Unpopular opinion: Sony’s Venom is misunderstood masterpiece

by Beau Cameron, Co-Editor-in-Chief

After Venom hit theatres on October 5th, it was torn apart by critics and condemned for its exclusion of Spiderman, its absurdist humor, and even for the symbiote’s appearance.

Robbie Collin of The Telegraph said, “Sony Pictures appear to have lavished a nine-figure sum on, and are now hoping to establish an entire cinematic universe on the back of, a character who looks like someone drizzled Creme Egg filling onto a bin bag.”

That being said, I loved this movie.

Tom Hardy plays journalist Eddie Brock, the main character and host of the alien symbiote, Venom, who goes up against a corrupt private science institute known as The Life Foundation.  The film tells a new, Spiderman-less origin story for the widely popular anti-hero, looking to set up a whole new shared universe of Spider-verse villains.

There’s no mention of Harry Osborn’s daddy issues, no goth Peter Parker, none of your typical early Venom story at all. While many critics have called this a weakness, it’s arguably the best thing Director Ruben Fleischer could’ve done. Audiences don’t need or want a replay the 1990s cartoon or Spider-Man 3— they’re looking for something fresh and exciting, two things that Venom delivers.

The opening scenes are at best choppy, and at worst, disheartening to the point that I saw one member of the audience actually walked out after the first five minutes. However, when Venom and Eddie Brock finally found each other, it became one of my favorite Marvel movies.

The action sequences are unique, a union between stellar fight choreography and Hardy’s ability to pretend his body is being controlled by another being. There’s a motorcycle and drone chase scene that make the ten-year old boy in me light up, and watching Venom in action, using his amorphous physicality to form shields and barriers and a second skin, is nothing short of spectacular.

The character of Anne, Brock’s ex-fiance, was weak, but she was barely a footnote with Hardy stealing the show. Hardy is an amazing actor, transforming Brock from a journalist who reports on social issues to someone who actually cares about the people involved. Hardy’s iteration of this character is a far cry from the Eddie Brock of Spiderman 3, who served as Peter Parker’s professional nemesis. This Eddie Brock is raw and unsure and sweaty and has stolen the hearts of fans everywhere.

For a film that highlights the exploitation of the poor and homeless by corporations, the Global Warming Crisis, and the “There is no Planet B” argument, it is insanely funny. Hardy goes all in, diving into a lobster tank, eating raw chicken out of the garbage, and even making out with Venom (albeit while Venom is inhabiting the body of his ex).

However, this is all part of the movie’s fun. It’s dark, but not gritty, silly, but not immature. For example, Venom gets insulted by being referred to as a “parasite;” they bite people’s heads off, having no qualms about killing criminals. Venom likes chocolate. Venom’s alien brethren want to take over the earth and devour its inhabitants.

It’s a weird movie that probably should’ve been rated R, but it’s fun to watch.

Critics seem to be looking for your run-of-the-mill villain in Eddie and Venom, but they have evolved so far beyond that. Venom and Eddie are a dysfunctional duo that sometimes see themselves as one entity and love each other in the weirdest way possible. As a whole, Venom capitalizes on its own weirdness, acknowledging and embracing it.

It’s more of a buddy-cop movie than the grim drama we’ve come to expect. It’s closer to Deadpool than it is to Spiderman. It isn’t what people expected, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad movie.

Screenrant’s Alex Leadbeater said it best: “It’s a bad serious film in the same way it’s a bad cosmic adventure: it isn’t trying to be one.”