MOVIE REVIEW: Venom and the half-sticky plot

Tom Hardy can't save this bad boy
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Tom Hardy can’t save this bad boy

The movie “Upgrade” came out earlier this summer. It was about artificial intelligence taking over a human body, and controlling it to fight like the badass he never was. By the end of the movie, the A.I. took complete control of the body without any humanity left. “Venom” was like Upgrade, except Upgrade was creative on it’s low budget. “Venom” had a limitless Marvel budget, but is not as creative or challenging as it could be.

Venom is an alien creature, called Symbiote, that bonds with a host and takes over their body. Venom decided to take over the body of Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), an investigative journalist that got fired from his job, and dumped by his girlfriend.

Brock investigated the Life Foundation, and trespassed to prove that they were testing human bonding with the Symbiote. That caused Brock to be infected with Venom, and gain extraordinary strength and fighting abilities. The head of the Life Foundation, Carlton Drake, wanted to find the Symbiote and experiment with it further in hopes of using them to get humans to live in space. Brock and Venom had to get to the Life Foundation to reveal the truth of Drake’s unethical testing.

What is cool is how Venom looks like he’s engulfing Brock like sticky slime. During fights, Venom transforms his body into different weapons to protect Brock and itself. Brock and Venom often disagree on whether or not to kill and eat the heads of anyone shooting at them. Brock has a good conscience and set of morals he sticks with, even when it violates journalistic standards.

Everything else about this film is really vague and messy. Venom himself is like an edgy teenager, who wants to fight everyone and eat everything. There’s an extra plot that seems to be immediately forgotten that Venom or the other symbiotes are going to take over Earth, but that gets quickly dismissed.

The overall plot is a second thought to validate why Venom has to fight guys shooting at him and bite their heads off. Drake is the crazy scientist bad guy, but is rarely expressive enough to commit to the crazy scientist archetype. It seems that Brock wants to go after Drake because he fired him, rather than taking him down for justice. The fighting goes down is too shaky to see, bad guys explode, and Brock accepts Venom as a part of him.

Most of all, this film doesn’t feature the most important counterpart to Venom: Spiderman. It’s like having a Batman series without The Joker. In the comics, Venom bonds with Spiderman but later bonds with Eddie Brock, who blames Spiderman for ruining his career. Brock’s hatred became a perfect host for Venom to take down Spiderman. Excluding Spiderman from the movie missed an essential part of Eddie Brock/Venom’s origin story.

“Venom” would be more fun if it was just as violent as the comics are. Venom consuming people’s heads is disappointing (no blood?!?), given the safe PG-13 rating.

If it were rated R, it would be more violent, and the lack of plot would be more forgiving. “Venom” seems to be a calculated algorithm to target teenage boys, just like 2016’s “Suicide Squad.” There was no passion in this movie — just disappointing beheadings.

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