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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Oct 15, 2018

Venom Movie Review: An Origin Story Of How The Alien Venom Starts His Unholy Alliance With A Human, Eddie Brock

“VENOM” is the latest superhero introduced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. An origin story of how Venom started, he is actually an alien who possesses the body of a man, Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), an investigative reporter whose career in New York ended badly so he starts anew in San Francisco.

Because of his relentless efforts in exposing the nefarious activities of an unscrupulous biotech businessman, Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), Eddie loses his job and also the trust of his lawyer girlfriend, Anne (Michelle Williams). One of the research scientists working for Drake, Dr. Dora Skirth (Jenny Slate), has ethical concerns about the operations of her boss. She then seeks Eddie and informs him that their company has really started using people in an experiment that is aimed to mix humans as hosts to blob-like alien symbiotes.

These aliens look like crawling slime or goo and were brought back to earth after a spacecraft has an accident in outer space and crashes in Malaysia. Eddie is penetrated by a symbiote that personally likes him as its perfect host. Soon, Eddie starts having superpowers that he himself cannot explain. The symbiote calls itself Venom and he can talk directly to Eddie as some sort of an inner voice who instructs him to eat when his hungry.

This leads to some comic scenes like when Eddie is compelled to go inside a huge lobster tank inside a classy restaurant to eat the lobsters raw. Together, they form an unholy alliance and this becomes some unlikely sort of buddy movie, with Venom’s fluid form jutting out from Eddie’s body to be like tentacles, tendrils or appendages that help him to fight his enemies.

The shape-shifting Venom gets to kill another one of his kind that is very hostile and wants to kill other human beings so they themselves can rule Planet Earth. So we have a weird spectacle of two gooey CGI monsters battling each other in a fight to the finish. In the comics, Venom really started in the 80s as an enemy of Spiderman, but here, he is an alien parasite who becomes an alter ego of Eddie, who then tells him that they will have to be selective and can only kill bad people. So this isn’t your usual comic book good guy protagonist who becomes a superhero that fearlessly faces the evil guys, but more of someone with a Jekyll and Hyde kind of duality.

Drake then sends his team of bad guys to search for Eddie and get back Venom. So we see Eddie/Venom engaged in several fight scenes, including a big chase sequence through the hilly streets of San Francisco where they are pursued by Drake’s thugs plus a flying battalion of drones where people get injured and so much property is damaged in the process, and yet we do not hear of any grave consequence resulting from this destruction at all. As if Director Ruben Fleischer intentionally does not want to take the proceedings seriously and is just doing everything to entertain the moviegoers.

Tom Hardy is the perfect choice as the unlikely hero and he doesn’t really make much of an effort to make Eddie that sympathetic as the character undoubtedly has shortcomings of his own. Instead, he goes for broke in exploring the comic potential of a man who is arguing with a monster inside of him so he won’t just be a mere puppet of an alien creature. There’s a bumbling quality to his interpretation that somehow makes him quite endearing.

The rest of the actors are not as lucky in their supporting roles. Michelle Williams isn’t really given much to do as the girlfriend while Riz Ahmed (of “Star Wars, Rogue One”) is quite bland and doesn’t really make a menacing impression as Drake even when it’s revealed later that he also has a parasite living inside of him.
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