Venom (2018) — Spider-Man’s famous foe gets his own headlining adventure

“Eyes, lungs, pancreas. So many snacks, so little time.”

Justin’s rating: Let’s get a Venom vs. Aliens movie going, yeah?

Justin’s review: Spider-Man’s rogues gallery got a major addition in 1988 when journalist Eddie Brock became infected with an inky alien symbiote named Venom. The character became insanely popular, spawning a second hit villain (Carnage) and dominating several of the Spidey storylines in the ’90s. Sony infamously demanded that Sam Raimi squish Venom into his already-crowded Spider-Man 3 in 2007, which ended up a waste of the character.

But you can’t keep a good symbiote down, and a decade later, Venom got his own headlining flick without that pesky wall-crawler. Personally, I felt the absence of Spider-Man keenly here — I kept thinking about how cool it would be to see Tom Holland and Tom Hardy face off — but the extra time gives the movie space to explore this bizarre anti-hero.

Eddie Brock (Hardy) becomes a disgraced reporter after he betrays his fiancé and attempts to expose the sinister dealings of Evil Incorporated (or whatever it’s called). Soon enough, he even gets infected by predatory goo from another world and finds that he’s got to make peace with his new body roommate.

The alien symbiote is nothing but a world-conquering murderer, but by fusing together with the moralistic Eddie, the two have to figure out how to find a balance. The answer is becoming a dark antihero that may bite off a head or two, but it’s always the truly bad guys. Venom sees a likeminded “loser” in Eddie that makes him want to fight for Earth, not against it.

While it takes a while to get going, Venom shines in its second hour with a whole lot of humor and action. The rumbling bass of Venom and the frantic and scared Eddie go back-and-forth over various topics as Evil Incorporated chases him for their own nefarious purposes.

I’m not really sure about this growing trend of superhero villains getting their own movies, but at least Venom takes steps to redirect a bad guy away from planetary conquest to something a little more productive.

Didja notice?

  • That’s a terribly unrealistic spacecraft at a terribly unrealistic re-entry vector
  • Wearing helmets at weddings is “hot”
  • The comic book panel montage
  • Venom does not mess around when he wants to eat eels in peace
  • Laboratory security guards really love their dune buggies
  • Bad guys have laser drones. Sure.
  • Nobody notices a dog in a hospital, I guess

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