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It was the Dalai Lama who said sometimes not getting what we want is a wonderful stroke of luck. That pearl of wisdom was proven this year when the world finally got what it ‘always wanted’, the Venom movie.
Well, to be honest, probably nothing but because I paid £5.00 for the pleasure of watching one of the worst superhero movies of the last decade, if not of all time, you can bet your black goo covered bottom I’m going to moan about it.
Venom is an absolute turd of a film, easily my least favourite of the year for two principle reasons. The first is the most obvious it’s not very good and the second, we’ll get to, but trust us me when I say it’s worse than just being a bad film.
For now though let’s dive into the black, sticky, scummy, mess that is Venom and discuss what makes me loathe this movie so, very, very, very, much.
The first and most basic problem I have with Venom is that the story it’s telling is frankly duller the greyest shade of grey, managing to be so boring and clichéd I felt like I’d accidentally stepped back into the early 2000s when superhero films could get away with this bullsh*t.
Seriously this movie indulges in every superhero movie trope going, like a greedy hog rooting through the mud for truffles, as such we’ve got; the convoluted origin, the love interest who can’t be with the hero because the plot says they can’t, and the typical third act comeback where the hero gets over whatever random script convenience was holding them back.
In all honesty, I think if you used a random superhero movie script generator which used bots who’d failed to graduate from bot school, but were on work experience because their bot daddy ran the script generator, they’d write a better script than the people who wrote Venom.
We should also probably address the elephant (or should that be ‘the spider’?) in the room: it’s difficult to make a Venom film without Spider-Man because the two are intrinsically linked.
Regrettably for Sony, the studio behind Venom, they don’t hold the rights to Spider-Man at the moment, having briefly lent them back to Marvel after they royally ballsed up their last attempt at a cinematic universe.
As such any attempt to tell Venom’s origin was going to have to be done without Spider-Man and would consequently have to take liberties with the source material.
Now, in theory, there’s no problem with this if you’re doing something different with the character. Take for example the Ultimate Spider-Man comics which readapted the symbiote in such a way that Peter was not a fundamental part of its origin.
However, Venom can’t make its mind up on what it wants to be because, in my opinion at least, they so clearly want to be able to retroactively work Spider-Man into the story.
As such they’ve mashed together random elements of Venom’s origin together, including some ‘iconic’ character moments, to give the appearance that you were watching a Venom film when in fact the wallcrawler’s absence means it is ‘Venom in name only’.
My big issue though is that Spidey’s absence shouldn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things, or at least it wouldn’t if the film managed to nail the character of Venom. And what really defines Eddie and the symbiote is their shared warped sense of justice.
Unfortunately, this twisted vigilantism is born from two distinct things. The first is the symbiote’s lingering affection for Spidey materialising as an innate desire to be a hero, and the second is Eddie Brock’s frustration at his perceived injustices at the world.
When you remove the Spider-element from Venom you’re going to need to play Eddie’s frustrations and anger up, but the film doesn’t do that instead it portrays Eddie as, and I quote, ‘a loser’.
And boy, oh boy, is Eddie and Tom Hardy (yeah I said it) a loser in this film. Hardy’s basically in a completely different film to everyone else, mugging and gurning his way through each scene like he’s being paid by the facial contortion.
Seriously his Eddie Brock is so hammy you could cut a slice off him and serve him with eggs, celery, pickle relish, and onion and you’d have a pretty decent ham salad.
Add to this blurry cinematography, poorly choreographed action and CGI – which is so bad I bet you didn’t even notice we replaced Riz Ahmed with Jar Jar Binks in the thumbnail – and you’ve got a hot steaming pile of a movie.
But I could forgive all this if Venom just existed on its own, in its own little universe, away from everything else. But like the symbiote itself, Venom has its sticky tentacles wrapped around another cinematic franchise, Spider-Man.
Right now the rights to Spider-Man sit with Marvel Studios, thanks to a deal between Sony and Disney, which means the Webhead can appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Unfortunately, this deal comes to an end after the third solo Spider-Man film, after which Marvel will lose the right to use the character in their films.
This wouldn’t be a problem in a Venom-less worked because Disney would hold all the cards allowing them to negotiate a deal where they were able to carry on using Spidey to their heart’s content.
Venom’s financial success though gives Sony some leverage and may encourage them to give Disney the proverbial middle finger and try their hand at developing their own Spider-Man movies.
This would mean Spidey would leave the MCU and be introduced to the Venomverse which may sound exciting but need I remind you what happened last time they tried this?
We ended up with The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
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More of a concept than a journalist, Tom Percival was forged in the bowels of Salford University from which he emerged grasping a Masters in journalism.
Since then his rise has been described by himself as ‘meteoric’ rising to the esteemed rank of Social Editor at UNILAD as well as working at the BBC, Manchester Evening News, and ITV.
He credits his success to three core techniques, name repetition, personality mirroring, and never breaking off a handshake.