Venom had the right ingredients from an incredibly talented actor starring, a multi Oscar-nominated actress in the love interest role and an interesting anti-hero in the form of black goo. Unfortunately, the execution wasn’t the best.
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Action, Horror
Sony | PG13 – 112 min. – $38.99 | December 18, 2018
Date Published: 12/24/2018 | Author: The Movieman
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.
THE MOVIE — 2.5/5
There might be one good outcome with the terrible first trailer for Venom: it certainly lowered my expectations to the point where it barely met that low bar. What the movie showed me is how well oiled a machine the proper Marvel Studios are and, save for Spider-Man: Homecming, the Sony Marvel and Fox Marvel (which will be wrapped into Marvel Studios in the next couple of years) have somewhat been unsuccessful in their outputs.
The plot of Venom focuses on beat reporter Eddie Brock (TOM HARDY) who is down and almost out following being fired after going up against billionaire “philanthropist” Carlton Drake (RIZ AHMED). Brock not only loses his job, but also his lawyer fiancé Anne (MICHELLE WILLIAMS) after he betrays her trust, as she is part of the team defending Drake against a lawsuit resulting from the crash landing of a spaceship carrying alien symbiotes, one which is on the loose and others taken back to Drake’s labs to be experimented on, and eventually duping down and out people for human trials.
Brock’s life changes when one of the escaped symbiotes, named Venom (also voiced by Tom Hardy), makes its way to San Francisco and, after being snuck into Drake’s science complex by a disillusioned scientist (JENNY SLATE), tries to rescue those in captivity, resulting in the Venom symbiote being transferred to Brock, thus transforming him into a lean and mean fighting machine… being controlled by a black oozy alien.
Of course, Drake, who has not found any success with pairing the symbiote with humans, as he for some reason wants to remake the world into… aliens or for money? I have no f’ing clue to be honest what his motivations, though nothing new as Venom, later in the movie, decides he likes our world and Brock himself, turns from villain to anti-hero. Whatever. Soon, Drake himself gets his own symbiote, the evil Riot hell-bent on bringing its kind and taking over the planet. Cue CGI vs. CGI battle.
Although I wasn’t exactly looking forward to seeing Venom, and the first trailer was bad, I had some interest if only for Tom Hardy who is one hell of an actor and I don’t care what people say, I did like his performance as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises (and at the very least, atoned for the terrible version seen in Batman & Robin). Here, although whatever that voice he used was odd, it wasn’t as grating as I feared but unfortunately he is saddled with a half-baked script.
Meanwhile, the supporting cast doesn’t have much to contribute. Michelle Williams might not play a bystander character, she didn’t seem have much to offer, albeit Anne isn’t much of a character anyway. Riz Ahmed was alright in Rogue One, but as the film’s villain, he was rather terrible and even by forgettable Marvel (Fox, Sony and Marvel proper alike) antagonists, he’s one of the worst of the bunch, and as I mentioned, Drake’s motivations weren’t entirely clear, more power I guess?
Venom was under the direction of Ruben Fleischer, a filmmaker with a mixed resume. After garnering praise and a cult following with Zombieland, his follow-ups 30 Minutes or Less and Gangster Squad weren’t critical darlings, albeit I did enjoy both of the films, so from that front, this was disappointing as Fleischer is certainly a capable director, but saddled with both a bad script —written by Jeff Pinkner (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, The Amazing Spider-Man 2), Scott Rosenberg (Gone in Sixty Seconds) and Kelly Marcel (Fifty Shades of Grey) — and limited budget making this visual effects extravaganza film seem to be something coming from the early 2000s, a big problem when your title character is almost complete CGI.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.75/5
This release comes with a semi-glossy slip cover. Inside contains the redemption code for the Digital HD copy.
Venom Mode – This is a pop-up trivia track that plays along with the movie providing information on the production as well as the source material.
Deleted & Extended Scenes (5:00; HD) – Here we get three scenes either excised or cut down including an extension of the mid-credit scene.
From Symbiote to Screen (20:03; HD) is a look at the comic book origins of Venom and company and adapting him for the big screen and includes interviews with Tom Hardy, Ruben Fleischer and even Kevin Smith amongst others.
The Anti-Hero (10:01; HD) is a character featurette on both Eddie Brock and Venom and has the same interview participants from the previous featurette.
The Lethal Protector in Action (9:14; HD) is a cool behind-the-scenes featurette looking at the filming of the action sequences.
Venom Vision (7:02; HD) is a featurette on director Ruben Fleischer’s approach to making the film.
Designing Venom (5:34; HD) is on the visual effects design behind the character and keeping it as close to the comics as possible.
Symbiote Secrets (2L40; HD) is a short production featurette looking at some of the visual easter eggs.
Select Scenes Pre-Vis (13:53; HD) – There are visual effects to final film comparisons for 8 scenes.
Music Videos (7:45; HD) are available for ‘Venom’ by Eminem and ‘Sunflower’ by Post Malone, Swae Lee for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
Lastly there is a Sneak Peek (3:34; HD) for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse which also played at the end of Venom.
Previews – Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Alpha, The Front Runner, The Girl in the Spider’s Web, Searching
VIDEO – 4.5/5
|Venom bites off the head of the Blu-ray where the film is presented in its original 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and given a 1080p high-definition transfer. No real surprise, but the picture does look great in HD where detail is sharp throughout and despite the darkness of the film, due to many scenes taking place at night (likely to hide some of the poorer CGI shots), there are some splashes of color and skin tones do appear natural looking. There were no apparent signs of artifacts, aliasing or banding.|
AUDIO – 4.25/5
|The disc includes a solid enough though nothing mind-blowing DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (I believe the 4K UHD comes with an Atmos track, no idea why studios don’t use the same codec on both releases like Warner does). Whatever the reason, this is probably inferior but even so, the track does come to life during the action sequences alongside the clear dialogue levels. It’s nothing overly robust nor will it give the surround system a workout, but certainly still serviceable.|
OVERALL – 2.75/5
Overall, Venom had the right ingredients from an incredibly talented actor starring, a multi Oscar-nominated actress in the love interest role and an interesting anti-hero in the form of black goo. Unfortunately, the execution wasn’t the best with a weak-ass villain, performed poorly, a haphazard script with questionable character motivations and CGI that looked like it came from the early 2000s. This might’ve played perfectly well pre-Dark Knight, but I would expect better as even the more light-hearted Ant-Man movies were better than this; further goes to show Sony should pair up with Marvel proper more (see Spider-Man: Homecoming). This Blu-ray release offers up good video/audio transfers and a good selection of bonus material.
Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.