Hollywood is riding the big wave of comic book movies for years now and even though I’m getting a bit tired with it, it will not stop. Not one year without at least two or three of those adaptions. In 2018 alone there have been – wait – five of them and there’s still one to come (being Aquaman).

Especially Marvel (respectivly Disney) seems to milk that cow until there’s no drop of milk left. But as long as the people watch those movies, the studios are obviously doing it right.

I missed out two of this year’s comic book movies. The great finale of the Avengers had been a must see as well as the Antihero of Antiheroes himself – Deadpool. Somehow I love antiheroes, people who aren’t the perfect ones but have their edges. And so I consequently had my eyes at the other big Marvel antihero too: VENOM

About the story

Please, don’t be afraid. I’m not going to spoil anything, will not tell you the whole story of the movie. Actually the story runs like this:

Spaceship owned by an evil organisation with alien liveforms onboard crashes. One liveform escapes, the rest ends up in a laboratory. Successful reporter makes a mistake in his job, gets fired, tries to prove the truth of what he said, came in contact with one of the aliens accidently. Bad guys try to get their hands on the reporter, he escapes thanks to the alien, other alien merges with the boss of the bad guys, both aliens clash, the evil one dies, the day is saved.

So far it doesn’t sound very new. It’s the eternal battle of good vs. evil, that’s been fought in cinema for decades. But I didn’t expect a Shakespearean tragedy. Being fond of comic books I expected a comic book like story and found the same. A straight story with not to complex characters.

But I spoke of an antihero. So is it truely just the old battle between good and evil or is there more? There isn’t. But it could probably have been more.

The universes of (comic) books and movies are often different. That’s the great thing with a multiverse. Different universes, different occurrences. Eddie Brock, the host of the symbiontic (or parasitic?) Venom, for instance lives and works in San Francisco. At least he does in the movie. The Eddie Brock I know lived in New York – one reason, why Venom often clashed with Spider Man in the comic books.

But this is no problem at all. Multiverse, remember? Different Earth, different home for Eddie. It’s just a city. But there is Venom himself. In the comic books the symbiont is as violent as in the movie. But he’s different. When Venom got in contact with Peter Parker as his first host in the comic books, he learned a lot. He learned about emotions, the alien had never known. Venom developes a personality.

And in the movie? Well… Spoiler alert!

The Venom of the movie lacks that peronality. While the comic book Venom has some kind of moral code not to harm any innocent people (guess, that’s Peter Parker’s influence), the movie Venom doesn’t. And then again he heroicly nearly sacrifices he own life for our world, battles his own kind’s leader to safe the day – a twist that appeared to me nearly as suddenly as Anakin Skywalker turn to the dark side. And that change had been quite predictable, for… Well… What else should happen.


Should I leave that film out then?

An antihero is something different than an antihero. While Deadpool makes fun out of everything (including the comic book he’s in), Venom – the original Venom – is a more serious guy. But a serious comic book movie doesn’t work (except it’s about Wolverine).

And so the Venom movie doesn’t take itself to serious too.

No, Venom is  no clown. But the dialogues between him and Eddie Brock have their own comical appeal.

Imagine, you were looking into the mirror and some deep, rumbling voice calls your name. Maybe you would take that as a sign of being tired. Imagine then, the same voice warns you not to open your doors. Since you did it anyway something takes control of your body and after defeating the intruders the voice suggests to bite of the enemies heads and make two piles – one pile of bodies, one pile of heads. That would be the latest moment to doubt my own sanity.

Venom has his own view on the things. He and his kind are predators and Venom acts as one again and again much to Eddie Brocks disgust. Venom hereby acts seemingly a bit childlike. He doesn’t know better. He’s a predator so why shouldn’t bite off his enemies head? You might imagine the conflict between Eddie and Venom, a conflict portrait quite brilliantly by Tom Hardy, surpassed probably only by Woody Harrelson in the mid credit scene pointing at a possible sequel.

Hardy’s play alone makes the movie a nice entertainment for a saturday evening. Harrelsons short appearance though makes it worth to wait for part 2.


And the visual appearance?

Living in the third millenium appears to be living with cinematic experiences full of super duper computer animated visual effects to the point, where those effects are too good to be believable. Or sometimes that bad effects, that one could think, it’s a 1990’s computer game.

Living in 21st cinematic century seems to mean bigger explosions, more phantastic creatures and actually far more unbelievable pictures.

I sometimes miss to good old times when actors wore masks instead of green suits. Those masks made their appearance more believable. They were more vivid and less artificial in their appearance.

But to give the audience a shape shifting creature like Venom is being done easier with CGI. And here often the problems begin.

James Cameron once said, the best visual effects are those you don’t see. The problem with CGI is to hide it in scenes, where CGI meets real life actors. The artificial imagery often doesn’t really fit into the scene.

Venom obviously uses a lot of CGI but in small doses. For instance you never see how Venom literally eats an opponent. That gives most likely a lower rating to the movie but also solves the problem of making the CGI swallow a real life actor. And by the way: It’s often what you don’t see, that works best on your mind.

Venom has fast paced action scenes with not to much gigantic explosions and other light effects. This fast pace gives the CGI a kind of blur, that makes it look much more realistic. The creatures don’t do anything, that doesn’t fit their size and apperance, are sometimes simply and brilliantly hidden in some smoke or fog, which makes predatoric nature still more believable.

Explosiones there are only a few and they don’t have the size that would seemingly destroy New York (or in this case San Francisco) in whole.

And that fast paced action finally is always broken by some more calm scene, that lives completly from the actors and the non CGI scenery, giving the eye and the mind a little break. So well done, I say.


So, what’s the quintessence of all this?

If you love the cinema of great characters, you might want to leave out that movie. As the most comic book adaptions Venom has not much depth in its characters. They are perhaps as twodimensional as comic books themselves. Venom it not high art.

But in that case you are most likely waiting for some french drama. Not that the french drama is something bad. It’s just not what Venom is.

If you simple want to shut off and relax your mind, grab a bucket of pop corn and a large softdrink and have a look at Venom. Don’t expect too much – most of all not a too deep story. Just sit, watch and smile a bit.

Despite all the changes to the comic book original (It’s a multiverse, remember?) Venom is a good reason to visit the cinema next to you, if you have no plans for the evening. Especially if your a comic book enthusiast (don’t forget that multiverse thing in that case).

But if the movie must have a deeper sense for you to like it, you better stay at home and read a good book. Or talk to your partner. Or play games with friends.

Venom is not this fall’s must see movie. But it is great pop corn cinema and no waste of time, if you watch it.

Visual appearance:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Story:3 out of 5 stars (3.0 / 5)
Pop corn factor:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Average:3.8 out of 5 stars (3.8 / 5)

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