Venom is a 2018 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, produced by Columbia Pictures in association with Marvel.
The movie begins with a space shuttle owned by the Life Foundation preparing to return to Earth after an expedition where it found four alien lifeforms. The ship crashes upon entering the atmosphere, most of the astronauts die, and one of the lifeforms escapes the containment unit. Carlton Drake, CEO of the Life Foundation, immediately orders to study the lifeforms. Drake's scientists determine that the alien lifeforms can infuse themselves with an organic body in a similar fashion to a parasite, they aim to achieve symbiosis with the host body, because of that they were dubbed "Symbiotes". However, human bodies often reject the symbiotes, resulting in the human dying and the symbiote getting injured.
Eddie Brock, a famous and highly prestigious reporter, is fired from his job after he interviewed Drake regarding the Life Foundation's space explorations and made wild accusations regarding experiments with humans resulting in deaths. 6 months later, Eddie's life is a total dumpster, he's unemployed, living in poverty, and his fiance Anne dumped him. A scientist from the Life Foundation persuades Eddie to investigate the Life Foundation as his accusations against Drake were accurate. Eddie sneaks into the Life Foundation and finds multiple test subjects dead after experiments with Symbiotes. One of the Symbiotes escapes and attaches itself to Eddie, forcing Eddie to escape. Meanwhile, the Symbiote that escaped the shuttle is slowly making its way to the Life Foundation jumping from body to body.
The next day Eddie finds himself very ill and hearing a sinsiter voice in his head, he runs into Anne and her new bodyfriend Dan who is a doctor. Dan notices Eddie is sick and runs some tests on him, the tests determine that Eddie caught a parasite that's making him sick. Later that night, Eddie is attacked by goons from the Life Foundation, but before they can shoot him, black tentacles sprout from Eddie's body and murders the goons. Eddie tries to flee but is cornered by Drake's agents, at that moment the Symbiote fully takes over Eddie's body, transforming him into a black alien monster that devours his attacker. The monster escapes and transforms back into Eddie.
The Symbiote sprouts a head and properly introduces himself as Venom; Eddie is suspicious of Venom but Venom assures him that the symbiosis between him and Eddie is too perfect. Venom needs Eddie's body to survive in Earth and wants to get back to the Life Foundation, Eddie remains wary of Venom but reluctantly lets him stay as he needs his help. The missing Symbiote reaches Drake and attaches himself to it. Anne witnesses Eddie transform into Venom and murder more people, she takes Eddie to Dan's office where they find out Symbiotes are hurt by loud noises and manage to extract Venom from Eddie's body. Shortly after Eddie is captured and taken to Drake, Venom takes over Anne's body so she can take him to Eddie.
Drake is convinced that Symbiotes are the key for human survival and is planning to use the shuttle to bring millions of Symbiotes to Earth. Eddie taunts that Venom is no longer in his body, enraged, Drake tranforms into Riot, the symbiote leader. Eddie escapes but Riot forces the Life Foundation to begin the launching process. Venom and Anne find Eddie and Venom goes back to his body. Venom wants to stop Riot from bringing the Symbiotes to Earth since unlike him, the other symbiotes quickly kill their hosts and would exterminate all life on Earth in just weeks. Anne and Eddie confront Venom about why all of a sudden he's acting good, Venom admits that he's an outcast among Symbiotes and doesn't want to share Earth with any of them.
Eddie transforms into Venom once more and ambushes Riot before he can get into the shuttle. Riot and Venom fight but Venom finds himself overpowered. Anne stuns Venom and Riot with a loud radio, splitting them from Eddie and Drake respectively. Riot recovers and impales Eddie before merging back with Drake and jumping to the rocket. At the last second Venom joins Eddie again and sabotages the rocket, causing it to explode with Riot and Drake inside killing both of them but Venom seemingly perishes as well.
A few days later Anne offers Eddie to be friends again, completely unaware that Venom survived and is still in his body. Eddie decides to let Venom stay under the condition that Venom only murders bad people.
- The very first problem comes from the absence of Spider-Man, who is integral to Venom's origin.
