By Khaleel Herbert
Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) is a working investigative journalist who knows no bounds when it comes to shedding light on injustice. With his TV show, The Brock Report, he uncovers the ongoing shadiness of the San Francisco area.
When his boss (Ron Cephas Jones) asks him to interview Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) on his space program, Eddie is skeptical because he knows they have something to hide. His boss only wants a nice interview and nothing more. His girlfriend, Anne (Michelle Williams) a lawyer for a firm that helps Drake’s company, even tells Eddie not to lose his cool. Eddie agrees. But when he discovers confidential documents of illegal activities that Drake’s company has done, he’s addresses it in his interview with Drake.
Brock hits rock bottom losing his job, Anne and their shared apartment. But it turns out, Drake is the bad guy. His company went into space and brought symbiotes to earth to develop a cure for cancer. Drake then experiments on humans, but the symbiotes are too strong and the humans die too easily. Long story short, a symbiote attaches itself to Eddie and he becomes a monster called Venom so he can stop Drake from extracting more symbiotes and bringing them back to earth.
Although “Venom” is his own character in this universe, Sony and Marvel can’t deny the fact that without Spider-Man, Venom would not even exist. Sit down, boys and girls, and let me tell you what makes Venom a beast and formidable Spider-Man foe.
Spider-Man gets a costume change from his trademark red and blue threads to a black alien suit while helping the Avengers and Fantastic Four fight in the Secret Wars comics in 1984. He returns to earth and wears the suit for a while. It becomes attached and adjusted to Peter Parker’s lifestyle as Spider-Man. After a while, Spider-Man rids himself of the symbiote in a cathedral and it crawls away to a broken suicidal Eddie Brock. Brock has a hatred for Spider-Man because Spidey foiled a story he was working on, which cost Brock’s job as a reporter. The symbiote wants Spidey dead for rejecting him. So when they meet, they’re two peas in a pod.
The cool thing about Venom is he’s the anti-Spidey. Venom can shoot its own webs and allow Brock to scale walls. Whenever Venom is near Spider-Man, Spidey’s spider sense can’t detect him because he was accustomed to wearing the symbiote, making their fights in The Amazing Spider-Man comics legendary. Venom’s (and Brock’s) only purpose was to kill Spider-Man for ruining his life, making him mentally unsound. He gets buff through bodybuilding.
In one issue, Venom locks Spidey in an abandoned lab and freezes him into unconsciousness. Venom takes Spidey to a deserted island for a final confrontation. With one last trick up his sleeve, Spider-Man fakes his own death with an explosion. The symbiote leaves and Eddie is free to relax knowing his mortal enemy is no more. In another issue, Venom gives birth to Carnage. While Eddie is in prison with serial killer Cletus Kasady, the symbiote swoops in and breaks Eddie out. A few remains of the symbiote attach to Cletus to become Carnage. When Carnage is too much for Spider-Man, he must return to the island and ask Venom for help.
Lastly, in issue #375, Venom and Spidey face off for the last time after he kidnaps Peter’s parents. They make amends and Venom goes his separate ways, never to be heard from again, at least in that era of Spider-Man comics.
To be frank: Venom is one of the greatest foes Spider-Man has ever faced.
After watching this 100-minute-ish film, it does no justice to this notorious comic book villain. This movie has so much comedy in its tone that it completely obliterates the dark side of Venom that fans know and love. Eddie Brock was a bodybuilding mass of muscle, while Tom Hardy is a puny doofus. You can hear Venom talk to Eddie throughout the film, but almost every line Eddie and Venom say is like listening to a CD standup special with heavy visual effects. That’s not who Venom is. Lastly, the iconic white spider symbol on the suit is missing.
It takes a lot of hutzpah to make a film that goes against the original storyline of a comic book or novel. “Venom,” although goofy and comical, manages to put “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and Topher Grace’s Venom in “Spider-Man 3” to shame. With Marvel’s stamp of approval, “Venom” will have an audience and take the number one spot at the box office this weekend. But for true diehard fans of the original, vengeful and mentally-twisted Venom, I’ll make this clear: the original comic books are better. Trust me.
Studio: Sony (1hr. 52 mins)
Cast: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Marcella Bragio, Jenny Slate, Riz Ahmed, Michelle Lee, Ron Cephas Jones, Woody Harrelson
Director: Ruben Fleisher
Story: An investigative journalist gets more than he bargains for when his latest assignment involves a corrupted businessman bringing alien symbiotes to earth from space
Final Score: C-