venom 8/10, and Mr. Bonara rated it 8.5/10.

 

“Although the villains both seemed a little stereotypical at first, the conflict and Drake’s motivations are very relatable to our modern world. The unethical ways of experimentation are only becoming more and more prevalent in the future of technology, science and space travel.” – Ms. Sunny Choi

 

“My favorite scene is where the soldiers are like ‘Mask’ – ‘Copy’, and then Eddie says ‘Mask’ and Venom says ‘Copy’, and then they destroy everyone. Solid 1 vs 50.” – Mr. Lorenzo Bonara

 

Although official critics, such as Times of India’s Neal Soans and News 18’s Shantanu David claimed that Venom was a “mess of a movie” and that Tom Hardy “carried” the movie as much as he possibly could in order to prevent it from being too much of a disaster, I thought the movie was excellent. I rate it a solid 9.5 out of 10. What hindered it in my opinion, were just some little tweaks and mistakes here and there, but nothing big. My advice to you guys: WATCH IT!

 

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Movie Review: Venom