One of The Greats

Recently the world lost one of the greatest creators of all time. The irreplaceable Stan Lee, whose legacy will continue to shape the face of film and entertainment. He is leaving behind an arsenal of world-class characters and developing storylines. If you have managed to get yourself out to the cinema in the last decade then the chances are you have either gazed upon the Marvel logo or in fact, watched the man himself bless our screens in one of his iconic cameo roles. The most recent addition to the storm that is Marvel studios is Venom, the penultimate Marvel film during Stan’s lifetime. Making it seem all that more appropriate given it was the last film I watched before his passing. For the record, he also has a cameo in this one, and whilst re-watching I would be lying if I didn’t say a few tears came out. 

Where It Begins 

enom focuses on the character Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), an investigative reporter whose reputation alludes him as being someone who is known for always getting the story, no matter the obstacles or issues in his way. In the film he is set by his seniors to go and report a fluff piece on the infamous Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), sure send the highly sought after and respected investigative journalist to do some fluff piece of a notorious scientific business owner, what could go wrong? Of course, everything did. Eddie pries Carlton on the wrongful death lawsuits and Eddies career is instantly terminated, he loses his job, his apartment, his girlfriend Anne Weying (Michelle Williams) and everything he held dear.

Oh, and to top it off the poor guy gets infected by an alien parasite called Venom that can eat ahead so cleanly off a person’s shoulders you could quite easily eat dinner off the corpse. Who knew you could take a head off that clean, no mess, no hassle. 

Why Restrict It?

This film quite clearly suffers from the heavy restraints that come with trying to cater for a PG-13 rating. Whilst watching I kept feeling the build of tension that would normally be met with an ultraviolent scene or wheel of consecutive swear words, which was not the case. I understand the appeal to make the film more family friendly… unless the film focuses on an alien that chews people’s heads off and threatens to rip their limbs off transforming them into a “turd in the wind”.

This is a film in my eyes that should have been given access to a more freeing age restriction. After all it is a superhero movie about a non-conventional superhero. I am just in a state of confusion as to why the studio has allowed the teasing of a scary looking main character, with untold power and desire for destruction. That enjoys causing havoc on the streets and feasts on the heads and body parts of its victims. Why restrict such potential to a PG-13, leaving me to wonder what else has been tamed and cut from the film in order to meet the requirements of a PG-13 film. 

Where’s The Rest of The Film?

A huge criticism I have towards this film is that you can actually tell there has been some serious cutting down and tweaking going on here, sadly not in a good way. The main focus and ultimately key to this film is the relationship between Eddie and Venom, how they progress as one, creating a functional relationship that is mutually beneficial. Something that is slow to achieve but creates a bond between the characters on the screen and those in the seats watching it.

However, in this film the transition between hatred and mutual acceptance occurred too quickly. Like a meaty detailed chunk had been removed from the middle of the plot. It honestly felt like one minute they were battling their feels of accepting one another and the next as if a switch had been turned on they are willing to sacrifice their life for the other. Too drastic for my liking. Even Tom Hardy in an interview admitted that 40 minutes of his favourite scenes were cut from the final rendition of the film. During the film, I had the feeling something was missing, it just didn’t flow as well as It should, leaving me second guessing whether or not I have missed something. So, I feel as though perhaps this missing 40 minutes might be content heavy on the developing relationship between Eddie and Venom seeing as that’s where context seems to be missing the most. 

Tom Hardy Made It

I am by no means stating that this film is a bad one, personally I loved it. Tom Hardy as per usual is incredible in his lead role. He displays so much genuinely awkward glee and feels into Eddie as a character that It’s easy to feel invested. Even more so when the giant sentient oil slick badass Venom inhabits him. Surprisingly I also enjoyed the villain in the film, even though he is portrayed as a stereotypical 80’s billionaire that we have seen many times before, in various superhero films.

The actors featured in this film are great and deliver some tremendous performances across the board, even given what they have to work with, which isn’t a lot. It pains me to see such talent invest and commit to roles which are great and offer so much potential yet capped and restricted in a watered-down plot. Again, reverting back to my point being this film should have and deserved to be a more freeing age restriction. 

Fast Paced, Great Placement 

The action sequences in this film work tremendously well, creating just the right amount of anticipation paired with exceptional camera work. The chase scene between Venom/Eddie and hired goons through the streets of San Francisco really helps excel our knowledge on just how well these two work together. Dipping, drifting and flying round corners and through busy streets. Oh, and the placement of the snippets of slow motion shots are priceless, taking the movie to another level. 

Overall Thoughts And Feelings 

Now, please don’t take what I have written above as me hinting that Venom is a bad film, it isn’t. It isn’t awful nor is it amazing. It’s a disappointing movie, it’s a movie that generated huge hype for the past year allowing us to believe it was going to offer a completely unique spin and look at Venom as a character. Which in a way it did, with some elements of good. However, it was massively drowned out by half-arsed writing that doesn’t take advantage of the raw materials it has available with a project like this.

It may sound hypercritical of me but it is a film I could easily watch over and over again. I’m just confused as to why the studio allowed such potential to be squandered by restricting it to PG-13 as well as cutting out footage that may have allowed for a better flow of events. I’m bitter in the sense my expectations for this film were short lived and I left the cinema wondering, is that it?

Upon finishing the film, as per usual, we were met with a very intriguing closing scene. The clip is a clear indication and setup for a sequel, in which I am praying it to be R rated given what they are hinting towards. Venom is definitely a must watch film this year, just take into account if you are obsessed with films and marvel in general you may find yourself like me, slightly disappointed. 

Let me know what you think. 

Hope you enjoy, 

Life Of Sandy. 


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