Reviewed by: Francisco Gomez Jr.
Anti-heros in films
Performing unethical medical experiments on people
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
Tom Hardy … Eddie Brock—investigative journalist / Venom
Michelle Williams … Anne 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
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|Director:||Ruben Fleischer—“Zombieland” (2009), “Gangster Squad” (2013), “30 Minutes or Less” (2011)|
|Producer:||Columbia Pictures Corporation
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|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.
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.
“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
Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer
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
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.