There’s a lot of criticism for the movie Venom going around—currently at 30% Rotten Tomatoes—but listen everyone, it wasn’t actually that bad (YES IT WAS).
I am a hardcore Spider-Man fan, and Venom has always been my favorite villain (HE’S THE BEST) and as much as I wish we could get a decent Spidey/Venom movie, it’s not a basis for criticism of Sony’s latest film. We should judge a film on its own merits (BUT IT DOESN’T HAVE ANY) rather its fandom’s expectations.
I agree that Venom could have been a stronger film, and I think just a few small tweaks would have gotten it there. The main issue was a simple literary deficit (A DEFICIT OF INTELLIGENCE) in that our main character of Eddie/Venom simply didn’t have any solid motivation. Motivation can usually be distilled down to fundamental emotional needs such as acceptance, recognition, love, (NOT WANTING A MOVIE TO SUCK) power—not every motivation has to be deeply nuanced or psychologically devastating, but it has to be something.
And while there are a lot of small issues with the film, (LIKE the antagonist’s PAINFULLY over-villainous actions and his ENDLESS RAMBLING BULLSHIT) I really want to just focus on (OH AND THE FACT that he had NO PROBLEM acting like an UTTER MADMAN in front of his staff, despite his public persona of a benevolent philanthropist) the motivations of Eddie, and how they could have been (or the ABSOLUTE FLABBERGASTING NONSENSE of that scene where Anne and Dr. Dan FORGET about the FUCKING ALIEN they just trapped while they have a POINTLESS relationship squabble while it CASUALLY ESCAPES) improved.
So let’s stay on topic, and talk about (THE SKULL-POUNDING HORSESHIT of the Life Foundation sending EXPLODING DEATH DRONES all through San Francisco and not getting into ANY trouble at all for it?!? Are there NO POLICE? It doesn’t matter how rich you are, the cops would bust Elon Musk in a HEARTBEAT if he started WANTONLY MURDERING CIVILIANS WITH HIS TOYS) motivation.
Our main character Eddie Brock starts off with a lot of motivation—in fact, he’s so (HOW THE FUCK DOES THE LIFE FOUNDATION NOT HAVE ANY CAMERAS IN THEIR BUILDING?!?! Dr. Dora leads Eddie Brock through extremely public areas and elevators before bringing him to the Symbiote containment area, and they NEVER CHECKED THE FOOTAGE? He did NOTHING to hide his face, and he’s FUCKING FAMOUS, and Drake still had to coerce Dr. Dora to give up his name? This is THE WORST DUMBFUCKERY SECURITY SYSTEM EVER) motivated to expose the truth and corruption in the world that he makes mistakes that cost him his job and his fiancée.
But for the majority of the rest of the movie, he just wants to be left alone, which (OKAY WAIT. He lost his JOB as a FAMOUS INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, but he can’t even get another job as a DISHWASHER? If BRIAN WILLIAMS can get picked up as a lead anchor on MSNBC, I’m pretty sure Eddie Brock can find SOMETHING) makes his character difficult to understand, because (I DON’T FUCKING UNDERSTAND how he can live ON HIS OWN for SIX MONTHS without any job at all in one of the most EXPENSIVE FUCKING CITIES in the world and still have TWENTIES to casually donate to the homeless – especially if we’re supposed to believe that he’s a “loser.” He’s not even remotely a loser! Why are they trying SO HARD for half the movie to convince us that this generous, handsome, well-spoken and kind man is a “LOSER”? HAVE NONE OF THE FILMMAKERS LITERALLY NEVER MET A LOSER BEFORE? ) we don’t know what he wants.
Meanwhile, we have the same motivational absence in the symbiote Venom. The movie claims that Venom “picked” Eddie because they were both losers (OH YOU’RE SHITTING ME. The fucking drug-crazed METH HEAD they fed wasn’t a loser enough, but MR. FAMOUS TV JOURNALIST fits the bill?!?), despite all the insistence that a host must biologically match the symbiote. This is never explained, (MUCH LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE. First of all, where the FUCK did these symbiotes come from? Just “outer space”? That’s good enough?! Drake sends spaceships to “outer space” and finds these dudes just cruising along? Were they on a ship? On an asteroid? Because let’s not forget that they are apparently HELL BENT ON THE INVASION AND ANNIHILIATION OF EARTH, but we have no idea how they got to our galaxy and are apparently EASY AS FUCK to capture in outer space, but impossible to capture down here. WHAT. THE. FUCK.) nor is it explained what Venom wants. What is his motivation? For most of the movie he apparently just wants to bite heads off, which make it very difficult for the audience to identify with him as a sympathetic lead.
Which also makes his shift in the final Act difficult to follow. He “changes his mind” (FOR NO FUCKING REASON) to stop Riot because he “likes” Earth now (DESPITE LITERALLY NOTHING CHANGING WHATSOEVER).
There was a simple solution to this that the writers missed. In the comics, Eddie and Venom united over their mutual hatred of Peter Parker, (AND what THE FUCK was RIOT’S PLAN? He was going to hijack a fucking HUMAN SPACESHIP and fly it … WHERE? IS humanity capable of INTERSTELLAR TRAVEL in this movie? WHERE THE FUCK WAS HE GOING? And HOW DID THEY GET HERE IN THE FIRST PLACE? WHY DOESN’T ONE GODDAMN PIECE OF THIS MOVIE MAKE ANY SENSE?!?!) and they could have easily used a similar hatred for the Carlton Drake character to make this movie work (HE’S AWFULLY EASY TO HATE SINCE HE’S SUCH A TERRIBLE CHARACTER). Eddie would naturally hate Drake for ruining his life, while Venom would hate him for capturing him. This one simple change would have given the movie so much more meaning, and I don’t understand why they didn’t use it.
But that’s it! Other than that, it was pretty good! (DON’T GET ME STARTED on how much they FUCKED UP THE CASTING for that cameo at the end. Are you SHITTING ME? Get CILLIAN MURPHY, he was fucking BORN FOR THIS ROLE, but you’re trying to give us FUCKING WOODY?!?) It was really fun and enjoyable, I hope they make more! Thanks for reading!
Nathan Makaryk is an author and comedian, follow him on Twitter to hear him complain about other stupid things.
His debut historical fiction novel NOTTINGHAM retells the legend of Robin Hood from viewpoints of multiple people on both sides of the conflict. Published by Tor/Forge, available here.