- The real reason that this film was made in the first place was just so that Sony Pictures would be able to still hold onto the Spider-Man film rights and not lose them to Marvel Studios, just like Fox holding onto the Fantastic Four and X-Men film rights.
- Poor pacing: The first half of the movie is very slow paced, then the second half is too fast-paced. Venom doesn't appear until the second act, which isn't really a good move for a two-hour film.
- The supporting characters are pointless and don't contribute much to the plot of the film and are half baked.
- Riz Ahmed was miscast as Carlton Drake, who is supposed to be an American in the comics.
- The are several scenes that were clearly supposed to be violent and gory but were edited out to have Venom murder his victims off-screen. It almost feels like the movie was supposed to be R-rated but it was dropped to PG-13.
- Some cringe-worthy moments, such as the "Turd in the wind" line and the scene where Eddie makes out with Anne while she's possessed by the symbiote and Eddie eating from the trash and vomiting.
- All of the action scenes take place at night and because Venom is a big pitch black monster he can be hard to see in the dark sometimes.
- Mediocre CGI, which might be why the action takes place mostly at night.
- A generic origin story plot that does nothing to make it unique, and it is full of pointless side characters (as mentioned earlier) and it feels more like an early 2000s superhero movie.
- The other symbiotes are underutilized heavily, especially Carnage, who only appears once to setup the sequel and apparently had an hour of scenes removed. The only symbiotes in the movie who are that important are Venom himself and Riot.
- Riot, one of the symbiotes like Venom, is yet another grey CGI monster. He even steals Carnage's weapon shapeshifting abilities.
- While it can be disappointing that Spider-Man doesn't appear, the lore in the movie is adjusted so that Venom can work despite his absence.
- Despite being very noticeably toned down to fit the PG-13 rating, there are some gruesome moments and effects that are quite effective.
- Tom Hardy is a big improvement over Topher Grace as Eddie Brock from Spider-Man 3. This incarnation of Eddie Brock is more sympathetic, his reaction to having the symbiote in his body is more accurate to how a real person would react to getting infected with a parasite that make its host a cannibal. His performance as Eddie Brock is also great.
- Venom is given a proper characterization that is entertaining to watch and properly captures his goofball character in the comics. His motivations are purely selfish rather than heroic.
- Carlton Drake, while yet another generic CEO and supposed to be an American depicted in the comics, is a fairly interesting antagonist, at least prior to him becoming Riot.
- The dynamic between Eddie and Venom is fun to watch. Rather than the two immediately bonding, there's plenty of back and forth between them as Venom often bullies Eddie while Eddie wants Venom to only devour bad people.
- It's an improvement over other superhero films like Daredevil or Elektra.
- Similar to GQ#7, after the undercooked catastrophes that were Elektra and Catwoman, at least we finally get an okay anti-hero movie.
- The awesome quote “We are Venom”.
- Awesome soundtrack composed by Ludwig Göransson.
- Stan Lee cameo at the climax of the film, like every single Marvel movie does.
Venom received generally negative reviews from critics for its script, tone, pacing and lack of connection to Spider-Man, though Hardy's performance received some praise, while audience reviews are positive. The review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes reports an approval rating of 29% based on 346 reviews, with an average rating of 4.42/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Venom's first standalone movie turns out to be like the comics character in all the wrong ways—chaotic, noisy, and in desperate need of a stronger attachment to Spider-Man.". Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 35 out of 100, based on 46 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".
The movie had a very strong opening and was a commercial success.
- The movie was in development hell for many years, starting in 1997 with a failed pitch to New Line Cinema. Then, the project was brought back in 2008 as a planned spin-off for the Sam Raimi Spider-Man films. After that, Sony planned to release a Venom film after the planned Amazing Spider-Man 3, which was cancelled. The project was revived again in 2016, and finally released in 2018.
- Venom isn't considered canon to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as Marvel Studios had no involvement with it. However, Sony had plans to make Venom "indirectly part of the MCU", which Marvel Studios refused to allow. This led to many conflicting reports regarding the movie's role in the MCU.
- This was the last movie in which Stan Lee made a cameo prior to his death in November 2018. However, he made two more posthumous cameos in Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame.
- It's also the only 15 rating by the BBFC that Stan Lee made a cameo.