So, here’s the thing about Venom: Get as many friends as you can, go to the theater, buy tickets for Venom, then have the time of your life as you laugh and laugh.
Now, I do want to make it clear that I think Venom is not a good movie, but I also want to make it clear that I had the time of my life watching it. I think in a couple of years Venom could be the type of movie that sells out midnight showings as people come up to the screen and act out their favorite parts – like a Rocky Horror Picture Show type of thing. My point is, if you’re in the right group and right frame of mind, Venom is really fun to watch.
Oh and at one point Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock and Venom even kind of make out.
Alright, now that that little detail is out of the way (there’s a lot going on in that scene, but I won’t spoil all the details), this sounds like a good as time as ever to jump right in. (Also, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, I am fascinated by this movie. If a behind the scenes tell-all ever comes out, I will be the first in line to buy it. Okay, that’s hyperbole. Most likely I’d just buy it on Amazon, or whatever, and not wait in any kind of a line at all, but you get the point.)
Eddie Brock (Hardy) is the host of his own web-based journalism video series. Basically, if something is fishy going on around the San Francisco or Oakland area, Eddie Brock will be there to investigate. He works for some sort of larger conglomerate that sets him up with a big interview for his show with local tech wunderkind, Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed). There are rumors that Carlton Drake has been running experiments on homeless people that have resulted in a few deaths.
Eddie confronts Carlton Drake about these rumors, they are denied, then Eddie immediately loses his job and his fiancé, Anne, played by Michelle Williams. (Anne breaks up with him because Eddie looked at some top-secret documents on her computer that proves these deaths, which also resulted in Anne being fired from her job as an attorney.) Also, I love the idea of “rumors tests are being run that killed people.” Could you imagine if, say, these rumors existed about Elon Musk or someone like that? “Hey, you can’t deny the success he’s had, now if he can only shake these pesky rumors that he experiments on homeless people and kills them.”
Eventually one of Carlton Drake’s scientists (Jenny Slate) sneaks Eddie into the lab. It’s there he discovers the experiments being done to combine humans and alien symbiotes. And it’s here that Eddie meets an alien symbiote named Venom who attaches himself to Eddie. (Best known as first Spider-Man’s cool new black suit in the mid-1980s, Venom would eventually become his own character. Because the Marvel Cinematic Universe is currently using Spider-Man in its storyline and Venom is not part of the MCU, Spider-Man isn’t even mentioned.)
Most of Venom is Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock walking around with that weird Venom voice from the trailer in his head saying stuff like, “I’m hungry, Eddie.” Or, “I want to eat a brain, Eddie.” After a scene in which Venom does eat some brains, he and Eddie swim across the bay, Venom spits Eddie out, then proceeds to give Eddie a lecture about what a huge loser Eddie is. At one point Venom calls Eddie a “pussy.”
So at the heart of Venom is poor Eddie Brock who doesn’t just have a symbiote inside of him, he’s got a symbiote who constantly tells him what a loser he is. Also, I can’t think of a more striking example where the whole cast seems to realize that they are in a darker superhero movie, while Tom Hardy seems to believe he’s in a remake of Jim Carrey’s Liar Liar. Look, let no one tell you differently, Tom Hardy is going for it in Venom. This is not a paycheck movie for him. Tom Hardy obviously has a vision for this movie and he goes for it with 100 percent gusto – it’s just not the same vision of literally anyone else involved in the movie. (Again, I can’t stress this enough, this movie is fascinating.)
The main plot of Venom is pretty remarkable. Eddie, as Venom has established over and over, is a loser. (Or a “pussy.” Maybe both.) Carlton’s goal is for he and his symbiote (oh he has one, too, named Riot) to get into a spaceship and fly to a comet that has millions more symbiotes. Then they bring them all back to Earth and the symbiotes take over the planet. Eddie and Venom must stop this from happening to save Earth. Now, why would Venom want to stop this? Because Venom admits to Eddie that he, too, is a loser (like Eddie!) and if all the other symbiotes show up he’d just be a loser again. Okay! Whatever! Anyway, that’s the plot and I’m kind of in awe that this is the plot. (Have I mentioned how fascinated I am by Venom?)
I swear I’d watch this movie again in a big crowd. I’d pay good money to go to a revival screening. I can picture, maybe 30 years from now, an older Tom Hardy, still proud of whatever it is he’s doing here, introducing this movie for a retrospective and the crowd just going nuts. There’s a line when a bodega owner asks Eddie how he’s doing and Eddie just responds, “Aches and pains. Aches and pains.” Even this is somehow hilarious. In my vision of the future the whole audience will scream, “Aches and pains. Aches and pains,” all in unison.
Sign me up.
‘Venom’ opens in theaters on Friday, October 5th. You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter.