Being a comic book lover and an avid movie goer, it can feel imperative that a movie based around a pre-established and popular character is done correctly. Usually meaning that it’s expected that the director takes most, if not all, of their information from the source material.
Though Director Rueben Fleischer’s ‘Venom’ does use Eddie Brock, the character most well-known for taking up the mantle of the titular villain turned anti-hero, as its focus, as well as several other characters from the Marvel universe, the similarities end there. We are instead treated to an original version of Venom’s backstory which is as enjoyable as it is confusing. Especially if one is a fan of the Spider-Man series and its history.
‘Venom’ sees Eddie, played by Tom Hardy, living out in San Francisco, miles away from his origins in New York City. Though still an investigative reporter, his days as an employee for The Daily Globe are far behind him. At this point, he is still engaged to Anne Weying, played by Michelle Williams, an attorney preparing a lawsuit defense for the infamous bioengineering corporation: Life Foundation. Unbeknownst to the two of them, CEO Carlton Drake, played by British Pakistani actor Riz Ahmed, and his team have stumbled upon a comet covered in symbiotic lifeforms and plan to use them to “save humanity.” Attempting to expose him for his dubious deeds, Eddie receives help sneaking into the facility and, in turn, accidentally bonds with one of the otherworldly beings. What ensues is an action-packed and chaotic chain of events, as Eddie struggles to use his new abilities in order to combat Carlton’s possibly world-ending agenda.
As a stand-alone film, ‘Venom’ is a fun and fast-paced treat. Crossing genres, the movie contains elements of sci-fi and action, even relying on a well-placed jump scare from time to time. Tom Hardy’s portrayal of Eddie Brock is refreshing and the dialogue, predominantly Eddie’s conversations with Venom, makes for a few hilarious moments amongst the darker tone of the movie.
That being said, there are a few issues with the general plot and how it relates to a character whose creation and success is ultimately tied to the Spider-Man franchise, particularly Spider-Man himself. As there has been no mention of the film’s ties to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), and with plans for a possible Venom or villains centric series, it will be interesting to see how well future projects stand up without the current use of the beloved web crawler.