By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Review: 'Venom' is a mixed bag of good and bad
Venom (2018) - photo by Sony Pictures

THE LIFE FOUNDATION — For those who love to go to the movies, it’s been a slow month or so. Not much has been coming out lately, but this weekend offers up a film many have been marking their calendars for: “Venom.”

The film stars Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock, the slick reporter who will stop at nothing to get the story and make sure the truth comes out. Things go wrong, however, when he crosses the wrong man and eventually comes in contact with the symbiote Venom. From there, superhero shenanigans ensue.

Venom is one of the more popular characters from the Spider-Man universe. He’s so popular that he now has his own film and Spider-Man has absolutely nothing to do with it.

There are some things in “Venom” that remind me of some of Marvel’s better movies, while other things feel more like swings and misses.

Here are a few things that make “Venom” both memorable and yet another movie lost in the noise of superhero film overload:

The good

Tom Hardy delivers

Talks of a Venom movie have been floating around Hollywood for decades, but nothing ever came to fruition. Fans finally had some hope the film would actually get made after Tom Hardy signed up to play the lead.

Not only did Hardy’s star power ensure the film would be made, but he also got Venom fans and non-Venom fans alike excited about the film.

I’m happy to report that Hardy delivers.

No, this is not one of his best performances, but he legitimately looks like he’s having fun with this character. His attitude and demeanor fit the role of Eddie Brock and his voice for Venom is pretty great as well. His comedic timing is on point, his physicality works and his chemistry with Michelle Williams isn’t perfect but it works.

As the film started I wasn’t a big fan of Brock’s character and Hardy’s portrayal, but as the film moved forward and the character got more interesting, so did Hardy’s performance.

The action is exhilarating

The movie is a bit all over the place, but once the action gets going it’s quite absurd and quite fun. A motorcycle scene, in particular, makes for a head-shaking few minutes, but in the end, it’s a good head shake. You realize how ridiculous it all is, but you also can’t help but have a pretty good time.

There is also a moment when Venom fights another symbiote, and while the camera work and computer-generated imagery is a bit hectic, it makes for some interesting visuals and you’ll have a smile on your face.

The humor works

Based on the trailers for “Venom,” I wasn’t expecting much in the movie when it came to humor. The preview seemed to take itself very seriously and the small amount of humor seemed forced and flat. While there are some really bad jokes that will make you roll your eyes, this movie is a lot funnier than I was expecting.

Thankfully the film about an alien life-form coming to earth and taking human bodies over so they can then feed on other humans did not take itself too seriously. The premise is pretty ridiculous, and the writers and director decided to embrace that and let the insanity play out.

Brock and Venom have several conversations and in the end, the relationship you find yourself rooting to make it is that one and not the romantic one.

The bad

There are too many plot holes

Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent on this film, but apparently, not much of that went into rewrites to make sure the story was tight and actually made sense.

I don’t want to get into too many specifics in an effort to avoid spoilers, but there are several lines of dialogue that move the story along or reveal character motivations that end up getting contradicted by another line or action 2 or 3 minutes later.

There are also small things like a multi-billion dollar company not having security cameras or a thug deciding to take a threat out of a secure facility into the woods to kill him. Just obvious things that were ignored in order to make the setups for certain scenarios easier.

It's rushed

Weak character motivations and allegiance shifts happen all over the place, which made it hard for me to really get into the film.

Some characters seem to abandon their ambitions or goals at the drop of a hat for either a really small reason or no reason at all. Again, I’m not going to get into details to avoid spoilers, but it made for some head-scratching moments that pulled me out of the fun and reminded me this isn’t that great of a movie.

I’m sure some of this had to do with the runtime of the film, which is under 2 hours. I appreciate brevity from a superhero movie these days, but these pivotal moments felt lazy and unearned.


“Venom” is actually a much better film than I was expecting. I was hoping Hardy could raise the bar of the film a bit and thankfully he did, but he also couldn’t save it from itself.

I may have liked the movie even more if I hadn’t seen a very similar type of approach done much better earlier this summer in the sleeper hit “Upgrade.” A lot of the interesting and creative ideas of something or someone else controlling your body that “Venom” utilizes were more entertaining and better executed in “Upgrade.”

“Venom” clearly didn’t steal any ideas from “Upgrade” or vice versa considering the films were made at the same time, but ultimately one film did it much better.

If you’re a “Venom” fan, I think you’ll have fun with the movie. And if you’re dying to go to the theater, this is likely your best option at the moment. Check on Friday for a parent’s content guide for “Venom.”

“Venom” is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for language.

John has grown up around movies and annoys friends and family with his movie facts and knowledge. John also has a passion for sports and pretty much anything awesome and it just so happens that these are the three things he writes about.
Sign up for our E-Newsletters