Review: Marvel’s ‘Venom’ fails to strike despite successful lead

Sam Wichhart, Focus Editor

Marvel and DC have created a large arsenal of entertaining superhero films which seem to lack a statement in comparison to one another. Sony sports their recent villain film, Venom, as a strong attempt to defy the genre but the superhero flick ended up reflecting the competing franchises. This dark and comedic piece failed to create an interesting dynamic in the oversaturated superhero selection of films. Its partial uniqueness is created through a fantastic performance by Tom Hardy, extensive use of “shock factor” in graphic content, and blending gruesome scenes with refreshing comedy but falls short in writing and visuals.

Tom Hardy carries the film with an Academy Award-worthy performance that creates a friendly synergy between the audience and his character, Eddie Brock. In his most stressful moments, there are breaks in action that supply much needed comedic relief. The comedy was off-putting at first in contrast to the dark branding that surrounds the character of Venom, but the film was able to pull off these amusing one-liners overall. Hardy is the most impressive aspect of the film and remains the main reason that this film is slightly memorable in the wide range of superhero films.

Where Venom truly falls off is in its awfully numerous similarities with other, overdone superhero film styles. The supporting female character, Anne Weying (performed by Michelle Williams), felt unimaginably bland and could have been stolen out of any Marvel script with a dry supporting character. Weying was a less capable sidekick that was the only one that understood the protagonist. It’s been done.

Williams’ performance was accompanied by the antagonist, Carlton Drake (played by Riz Ahmed), who matched her flat character arc.

On the more technical side of things, the visual effects seemed gimmicky when present but this is expected in any film that deals with such an undefined substance as the symbiotes. The fight scenes flashed creativity and tension with Venom’s abilities, but boundaries were never drawn in the film. It is reminiscent of Marvel’s character, Thor, in his almost limitless and undefined power. The film visually did its job, but struggled to show anything very innovative. The colors reflected the washed out feeling of most superhero films and only seemed to add slight grunge in some of the nighttime scenes.

Coming into the theater, “Venom” may be expected to bring unequaled uniqueness, but the film’s small quirks are overshadowed by lacking character development and familiar production characteristics. Tom Hardy’s talent in performing a literally contradicting character is the rating-inflating factor in the film. Originality is an ironically common claim for recent film debuts, and it is a shame for another film to quiver under such a hefty promise.