Length: 112 minutes / 1.87 hours
If I haven’t said it before in my review of Spider-man: Homecoming (2017), I’ll repeat it here: I grew up watching the 1990s animated Spider-man series, which makes the Spider-man franchise one of my favorite. Consequently, most of my knowledge of the franchise comes from the show. In my mind, the symbiote storyline that introduced Venom was one of the best in the series, and I was disappointed when Spider-man 3 (2007) woefully miscast Eddie Brock with Topher Grace. Flash forward a decade later, and the big screen is taking another crack at the Venom storyline in a standalone film…but without Spider-man.
As a long-time fan, I appreciated the mostly faithful origin story in Venom (2018), with a few minor and vital details still retained to make it close to what actually happened. This time around, Tom Hardy was a much better choice for the titular role, even if his mumbling accent was a little distracting at times. While the physique was a match, the character did still feel a little off, mostly because his primary motivation (i.e., revenge on Spider-man) was no longer there. Venom is a pretty brutal villain in the Marvel universe, but for some reason, we can’t have the main character of a superhero film be as sinister as they should be. I blame the misunderstood Thanos from Avengers: Infinity War (2018).
So, despite taking a villain and turning them into a hero, Venom still felt pretty solid, especially with the setup for an exciting sequel. Sure, some of the action was too shaky or dark to understand what was going on, but it was still well-paced. In the end, it was some pretty standard origin story superhero fare, so if you like that, you’ll be satisfied. However, I felt the after/end credits scene completely undid any of the great things this film did by teasing a potentially much better movie that hadn’t come out yet.
A standard hero film that happens to feature a former villain, I give Venom 3.0 stars out of 5.