Venom proves to be a piece of toxic tripe

words fae Olivia Armstrong (@starcadet96)

This isn’t Venom’s first debut on the big screen, much to Sam Raimi’s dismay. Despite his personal dislike for the character, studio interference insisted that Raimi have him appear in his third installment of his original Spider-Man trilogy, despite the script already being full to bursting with characters and plotlines. As a result, the first cinematic debut of Venom in 2007 (played by Topher Grace) gets as little screen-time as was allowed and has almost no bearing on the whole film save for one fight scene at the end, which left many fans disappointed.                          

This is Sony’s third attempt at a Spider-Man property, as The Amazing Spider-Man series was cancelled after a mere two films, with Andrew Garfield playing the role and Sam Raimi’s original trilogy still being well-regarded but left on a sour note with many fans. Despite loaning the titular web-slinging hero out to Marvel and consequently being unable to use the character themselves, Sony still very much wants to make it known that they are clinging onto the rights to the Spider-Man universe like Uncle Ben on his death bed.                

Despite the fairly impressive effects of Venom in all his gooey glory, the first trailers didn’t do much to build hype for the film, with awkward editing and the inclusion of lines that were hard to believe were actually real (the infamous “turd in the wind” line has already reached meme status due to the disbelief that something so hilariously stupid was meant to be seen as a badass threat). Sony’s review embargo until October 2nd wasn’t a good look either, as it came off as a borderline admission from Sony that they were aware they had a stinker on their hands.

The first half hour of the film largely relegates itself to clunky exposition and establishing Eddie Brock as one the worst journalists in comic book film history. We learn that he has a hugely popular show and is regarded as an excellent investigative journalist. But that doesn’t seem to match up with what we see, as he talks over his interviewees, dresses like he slept in his car, doesn’t bother to fact check (to the point where in his opening interview with the corrupt corporate villain, he is corrected by the bad guy himself) and hacks into his girlfriend’s computer to find classified information and stupidly use it live on air right in front of the villain instead of doing any investigation of his own. This, of course, gets him fired and his girlfriend dumps him on the spot.

But things pick up when it’s revealed that alien organisms known as Symbiotes are being tested on human hosts by Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), who’s been using poor people and addicts as test subjects to see if he can give birth to a new superior race of alien-humans able to live in space. After being smuggled in by an employee who decides to trust him for some reason (despite previous establishment of him as a terrible journalist), the Symbiote known as Venom escapes and it turns out he and Eddie are a perfect match.

Tom Hardy is one of the most likeable and enjoyable actors working today, but even he has his limits and this film found them. Not to say that he is boring or uncomfortable. On the contrary, he makes what would be a bland and forgettable product into an insane buffet of ham and cheese through his performance. It’s a perfect combination of under-acting and extreme over-acting that brings us head-first into Nicolas Cage‘s Ghost Rider territory. Considering the rumours that large chunks of the film were cut (and it shows),  what they did decide to keep is strange, to say the least. There is even a moment in which he makes out with a sexy Venom. I’m sure there’s one guy out there rejoicing that the fanfiction he wrote while stoned one night was noticed by the films writers and put into the script on a dare.

While there are some intentional laughs in the film, the biggest ones are in the sheer clunky nature and badly-timed humour that’s so unfunny that it comes back around and gets a laugh. There’s even an end credits scene hinting at a cinematic universe, because all the cool studios have cinematic universes now and Sony just wants one so bad.

Venom is bad but it’s bad in a way I’d be eager to see more of. Fantastic Four (2015) had everything wrong with it but one of its biggest crimes was that it was duller than dishwater, with long stretches of boring dialogue and almost nothing happening for two hours. After a clunky start, Venom just never stops with its endless barrage of dumb and almost seems to revel in it.

I don’t think Sony is self-aware enough to know people are laughing at them rather than with them, but at the same time, any laughter is better than none at all. It takes a certain mindset to watch Venom and there’s no mistaking it for a good film, but if this is your kind of dumb, this might just be the turd in the wind for you.

The Reel Filthy Movie News Roundup (13th April – 26th April)

words fae harry sambrook (@DriedCthulu)

Another week, another steaming handful of pop culture detritus. This week I’ll attempt to run through all the important stuff and why it will have a lasting impact in all of our lives forever. Remember to recite my opinions as your own so you can attempt to fill that empty void left by your meaningless relationships and lack of a personality (talking to you, Bobby).

