The world is a strange place. Because of rights issues, Venom is not currently part of the MCU even though Spider-Man and the recent Spider-Man movies are. So Venom isn’t part of the MCU and there is no Spider-Man in it. So that’s, um, weird. It might not be the worst thing, given all the weight the MCU imposes on a film, but it also makes the film a little weird given how tied to Spider-Man this character is (or used to be, anyway).
The film takes it sweet time getting going. That isn’t always a bad thing but in this case Brock’s descent into desperation doesn’t make any sense – he has a Network show named after him and he loses it because of one unaired interview? And his wife loses her job immediately because of this unaired segment? This does not remotely pass the smell test. That being said, they’re trying to set up a place and character more than some of these movies. So that’s something.
Things pick up considerably when Tom Hardy becomes possessed. Hardy is the best thing about the movie and many of the best moments involve Hardy playing off a CGI creature that he also voices. It’s a pretty great performance and it’s better than the movie that surrounds it. I laughed out loud more than once and I’m pretty sure it’s mostly hardy and not so much the script.
The pacing of the film is odd as, as I mentioned, it takes a long time to get going and then once it gets going it just breezes through to the end. I know I always complain about the length of super hero movies and this is mercifully shorter than most, but the pacing does feel weirdly off.
The tone is also inconsistent as sometime it feels like a comedy and sometimes it really doesn’t. They should have picked one, or had some clear delineation between the serious beginning and the “funny” remainder of the film.
And the film ends in one of these typical climaxes that we’ve seen too many times. Now this one is at least low stakes (ish). But it’s a mess in part because a black monster is fighting a grey monster and the two of them are so intertwined we can’t really make them out. That’s sort of the point, I guess, but it doesn’t make it easy to watch.
But it’s under two hours long and I laughed a few times. And Tom Hardy really should play this guy if he ever does crossover into the MCU. (Or if Sony ever does have their own version of a Marvel universe.)