I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say this movie didn’t have a lot of fan faith going into it. We’d already seen the character of Venom get squandered once in Spider-Man 3, and after seeing Tom Holland’s version of Peter Parker thrive in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there are plenty of us out there who had hoped they’d work Venom into his story down the line. In creating sort of an offshoot pocket universe, fans were deprived of the comic book accurate origin, and we already know how hard it is to come back from that.
Honestly, your perspective on how important Peter Parker is to the Venom character may very well dictate your overall enjoyment of the film. I was never into Venom as a character. I knew who he was, I’d read and seen some stuff with him in it, but felt no particular attachment to him. And I think that had a lot to do with how I felt about this film, so understand that going into this mini-review.
After skipping this film in theaters, I was given a chance to experience the flick in the comforts of my own home, and you know what? I think that was the right choice for me. As someone with little attachment to Venom, Venom mostly worked for me as a story, even if it didn’t leave an incredible impression.
The relationship between Venom and Eddie Brock was definitely the big selling point here, and on that front, it doesn’t disappoint. It’s fun, darkly humorous, and just a little bit heartwarming. Literally, when the movie ended, the first thing I said aloud was “aww…” Frankly, it was a cute movie, and one that I want to see more of in the future.
That being said, I think the majority of the film is pretty mediocre. It’s a bit slow getting set up, I’m still not sure how I feel about Tom Hardy in the role of Eddie Brock (maybe I think of Hardy as too macho to take on the character?), but once things get going, I forget about my reservations. The villain, played by Riz Ahmed, is a bit mustache-twirly. I’d say he’s down there with the likes of Ronan the Accuser as a bland villain. If you were hoping for something on the level of Carnage, you’ll be disappointed.
But if you’re able to leave your cynicism at the door, turn off your brain, and allow yourself to have a good time, in spite of what the film’s success might mean for Spider-Man in the MCU, I think you’ll likely have a solid time. If you’re like me, and you skipped this in theaters but were still a bit curious, I’d recommend picking up a copy and see what’s up. I don’t think you’ll regret missing it in theaters, but you may enjoy it just a tad more than you’d expect.
Content Grade: C+
Venom is currently out in digital and will hit Blu-ray and 4K this coming December 18.
But, of course, what home release is complete without a heaping helping of special features? This film delivers over an hour’s worth of special features. It’s by no means exhaustive, but it’s enough that, if you enjoyed what the movie had to offer (and based on the box office, I’m sure there are plenty of you out there), you’ll find some stuff to love here. Personally, the best stuff in every home release are the “script to screen” mini-docs, and this is no exception.
Bonus Materials Include:
- Venom Mode: When selecting this mode the film will engage informative pop-ups throughout the film to provide insight on the movie’s relationship to the comics, and to reveal hidden references that even a seasoned Venom-fan may have missed!
- Deleted & Extended Scenes: These deleted and extended scenes will give fans even more of the Venom action they loved in theaters!
- Ride to Hospital – Eddie and Venom take a ride to the hospital.
- Car Alarm – Let’s just say that Venom is not fond of car alarms.
- San Quentin – Extended post-credits scene at San Quentin.
- From Symbiote to Screen: A mini documentary about the history of Venom in comics and his journey to the big screen. Interviews with Avi Arad, Matt Tolmach, Ruben Fleischer, Oliver Scholl, and Director and Comic Fanboy Kevin Smith.
- The Lethal Protector in Action: Go behind the scenes with the production crew and learn the secrets behind the awesome Motorcycle stunts, wire stunts, and drones.
- Venom Vision: A look at how Ruben Fleischer came to the project, gathered his team, and made Venom a reality. Utilizes interviews from cast, crew, and producers as well as Fleischer himself.
- Designing Venom: Designing and creating Venom meant a huge challenge for VFX artists; follow the amazing journey.
- Symbiote Secrets: Blink and you may have missed it! Enjoy the hidden references throughout the film.
- 8 Select Scenes Pre-Vis sequences: See the progression of the visual effects, storyboards and fight choreography compared to the finished film.
- “Venom” by Eminem – Music Video
- “Sunflower” by Post Malone, Swae Lee (From Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)
- Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Sneak Peek: Meanwhile in another universe…
4K Ultra HD™ Includes:
- Feature film presented with Dolby Vision high dynamic range and Dolby Atmos sound
- Also includes the film and special features on the included high-def Blu-ray
VENOM has a run time of approximately 112 minutes and is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for language.
So is this movie worth your hard-earned cash? I’d say if you really liked the movie in theaters, the special features are certainly worth checking out, but unless that’s you, it might be something worth waiting on Redbox for.