Venom Trailer

Just as I had finished crafting this masterpiece of a report, Sony pictures decided to drop the Venom movie trailer, making me have to scrap my ramblings about the Deadpool trailer. Anyyyyyyyyway this trailer seems to show a lot more of the story elements of this film as well as a much awaited look at what Venom will look like. It’s still unclear about how much it will tie to the existing Marvel Cinematic Universe (my guess is, not at all) but it seems to be doing something interesting with itself despite Sony’s repeated attempts to beat this dead horse full of flies and used needles that is the expanded Spiderman universe.

One thing I have to say is that I cannot and will not believe that Tom Hardy is a news reporter. He looks like the doorman at my local dodgy nightclub, where they check you at the door for contraband. I mean, there’s a scene where he’s cornered in his flat by three or four generic looking disposable villains, and he looks like he could take them all out without the help of super powered space-liquorice. The terrifying presence of Tom Hardy aside, he is a good get and has a strange habit of making the most average of films actually good (e.g. Legend, 2015) and the venom voice and suit looking great and quite horrifying. This has actually made me excited for the film, despite the involvement of Sony.

James Cameron vs. Avengers

James Cameron recently had an interview with Indiewire in which he talked at length about his of the Avengers films and superhero films as well as his own upcoming Avatar sequels. His main point is that the avengers movies are just testosterone fuelled nonsense and that “there are other stories to tell”. Despite the fact that this is the man behind the Terminator films, which in my opinion are also testosterone fuelled nonsense, I can’t help but agree with him. Disney, our all-powerful overlords that govern our every film experience tend to take over the box office for periods of months and prevent other films from gaining any traction. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy these films as much as the next skrub but the current slate for the next few months includes Avengers: Infinity War, Solo: A Who Gives A Crap Story, The Incredibles 2, and Ant-Man & The Wasp. In my local cinema, independent films have only small chance of making any headlines when Avengers is showing 43 times a day for 2 months. Cameron then continues to talk about how his Avatar Sequels will follow a similar trend as the Godfather. Now a lot of people have taken that to mean he thinks they will be as good as the Godfather or it’s sequels but I think he just meant he wanted to emulate the generational aspect of these films in his sequels more than actually comparing them to some of the most highly regarded films of all time.

Fast and the Furious Netflix series

So this is unexpected. From the people that brought you Vin Diesel and his weird egg-shaped head and scowl combination that we know so well is teaming up with the studio that brought us such famed animated hits as Boss Baby: Back in Business and All Hail King Julian, comes a new Fast and the Furious animated TV show. And it’s coming to Netflix. This will be a short one as I care very little for the Fast and the Furious. In fact, I watched the 7th one on a plane in 2015 and had no idea what was happening I turned it off and watched Gone Girl instead. I can only imagine it’s the same as the last XXX film and that was balls and nonsense. Anyway, I’m sure this’ll be exciting for anyone who inexplicably likes this series.

Hot Summer Nights Trailer

Lastly we have a new trailer for the film Hot Summer Nights, starring Timothée Chalamet and Maika Monroe, release from A24. A24 is a smaller studio who has released an incredibly wide range of films, to varying degrees of success. Films I love such as Locke, Ex Machina, Room, Green Room, It Comes at Night, and The Lobster, as well as other films that I don’t like, such as Tusk and The Florida Project. Either way it can be said that they take risks and I am looking forward to seeing this latest release. Written and Directed by Elijah Bynum, it follows a coming of age story of a boy on holiday in Cape Cod. Although it seems like this is Bynum’s first film, I for one am looking forward to seeing what they’ll make out of this seemingly average story. I am definitely hoping for the weirdest shit possible. However, knowing the cinemas where I live, it’ll probably be a pushed out for a Star Wars anthology movie about the backstory of Princess Leia’s buns.

Well that’s it for this week for the news everyone. It was a joyous ride of ups and downs. Of stupid things being said and attempts at being funny. Thanks for reading. It should be said that these are the views of Sam from the Reel Filthy Podcast. The opinions don’t reflect Mac or anyone at Transistor. SO come at me Disney. Aye, that’ll do.

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