VENOM Review: A Few Missteps Aside, Sony's Uneven Spider-Man Spin-Off Is Not Bad At All

The initial reactions to Sony's Venom were decidedly mixed, but now that the embargo has lifted we can tell you that a lot of them were quite harsh on the movie. Find out what we thought after the jump...

The trailers for the Venom movie did not inspire confidence, and when we found out that reviews were embargoed until a day or two before the movie was set to hit theaters and the initial reactions were mixed/negative, we obviously assumed the worst.

So, is Venom really that bad? Actually, no... not at all.

Granted, the movie does not get off to a very good start. After a rushed opening sequence we're awkwardly introduced to our main characters, none of whom really make much of an impression and spout some woeful dialogue as the rather pedestrian plot unfolds. This makes most of the first act a bit of a slog, but once Eddie Brock bonds with the symbiote the movie becomes a riot (no pun).

Tom Hardy devours the scenery much like his ravenous alien pal here, but most of the time it works and makes for some hilarious - granted, sometimes unintentionally so - moments. The only problem is, while he's clearly having a blast going way OTT, his supporting cast are all on autopilot.

Nobody would ever accuse Michelle Williams or Riz Ahmed of being bad actors, but to say they phone in their performances here would be an understatement, and their characters never become more than the token love interest and villain, respectively. Jenny Slate does make an impression as a Life Foundation scientist, but she's not given enough to do.

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The real star of the show, however, is the psychotic symbiote himself. Venom is a fantastic creation (even when some of the CGI that brings him to life is a little sketchy) and the interactions between he and Eddie are a definite highlight. Plus, when he fully takes over his host the action sequences get a lot more exciting - although the final boss battle does become a little tedious.

Perhaps the biggest problem with Venom is that it doesn't make enough of an impact to justify its existence as a standalone film. No, not everything needs to be part of a larger universe, but the character's origins are so deeply connected to Spider-Man that completely bypassing this seems like a missed opportunity.

Venom is crazy, cringey, funny, and maybe even a bit of a mess - but it's never less than entertaining. It'll be interesting to see how - or more accurately, if - this "Spider-Man movie universe without Spider-Man" progresses, but there's definitely some potential here.

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