Venom took me in a couple directions I wasn’t expecting as I planned this review in my head. In what was initially a planned piece about the opposite of positive hype for a film - in which there would be discussion on how negative reviews had set up for a hilariously bad film that in reality didn’t deliver - soon had to be scrapped the moment Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock comes into real contact with the titular Venom.
The criticisms you may have heard are all correct. It feels like a superhero movie from 15 years ago. The effects - especially the symbiote sans human host - look goddamn 90s garbage. Tom Hardy once again showcases how tone-imperfect he is with a performance all over the shop.
What you might have also seen however is also true: The film is fun. In all the ways it doesn’t intend to be. Venom is so hilarious and so unintentionally brilliant that it’s hard to despise. While a good first third of the film is full of boring setup, once we get to the meat of the film (if you can even call it that) you find it’s just…stupid entertainment.
Let it be known that Venom still isn’t good, by any degree. It’s a sin on the eyes and everything makes you wonder what the fuck is going on. Whenever Venom and Eddie interact, however, is gold. It made myself go “What *IS* this movie?!” every. Single. Time. It made me want a buddy cop movie between the two. It made me want a romcom where Venom tries to help Eddie get back the girl. It made me want Venom being rehabilitated to the world of humans for an entire feature runtime.
Basically, it made me want any movie other than this.
There’s something about a good bad film. Venom could have easily been another Suicide Squad. It could have easily been bland and forgettable like Fan4stic and…some other movie…But maybe Venom just knew the trainwreck it was becoming and leaned hard into that. I highly doubt there’s a good cut or a serious cut out there (#releasethehardycut) but the 2/3 of the film that’s hammy, hot trash has Hardy piloting a film right into the sun and I am there for it.
Maybe Ruben Fleisher also thought this. Where he could have gone forgettable once again like Gangster Squad or 30 Minutes or Less again, he instead went Zombieland. It’s still gonna be forgettable, but goddamn I can’t say I had a bad time at the movies.
Venom is a product of a different time with a different aptitude. It’s recommended on pure funny hate watching alone, because you’re not gonna get anything else.
But did you expect anything good in the first place?
Still worth the trip because it’s the best comedy out in weeks,