‘Venom’ Is Marvel’s Only Absurdist Rom-Com
I don’t know what I was expecting from this movie, but it wasn’t that. Listen, I’ve read the reviews back when it came out. I knew it didn’t exactly get the best reception, that it was supposed to be a bit silly, goofy even. But by God, nothing could have prepared me for this.
Venom is bonkers. And I like it a lot.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. This is a horrible movie. Okay, not horrible, but few would argue that it’s not at least pretty damn bad. It looks like every actor thinks they are in a different movie. Riz Ahmed thinks he’s the mastermind of a cold sci-fi thriller, Michelle Williams thinks her character is way more important than it turned out to be, Jenny Slate… Well, I’m not sure exactly what she’s doing. I think she just read the script and rolled with it for the limited amount of screentime she had.
The real star here is Tom Hardy. Hardy has had a pretty consistant career with plenty of acclaimed films and performances to his name. Once he started rising to fame, he started picking more and more interesting projects, from Marie Antoinette to Dunkirk. Now, I can’t read Tom Hardy’s mind, but I feel like his choices shows that he has a pretty good grip on what is or isn’t good. Which means he knew damn well that Venom’s script is horrendous.
And he goes along with it so well ! No matter how ridiculous the story gets, it feels comforting to know that at least one person here is having fun. Eddie is the opposite of a hero. He’s not even a anti-hero either. Just a plain weirdo with an alien up his ass, which is as glorious as it sounds. I don’t think any movie starring Hardy has tried so little to capitalize on his attractiveness. Eddie looks like an absolute mess. He has bloodshot eyes, messy hair, greasy skin and eats tater tots right out of the freezer. Even before becoming one with Venom, he’s not particularly likeable. To be frank, he’s kind of an idiot.
I don’t know what kind of story this was supposed to be. Is Eddie supposed to be redeemed for his asshole-ish behaviour by the end ? Because, well, he looks the same to me. It is incredible how the film seems both self-aware of the short cuts it constantly takes and completely oblivious to its ridiculousness in other scenes. In one the film’s pivotal scenes, Jenny Slate (whose character’s name will remain a mystery until I have the motivation to google it) explains Darlton’s motivations for his evil behaviour. The Earth of Venom is destroying itself; the generation we are witnessing may be the last one. Darlton, as a classic multi-millionnaire, decides the best solution is to go to space and find another planet to live on. A bit too realistic to be ignored.
And yet… Eddie does. ‘Can we skip to the part where he kills people?’, he asks, obviously having barely been listening. This movie doesn’t give half of a shit about character motivations or making a statement. I don’t know what it does give a shit about, actually. Apart from Venom’s tongue and possibly She-Venom’s boobs.
Being prepared for a less than amazing movie from the get go makes the entire experience way more enjoyable than it should be. The developing yet completely overrushed friendship (?) between Venom and Eddie is so nonsensical it becomes captivating. By the end of the movie, it honestly is almost endearing. I couldn’t wrap my mind around people shipping the two of them before watching the movie, but now I almost think it was intentional. The actual romance storyline of the movie is so lazy that the budding kinship between a murderous alien parasite and his deadbeat host sounds more appealing. If that doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about Venom’s writing, I don’t know what will.
Is it bad that I like this more than most /objectively better/ superhero movies ? It’s just so much more fun to watch an alien break stuff for np reason than watch any Avenger die.
So, there you have it. Venom looks like absolute crap. It is written by someone who has most likely never watched a movie in their life. Its surprisingly prestigious cast alternates between over and underacting. It feels at the same time very long and super rushed. And I think I love it.
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