Etched in Stone

Movie Review: Venom

Anna Henning, Academics/Activities Beat Leader

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Sony Pictures’ Marvel spin-off, Venom, has hit theaters, getting mixed reviews from audience members and critics everywhere. Personally, I found the film to have some problems, but was overall entertaining to watch. I am not usually the type of person who enjoys the science fiction genre, and was nervous to watch the movie as it looked dark and creepy. However, I thought there were a lot of interesting concepts explored, and the film was not as heavy as portrayed in trailers. The plot could have been a lot stronger, as it was poorly developed, but it was a fun watch.

Venom follows Eddie Brock, a reporter with his own TV show from San Francisco. He tries to expose Carlton Drake, leader of the Life Foundation, for illegal activity when everything falls apart. The investigative project destroys his career, relationship, and personal stability, leaving Eddie lost and unsure of what to do next. Meanwhile, the Life Foundation has brought  “symbiotes,” alien-like creatures from space to try to merge them with human bodies. When Eddie finds Venom, a symbiote who has taken over Eddie’s body, he must try to take down the Life Foundation once and for all.

The film had an interesting opening by starting with the Life Foundation’s space shuttle crashing back down to Earth. I liked this beginning, as it was suspenseful and set a distinct dark tone. However, as the plot progressed, it looked less and less thought-out. The plot overall was not very well developed, as it did not have a clear direction. Its confusing loopholes and messy character development was confusing to follow at times. Given the overall feel of the movie, I feel like the plot was not meant to be taken too seriously. I enjoyed the unique ideas presented in this film; they were very interesting. But, I still wish they would have had more clarity.

As far as protagonists go, Venom had very well-developed characters. With each protagonist, the audience go to know them well and understand their struggles to stay good. I wish there was more clarity on the antagonists, as their motives were confusing and their ideas were not easy to keep up with. When the main villains changed their minds, the transitions weren’t very smooth from one idea to the next.

Eddie, as portrayed by Tom Hardy, was a hilariously relatable character. I felt as if his personality changed dramatically from a good situation to a bad one, however I didn’t see the switch back when things in the film calmed down. I think the acting was fantastic, but sometimes could have been a bit less dramatic during less tense scenes.

I was most interested to see how the filmmakers developed Venom, the symbiote who eventually used Eddie’s body as a host. He was very unique in the fact that even though he was considered a protagonist, he was not all the way good. He still wanted to bite people’s heads off, or force Eddie to do whatever he needed, and had to learn about compromise the hard way. His demanding personality added a lot of humor to the film, and really lightened up the mood from darker concepts. I wish I saw even more personal conflict within Venom, or could have been able to understand his motives a little more. Whenever he changed his mind to pursue a different motive, I never understood why. I would have liked to see more of the steps along his personal journey throughout the film, instead of a complete flip in personality.

My favorite part of the film by far was seeing the relationship between Eddie and Venom. Eddie could hear Venom’s voice inside his head, and they exchanged numerous conversations about what their plan was or what Venom’s role was for Eddie. Their funny banter and relationship development really added another level of depth to what could have been “just another action movie”, and gave it a unique feel. Throughout the film, Eddie and Venom learn how to work with each other and compromise rather than just focus on their own needs. I loved this aspect of the film, which was really well thought-out and developed

Another unique development in Venom was exploring what is considered a hero. Even among Venom’s evil tendencies, he was still somewhat good, and showed a different kind of hero than the visions of perfection often portrayed in media. Heroes such as Eddie were very relatable in his thought process and experiences, and I liked to see heroes with a few more layers. Promotional posters and trailers for Venom featured the phrase, “The world has enough superheroes.” The film took a great deal of time to look deeply into this, and focused more on the evil within people than the good.

For the most part, action scenes and visuals were very well done. Lots of quality detail was put into each scene, although some of it was a little overdone. For example, during a car chase, drones were trying to hit Eddie. There was almost too much repetition in this scene, and it felt like the same thing happened over and over again by the ending. Slow motion was used rarely in these action scenes, but when it was put in it fit perfectly with what was happening. The slow motion, combined with a great soundtrack, emphasized some amazing moments that I really enjoyed.

After the first trailer was released, people were surprised when Venom was rated PG-13 instead of the expected R rating. However, after seeing the film, I can say quite a bit of it is lightened up. It has dark concepts, but the amount of humor keeps the tone lighter. This is the kind of film not meant to be taken too seriously – to be watched without much analyzation.

Venom had creative ideas which got a little lost in a confusing plot. Its action scenes and humor make the film worth watching, and is an entertaining watch for any fans of the Science Fiction genre. I give Venom a three out of five stars. I feel like the film could have been so much more, but was entertaining nonetheless.

About the Writer
Anna Henning, Academics/Activities Beat Leader

Anna Henning is working as a Copy Editor and BEAT leader for Etched in Stone. The sophomore has been a part of the staff for a year and looks forward to her leadership roles this year and within the program. She writes articles on a range of topics but her favorite to write are movie reviews. In fact, her favorite movie franchise is Star Wars and her favorite episode is Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. On her first year writing she discovered her passion for journalism, and continues to be a key member of the staff.

Outside of the paper Henning dances for the Fossil Ridge High School dance team, and this is her first year on the team. Despite being new to dance team, Henning has been dancing her whole life. She did ballet for 11 years until an injury made her decide to try something new and pushed her to join the school team. Now being on the team, Henning has found a great passion for learning hip-hop because she never had previously danced many other dance forms outside ballet. Along with her love for dance and movies, she enjoys reading in her free time. Among her favorite genres to read are mystery and action novels, nothing boring. She loves all kinds of music, although her favorite band is Twenty One Pilots. Her final interest at Fossil is choir in which Henning is a part of Femina, the select women’s choir.

The prominent young journalist plans to pursue a four year degree at a university after high school. Her goal is to become a journalist for an international charity to combine her passions of humanitarianism, travel, and journalism. In the upcoming school year Henning hopes to be successful in her leadership roles and academic career.

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