Venom ★★½

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

Eddie Brock/Venom- Venom 2018

This is my third time watching Venom. The last time was in 2019, so I've had quite a bit of time away from this movie. I didn't like it at all the first two times, and my original score for this was a 3/10. However, this rewatch has made the movie improve for me a bit.

Tom Hardy carries this film the whole way through, and Eddie is decently fleshed out throughout. He plays a great "normal" guy, and a great crazy guy, after he's infected with Venom. His performance as both Eddie and Venom are funny and likeable. The rest of the cast is fine, but none of them ever elevate their underwritten characters, past just being kind of boring.

Venom is pretty cool in this movie. His design is really good, and the CGI is solid. There's quite a bit of dark humor with his lines. However, his relationship with Eddie, although fun to watch, just isn't explored enough. It takes close to an hour before they get bonded, and they're best friends in a matter of minutes. There's a really dumb part where Venom says that Eddie is the reason he wants to save Earth, even though they had only been together for a few scenes. It's pretty rushed, and I want to get the Blu-ray to check out the deleted scenes when I can.

The villain, Riot, is extremely lame, and so is his host. Carlton Drake is every generic villain rolled into one character. Riz Ahmed is okay in the role, but he is never intimidating in the slightest. Riot is basically just a grey Venom who can make some weapons out of his body. On paper he sounds cool, but in execution, he's pretty lame. He doesn't even get a scene to himself until like the last 30 minutes, unless you count him transferring bodies, but you never actually see him, so I don't count it as screentime for him.

There are two huge problems with this movie that keep me from truly liking it. One, and this is a very trite criticism, is that it's not rated R. There are so many scenes that feel like they were shot to be R, but they are completely bloodless. It makes some of the action scenes feel choppy, and way too clean, like frames were cut everywhere just to get that PG-13. There are so many lines and shots that were clearly meant to indicate a darker tone. It's like a kid trying to act tough, but then backing down at the last minute.

The second huge problem, is pretty much the entire third act. It's just a bunch of stuff happening, with barely any sense of excitement, or tension. You can barely even see what's going on half of the time, because it's set at night, and both the characters on screen are dark colored blobs. It feels really rushed, and it doesn't even feel like you're in the third act, until you realize that there's only like 20 minutes left in the movie.

Venom is so close to being good for me. It has some funny dark humor, a great lead performance, and some decent action scenes. However, it feels rushed, and cut down to something that's easy to feed to the masses, which severely hurts what great things are in this movie. I will admit that I really do enjoy parts of it, and there was a solid chunk of the movie where I barely found any problems. Sadly, that all comes crashing down in the last act. I definitely don't hate it like I used to, but it could have been quite a lot better than it was. If you want a similar film that's done better, watch Upgrade. 5/10

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