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MOVIE REVIEW

Venom also known as “Venom: Zehirli Öfke,” «Веном», «Венъм»

MPAA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPAA) for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for language.

Reviewed by: Francisco Gomez Jr.
CONTRIBUTOR

Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
• Adults • Young-Adults
Genre:
Sci-Fi Action Horror 3D IMAX
Length:
1 hr. 52 min.
Year of Release:
2018
USA Release:
October 5, 2018 (wide—4,000+ theaters)
DVD: December 18, 2018
Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures

Anti-heros in films

Performing unethical medical experiments on people

Aliens (extraterrestrials)

What does the Bible say about intelligent life on other planets? Answer

Are we alone in the universe? Answer

Does Scripture refer to life in space? Answer

questions and answers about the origin of life


What is SIN AND WICKEDNESS? Is it just “bad people” that are sinners, or are YOU a sinner? Answer

Are you good enough to get to Heaven? Answer

How good is good enough? Answer

Do Not Enter

Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures
Featuring: Tom HardyEddie Brock—investigative journalist / Venom
Michelle WilliamsAnne Weying— district attorney and Eddie’s girlfriend
Woody Harrelson
Jenny Slate …
Marcella Bragio … Neighborhood Couple
Riz Ahmed … Dr. Carlton Drake—genius inventor and leader of the Life Foundation / Riot
Ron Cephas Jones …
Michelle Lee … Donna Diego
Reid Scott … Patrick Mulligan
Sope Aluko … Dr. Rosie Collins
Sam Medina … Parolee
See all »
Director: Ruben Fleischer—“Zombieland” (2009), “Gangster Squad” (2013), “30 Minutes or Less” (2011)
Producer: Columbia Pictures Corporation
Marvel Entertainment
See all »
Distributor: Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures

“Giant leaps will come at a cost.”

“Venom” follows investigative reporter Eddie Brock’s (Tom Hardy) efforts to take down the ironically named Life Foundation corporation. Brock has discovered that they are using the poor people of San Francisco to run human experiments. The CEO of the evil company, Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), is obsessed with merging symbiotes—parasitic alien life forms—with humans. Drake’s hope is that it will enable the human species to survive on other planets. When Brock gets infected with a symbiote named Venom, they will have to find a way to stop Drake.

Let’s talk about moviemaking quality before moving on to objectionable content.

The first problem lies in the fact that the movie is very thin. The film attempts to give its villain proper motivation, but the delivery is severely lacking. Riz Ahmed tries to do the most with the script he is given when portraying Drake, but it simply misses the mark. Drake is neither menacing, motivated, or even particularly interesting. The film spends the better part of its first hour setting up the Life Foundation and giving Drake plenty of screen time for very little relevance later on. The film’s first hour drags on for way too long.

While the plot is straight forward, the director felt the need to give exposition after exposition. Drake’s trivial monologues attempt to give him characterization, but are often annoying and badly written. So much so that the movie is self-referential, with a character eventually telling Drake “you talk to much.” The film itself perhaps spends too much time talking, and I was left wondering when it would pick up the pace.

Luckily, there is a particular performance to save the day. Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock is likable, funny, and entertaining. His relationship with Venom is the highlight of the movie. Their dialogs keep the movie afloat. However, Venom does not appear until you are well into the movie. As a result, it feels like two films in one—an uneasy, badly paced origin story, and an entertaining and sometimes even riveting action flick.

Cinematographer Matthew Libatique’s work is a big reason why the action works so well when it arrives. He manages to keep the audience focused in a film with plenty of frenetic movement in often dark lighting to deliver some very entertaining action sequences. The film’s director, Reuben Fleischer, attempts to bring in some of the dark comedy that gave “Zombieland” its success, but it is hit and miss. With a lot of its success owed to Tom Hardy.

Objectionable Content

Violence: The movie pushes the boundary of what is allowed in a PG-13 movie. It is borderline R. Characters have their throats cut, heads eaten, bodies impaled, and bodies contorted. If you are considering watching the film, do not take your children. There is plenty of imagery that they could find disturbing.

Language: An easily avoidable f-bomb immediately warrants the film a heavy rating. The rest of the movie’s language is not pervasive, but it does use s**t throughout. There is another instance of the word p**sy, d*ck and dumba**.

Alcohol/Drugs: Alcoholic beverages are present a few times. No other drugs are present.

Sex/Nudity: There is no nudity in the film. There are kisses, and extramarital sex is implied to have occurred in one scene.

Lessons

“God has abandoned us.”

This line is delivered in a cringy monologue given by Drake. It is his attempt to justify playing God and practicing unethical human experimentation. If God does not want to save us, then humans should do everything to save themselves is his reasoning. It brings to mind the arrogance that humans often display.

“Professing himself to be wise, they became fools” —Romans 1:22

In his attempt to save the human race, Drake is taking advantage of people and demeaning them—grabbing homeless people off the streets and treating them like lab rats. He hides his greed behind his supposedly noble cause. He trusts in his riches to accomplish his goals, and that guides his actions into corruption, and is his ultimate demise.

“Those who trust their riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.” —Proverbs 11:28

The sentiment Drake feels is not shared by just him. There are many people who believe that God has abandoned us or question his existence when faced with the cruelty of the world. However, God has provided the solution for the symbiote of sin that has infected our hearts and corrupted the image of God in us. He has provided forgiveness through his son Jesus.

Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer

What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer

Does God feel our pain? Answer

ORIGIN OF BAD—How did bad things come about? Answer

Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” —John 3:15

He provides refuge for the broken, and rest for the weary.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” –Matthew 11:28-30

However, it is the responsibility of us believers to share this hope and peace that we have experienced with others. Too often we do not share the antidote for the venom in the hearts of men. It is our responsibility to be the ambassadors of God’s grace and love.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” —Matthew 5:14

In the end, the film’s highs and lows average out to a… well… average film. Not a terrible film, but nothing innovative or outstanding to make it a great film. The film’s first half perhaps attempts to leap into being a movie about human progress and its cost. However, it does not balance it well with its humor and action, resulting in a very inconsistent tone. The movie is much better in the second half when it embraces the craziness of its character and when the titular character actually appears.

There is content to consider in making the choice to watch the film, namely the violence. If you ask me, there is not much for you to miss if you decide to skip out. As always, I encourage you to consider what is put into your heart with prayer and discernment.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” —Proverbs 4:23

  • Violence: Very Heavy
  • Profane language: Heavy— • J*sus (3) • G*d-d*mn (4) • H*ll (10) • G*d (4) • Good L*rd
  • Vulgar/Crude language: Heavy
  • Sex: Moderate
  • Nudity: None
  • Occult: No overt occultism, however there is evil intelligent alien possession of a human that partially mirrors the reality of demonic possession

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—Absolutely loved the movie. Found it to be very suspenseful. I don’t disagree with the Moral rating, but I’d have given it a higher movie rating for sure. It keep my son and I on the edge of our seats from beginning to end. Disclaimer: I am a big sci-fi and Marvel fan.

One more thing. I hate horror movies. This was not what I would call a horror movie. It was more the Marvel kind of bad guys vs. The creepy horror movie types.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
Marc Gold, age 56 (USA)
Positive—“Venom” was similar to “Upgrade,” in that there is a symbiont relationship, the parasite controls the host at times and we have the scruffy guy with the refined woman. Venom was less violent and has been around a lot longer so I’m not sure if “Upgrade” was inspired by it or not.

My daughter is a huge Marvel fan and I’m hit or miss with superhero movies. I enjoyed “Venom.” Tom Hardy did great, of course. He is a great actor. The movie was a bit weak with the idea of living on another planet and ours being destroyed. We didn’t see any extra plight upon the Earth, or much talk about it, to show us how crucial it was to find a habitable planet elsewhere. Although, I’m glad that wasn’t shown as it’d probably make the movie feel sad and dark and dismal.

I am not familiar with the story of Venom, the comics or much of the Marvel universe, but it was a fun movie, full of action. I was so pleased there was no sex or nudity, as I’d have to cover my daughter’s eyes and it’d be so awkward. A couple swears were big ones and uncomfortable to hear with my daughter there.

The people being eaten were not shown being consumed. The contorting body was probably the creepiest. I’d stick to the PG-13 rating and not take a child younger than that.

Since Stan Lee just passed away, it was sad to see him do his trade mark cameo and know that may have been his last. Overall, I thought it was an entertaining movie. If you enjoyed it and want to see one similar, but are willing to watch more of a violent film with a grittier feel, you can check out “Upgrade.”
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
Andrea, age 46 (USA)

PLEASE share your observations and insights to be posted here.

Secular Movie Critics
…barely competent as an action flick…
David Sims, The Atlantic
…just stupid enough to be fun without being a waste of time… It’s not high art, or even particularly coherent. But it’s a good time! …
Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair
…dark, wacky… Hardy’s wild-eyed performance and quirky asides invite you to laugh at the silly madness of it all… “Venom” is a fun, fascinating mess… [2½]
Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service
…Tom Hardy's “Venom” should come with an antidote… It’s hard to say which works least — the comic devil-inside-me shtick or the bloated, dark-lit action scenes that take up most of the film’s second half… It’s noncommittally mediocre… [C+]
Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly
…Where to even begin with “Venom,” a film that had me laughing at it so hard I started crying. A horribly scripted film so bad as to be enjoyable, but not bad enough to be good. …
Sarah-Tai Black, The Globe and Mail (Canada)
…uninspired. Venom is riddled with the poison of dullness…
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian (UK)
…“Venom” feels like a throwback, a poor second cousin to the all-stars that have reliably dominated the box-office charts for most of this century. Partly, this is due to the fact that, as an origin story, this one seems rote and unimaginative. On top of that, the writing and filmmaking are blah in every respect; the film looks like an imitator, a wannabe, not the real deal. …
Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
…“Venom”? More like cyanide. …a disaster on every level, from the hatchet-job writing to the horrid performances. …“Venom” has put its focus on juvenile humor instead of heart or action. …
Johnny Oleksinski, New York Post
…A picture in the running for the dubious distinction of being perhaps the worst Marvel-derived origin story ever. …
Soren Andersen, The Seattle Times
…A movie this long in the works should arrive on-screen feeling like more than just an afterthought. …
Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times
…“Venom” is neither triumph nor train-wreck. It’s a mediocre origin story, a superhero host that sadly fails to bond with its comedy parasite. Which is a shame, as there is enough here to to suggest it could have been a blast. …
Ian Freer, Empire [UK]
…It’s a train wreck of a movie, mixing and matching wildly dissonant tones, bizarre plot contrivances, and a truly unique lead performance. …
Bryan Bishop, The Verge
Comments from non-viewers
Negative—…Occult also means secret and there are many secret messages in your faces from the satanic industry that produces these films, preparing us for demonic (alien) invasion, possession and a completely satanic pharmaceutical industry. In fact, it already is, and this film is laughing in our face.
Douglas Quinton, age 44 (United Kingdom)