Venom (2018)

Venom is a 2018 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, produced by Columbia Pictures in association with Marvel and Tencent Pictures. Distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing, it is the first film in Sony’s Marvel Universe, adjunct to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Directed by Ruben Fleischer from a screenplay by Scott Rosenberg, Jeff Pinkner, and Kelly Marcel, it stars Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock / Venom, alongside Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Scott Haze, and Reid Scott. In Venom, journalist Brock gains superpowers after being bound to an alien symbiote whose species plans to invade Earth.

The Life Foundation, headed by genius founder Carlton Drake, has a spaceship in space exploring the nearby systems. A probe from the spaceship discovers a comet covered in symbiotic lifeforms and they capture 4 samples. One escapes and causes the spaceship to crash in Malaysia when on it’s way back to earth. The Life Foundation recovers the other three and transports them to their research facility in San Francisco, where they discover that the symbiotes cannot survive without oxygen-breathing hosts, which often fatally reject the symbiosis. Investigative journalist Eddie Brock accidentally finds a confidential document about the start of human trials in the possession of his fiancée Anne Weying, an attorney preparing a lawsuit defense for the Life Foundation.

He confronts Drake about this in an interview, which his boss meant to be more of a fluff piece, and this leads to him being thrown out of the office buildings, and losing his job and getting Anne fired. She bricks up because of this in anger and moves on. Eddie, struggles on his own and tried to make ends meet as the months pass by. Six months later, Drake’s symbiosis trials are closer to success, though one of his symbiotes dies due to carelessness. Brock is approached by Dora Skirth, one of Drake’s scientists who disagrees with his methods and wants to expose him. She helps Brock break into the research facility to search for evidence, and he learns that an acquaintance of his, a homeless woman named Maria, is one of the test subjects.

Brock attempts to rescue Maria, but the symbiote possessing her transfers to his body without him realizing, leaving her dead. Brock escapes and soon begins displaying strange symptoms. He reaches out to Weying for help, and her new boyfriend, Dr. Dan Lewis, discovers the symbiote on examining Brock. Drake exposes Skirth to the remaining captive symbiote, which ultimately dies. This leaves the symbiote inside Brock as the only known surviving specimen. Brock fights off the goons as the symbiote forms  around his body as a monstrous creature that fights off the attackers. It introduces itself as Venom to Brock as and explains that the comet is searching for planets where the symbiotes can possess and devour the inhabitants. Venom offers to spare Brock if he helps the symbiotes achieve their goal, and Brock comes to enjoy the superhuman attributes that the symbiote imbues him with.

Brock breaks into his former employers’ office to turn in evidence against Drake but is corner by cops as he attempts to leave. Anne seems him transforming and takes him in to see her new boyfriend, Dr. Lewis, at the hospital. He explains that the symbiote is slowly rotting Brock’s internal organs. Brock notes that the symbiote has two weaknesses: high-pitched noises and fire. Although Venom claims that the organ damage can be prevented, Anne uses an MRI machine to help Brock separate from the symbiote. Brock is then captured by Drake’s men. Meanwhile, the fourth symbiote, Riot, makes its way from Malaysia to San Francisco by hopping from body to body. It bonds with Drake, who agrees to take Riot in a Life Foundation space probe to collect the rest of the symbiotes and bring them to Earth. Weying reluctantly bonds with Venom so they can free Brock.

Venom back with Brock again, goes to stop Drake/Riot as the symbiote is now convinced that earth has to be saved. Venom damages the probe as it takes off, causing it to explode and kill both Riot and Drake. Weying believes Brock is no longer bonded to Venom after this, and that Venom also died in the explosion. However, the pair remain secretly bonded and set out to protect San Francisco by killing criminals. Brock also returns to journalism, and in a mid-credits scene he is invited to interview incarcerated serial killer Cletus Kasady, who promises “carnage” when he escapes.

The storyline and pacing isn’t the best and it feels very chaotic. They spend too much time without the Venom character and it feels like they could have avoided that by cutting out uninteresting stuff. I wasn’t convinced by Hardy’s performance during the first half of the movie but when he bonds with Venom, it’s much better. Special effects are good, action sequences are generic. The film went on to be an unexpected box office success, becoming the sixth highest-grossing film of 2018 with over $855 million worldwide – though why I don’t know. 7 outta 10!

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