Venom Suffers From Attempted Social Commentary

by | Oct 3, 2021 | Podcast, Two Drink Cinema | 0 comments

Q: What do you get when you cross Big Pharma with Elon Musk?
A: You get the villain of Columbia’s contractually obliged use of Marvel property, Venom (the 2018 one). 

But isn’t Venom a villain? Well, yes, in the comics he is and that’s what I was expecting heading into this movie. Riz Ahmed plays Carlton Drake, director of the Life Foundation and organisation whose space exploration program retrieves mysterious alien organisms in their quest to find a way off this near-uninhabitable planet. Their experiments related to these organisms, which they call Symbiotes, would have even the dodgiest Big Pharma executive calling their old ethics professor for advice and so disgraced reporter Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) investigates. This is where Brock meets Venom, the alien organism who invades his body. 

The battle begins between Venom and Brock as we learn that the Symbiotes weren’t discovered by Drake’s Life Foundation but actually hitched a ride here to take over the world. This is where we learn that the real villains of the movie are these Symbiotes. Carlton Drake is merely there as a comment on the evils of the corporate world. 

The comment is well made. The presentation of Drake as the big man, sitting above everyone in San Fransisco with an ‘untouchable’ level of money, making decisions that no one questions. His treatment of ‘lesser’ people is left unchecked by everyone in the organisation until one of his offsiders enlists Brock to report on his actions. It’s a very relevant comment for 2018 and still relevant now. And it’s a very clever way of introducing us to the Symbiotes and their ‘body snatching’ tendencies. The investigative report of Brock is what leads him into the lab and that’s how he gets taken over by Venom.

The takeover of Brock by Venom is the most successful by the lab’s standards. Venom and Brock become cohabitants in Brock’s body in a very violent way and then Venom proceeds to give us a full display of the power and ferocity of the Symbiotes. 

The action sequences that demonstrate this are impressive, there’s no doubt. Hardy’s performance as both the loser Brock and the evil power of Venom is excellent. We get to see the pure, unstoppable violence of Venom and the capabilities of this invading race. 

It’s a clear contrast between this power and the character of Eddie Brock. The movie does a great job of setting up the fact that Eddie Brock (Hardy) is a loser. He’s in San Fransisco because he was fired from his reporting job at the Daily Globe in New York. But when he’s charged by his network with doing a puff piece on Carlton Drake, Brock can’t help but read the confidential files of his lawyer fiance Anne (Michelle Williams) and the light interview becomes hard-hitting and gets him fired from another job. The breach of confidentiality gets Anne fired and subsequently Eddie loses his fiance. So despite having a skill set that’s perfectly suited to the digital entrepreneurial age of the 21st century within six months he’s almost destitute. 

But there’s little work put into setting up that Venom is in the same situation on their home planet. Venom is dominant in everything that he does. He quickly asserts himself and we see him as an indiscriminately destructive entity that is hell-bent on taking over Earth but is also really keen to bite the heads off people. Venom uses Brock as a vehicle to reach the Life Foundation lab to meet up with Riot, the ‘team leader’, to complete their global takeover. But somewhere along the way Venom changes his mind. We don’t really know when or why but he informs Eddie that back on his home planet he was a loser, just like Brock and Venom actually likes Earth so is suddenly determined to save the planet from Riot. 

I don’t know if I wasn’t paying close enough attention but this seemed to happen very quickly. It’s almost like they got the final scenes of the movie and realised that Venom was a bad guy, and they had Hardy contracted for two more movies and they needed to quickly set it up for people to want to watch the sequels. 

It’s not the first movie that’s tried to add social commentary at the expense of the real story and the real genre of the picture and despite the misspent timing of the story overall it’s a solid comic book action movie. Sony has done well to make a strong film out of one of the Marvel properties not owned or contracted by Disney. The action is engaging and exciting. Tom Hardy’s performance as both Brock and Venom is strong and again shows his versatility. While the social commentary takes a little too much time it’s a very relevant point. Overall, I’m looking forward to whenever we get to see Venom: Let There Be Carnage in Melbourne’s post-lockdown cinema reopening. 

 

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Compare the Pair – The Witches

We reviewed and compared The Witches 1990 and 2020. Nostalgia aside, it’s pretty clear to us which one comes out on top.

Self Development In Lockdown Is Bullsh*t

Jeff still can’t play the guitar, and that’s OK! Self-development in lockdown is not a requirement, survival is.

Halloween (1978) – The Worst Movie To Define A Genre

Halloween might be a genre-defining slasher film but deep down it’s low-budget B-grade horror flick.

“Anxiety is a bitch” – The ‘No Pants’ tips for anxiety

“Anxiety is a bitch”. Jeff and Lee have both suffered from it. Hopefully our experience helps others with these tips for anxiety.

Hairspray Is The Horniest Family Movie Around

I didn’t realise until my most recent rewatch that Hairspray (2007) is a very horny movie, but somehow remains appropriate for families.

The No Pants Advice For Extended Lockdown

This lockdown extension is tough. We didn’t intend to talk about lockdown on this week’s episode, but with the way it’s affecting everyone in Melbourne, including the two of us, we couldn’t avoid it.

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

Based on the Stage Musical of the same name, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is the story of 16-year-old Jamie New who dreams of becoming a drag queen. Set in Sheffield, England, the film follows Jamie (Max Harwood) on a journey of...

Worth (2021) Review

As we approached the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, Sara Colangelo’s Netflix film Worth, starring Michael Keaton, Amy Ryan and Stanley Tucci, presented as an emotional, untold story, led by a high-accredited cast asking audiences...

The New Cinderella Review

Kay Cannon’s new Cinderella movie challenges the antiquated trope of the usual fairytale storyline with strong messages of female empowerment and equality, however, it is somewhat forgettable as the overall silliness and pantomime feeling of...

Coming Attractions – September

What a month September was meant to be for cinematic releases in Australia. But, like everything in the last two years the September movie releases have been, well, stuffed basically, by Covid-19 and the restrictions that come along with it. If you’re a reader from basically any country other than Australia you can probably head to the cinema and see these films as scheduled. But here in Oz, we had to do a bit of guesswork. Several movies have been rescheduled and a number have been moved onto streaming services. Here’s what we’re looking forward to.