This week, I went to the NPH to watch Venom. I wasn’t really sure what to expect going in - the trailer made the movie seem pretty grim dark, and it didn’t really pique my interest, so I had filed it away as “probably not going to see”. But after a few of my friends went to see it and came back with mostly positive reviews and I saw some interesting posts about the movie on Tumblr, I decided to give it a go. 

Venom tells the story of Eddie Brock, an investigative journalist who tries to take down Carlton Drake, the CEO of the Life Foundation, who is using homeless people as test subjects to be hosts of symbiotes discovered in space. A confrontation with Drake early on in the film causes multiple crises in Brock’s life, but six months later, someone from the Life Foundation comes to him for help and he finds himself bonding with one of symbiotes brought back by the probe, called Venom. 

Although the film starts out quite slow, and the overall pacing of it is definitely something that could have been improved, it was an easy film to get into once the ball got rolling (around the same time Venom is introduced to us). Many of the actors did a great job in this movie, particularly Tom Hardy as both Eddie and Venom, whose fun and banter-y dynamic is the highlight of the movie and Riz Ahmed, who is very convincing as the manipulative and oily yet charming CEO Carlton Drake. Michelle Williams’ as Eddie’s ex-fiance is a nice surprise in this film - her role could have easily been relegated to the cliche and dry role of the love interest who needs saving; instead Williams gives us an interesting and likeable female character who holds her own. I also really appreciated that Annie and Eddie didn’t get back together at the end of the film like you might expect, and the narrative never once suggests that Annie is wrong for breaking things off with Eddie when he lies to her in the beginning. Their level of communication and concern for each other even when their relationship is complicated by their break up and Annie’s new boyfriend is touching to watch, and isn’t really something you typically see in an action focused movie. 

Some elements of the plot were a bit unbalanced and rushed (like the symbiotes becoming a threat and wanting to bring their whole population to Earth). I felt like the movie would have been better if it had focused more on being a dark comedy kind of film, but the characters and dynamics were engrossing enough that I could look past the plot holes and have fun with the movie. I really didn’t expect to come out of the movie rooting for Venom, but his relationship with Eddie ends up being really sweet as well as hilarious. Some of the scenes are quite graphic, but not anymore than a typical Marvel movie.

Venom isn’t a perfect movie by far, and it’s not a critically acclaimed one, but there are many elements to enjoy and it’s a movie worth checking out if you just want a light distraction or if you’re into Marvel, like I am. Like my friend said once, some movies are for fans, not for critics.