REVIEW: ‘Venom’ is a box office parasite

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Photo illustration by Hannah Greer.

This review was written by Caleb Compton, graduate student in computer science.

“Venom” is a film with a long and difficult path to the screen. Sony Pictures has been trying to make a stand-alone Venom movie for over a decade. When they finally teamed up with Marvel Studios to make “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” it seemed like the time was finally right.

However, ever since this movie was announced it has been shrouded in confusion. Was “Venom” going to be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? What connections would it have with Spider-Man? Even now, there doesn’t appear to be a clear answer.

As far as I can tell, Marvel does not consider “Venom” to be a part of the MCU, but Sony does and is even considering a Spider-Man crossover in the future. From watching the movie, I couldn’t find anything that definitively connected “Venom” to the MCU, so for the purposes of this review I will consider it to be in its own universe.

Why am I spending so much time talking about the background of this film? Because I believe if you watch a movie, you should have some idea what you are getting into.

If you expected this film to be Marvel taking over the reigns of yet another iconic character, prepare to be disappointed. This film has nothing to do with the MCU, and very little to do with the original Venom comics. Does that necessarily make it a bad film? No. Is it a bad film? Yes, for reasons that I will get into shortly.

Let’s start off with the main character of the film: Eddie Brock, played by Tom Hardy. When I heard that Tom Hardy was going to play the role of Venom, I thought it was a great choice. While he probably wouldn’t have been my first choice, he seemed like a good pick.

Giving credit where credit is due, I can tell Hardy is trying his best to put in a good performance. Unfortunately, the writing of the film is not doing him any favors. His character comes off as whiny and pathetic. There really isn’t anything about the character that draws the audience in, and most of the time he was on screen I felt myself waiting for Venom to take over.

Most of the other characters are just as bad. Carlton Drake, the primary villain, is forgettable. He doesn’t really seem to have a master plan, and his actions don’t make much sense. He is evil for the sake of being evil, with no real explanation.

Eddie’s love interest in the film, portrayed by Michelle Williams, is also forgettable. She doesn’t do much and the chemistry between her and Hardy’s character isn’t believable.

Finally, the plot of the film is difficult to follow. There are numerous plot holes, character motivations changing with no explanation and off-screen events that make no sense if you think about them for two seconds.

This isn’t to say that the film is all bad. Venom himself is actually pretty fun to watch. Most of his humor lands, and his unapologetically dark and twisted personality can be very entertaining.

For some viewers, the lack of connection to previous films could be refreshing. These days it is rare to see a superhero film that isn’t connected to some larger cinematic universe, and it can be nice to see a movie without having to worry being lost in unknown plot lines.

In my eyes, these elements of the film are unfortunately not enough to save it. Perhaps if this film had come out 10 years ago I would feel differently, but now we have higher expectations.

With characters like Thanos and Killmonger, bland villains just don’t cut it anymore. Films such as “Iron Man” and “Deadpool” show that you can have a convincing romance in a hero film, and Marvel’s own Netflix series such as “Daredevil” and “The Punisher” show that you can have a hero who is dark but still relatable. This film does not succeed on any of these levels, and is not worth your time or money.

Caleb Compton is a graduate student in computer science. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

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