What have you been watching?


Postby Australia » Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:55 pm


Oh, right, these reviews are generally significantly longer than they need to be. Fine. The first half was hot garbage, the second half was a lot of fun and by the end of the year, I’ll completely forget to include it when I’m ranking my favourite superhero properties. Of all the movies about an inhuman intelligence with a hidden agenda attaching to a host and telling him what to do while showing how surprisingly badass it is at fighting considering it’s never had a real body before that came out this year, this is the second best, unless I’m forgetting one. Did that happen in Annihilation? I enjoyed that movie but kind of forgot a lot of it. Venom has some legitimately great action sequences but none on the level of Upgrade and the banter between personalities is nowhere near as charming. I’m glad I saw it at the cinema like I’m glad I saw The Meg at the cinema. Because it would be a lot less awesome on the small screen (which was confirmed recently when my brother made me watch it again, despite me saying the shark is the only cool thing in the movie and that’s directly because of the size of a cinema screen). If you haven’t seen it, I’ll say it’s better than you’d think a Spiderman spinoff not set in the Spiderman universe would be but it’s more of a comedy than a supervillain or even antihero movie. If you have seen it, you know where to click. You don’t? Geez, you’re a regular Eddie Brock, aren’t you?
The Good
This picks up immediately where Life leaves off. No jump forward or anything. No, but seriously, this could very well work as a sequel to that perfectly okay movie, especially since this too is a perfectly okay movie. Granted, from memory the ship with the world ending alien goo landed in a lake and not the woods at the end of that movie but we can call it a retcon or something, right? Because then this could be a semi-redemption arc for the monster. I mean, come on, the company is called Life. That has to be deliberate! I don’t know why I want this so much. I have no attachment to either movie other than I enjoyed them at the time (at the time being a few hours ago in Venom’s case but I don’t think there’s restrictions on that phrase).

The car chase is by far the best scene. I didn’t realise car doors were stronger than Captain America’s shield and could survive a blast that was toppling everything else and not even wiggle the motorbike he was riding, but that was cool enough that it’s staying out of the bad section. Don’t worry, there’ll be plenty there. Patience. Venom pulling all these ridiculous stunts so the bad guys never stood a chance at catching them was just outstanding. And then when they do get cornered, there’s a great bait-and-switch with him almost biting the guy’s head off only to get shot at by the other henchman and biting his head off instead. Actually, the head-biting gags are consistently funny throughout. The lack of blood was distracting but this is a movie about a killer alien puppeteering a disgraced reporter and learning how to love so let’s not look at this too closely.

Surprise Woody was great, presuming that hair was meant to make everyone laugh. It’s a shame he had to literally say ‘There’s gonna be Carnage in theatres next year if this sells enough tickets to guarantee a cinematic spinoffiverse.

There’s some solid slapstick in this. My favourite was probably when Venom popped out of Eddie for the first time and he fell into the bathtub.

I kind of liked pedestrians staring at Eddie whenever he talked to himself. I’ll get into his intelligence later on but at least it’s acknowledged here. I saw a forgettable movie where people could talk to each other through some magic connection where they could see through each other’s eyes and the girl would always pretend to be on the phone when they talked but the guy would just talk to nothing in the middle of his workplace and ends up getting fired. I’m pretty sure someone incorrectly called him smart at one point in that movie too. Anyway, it reminded me of that.

When you think Eddie's going to jump the fence and he just charges through it.

As much as this movie is a collection of fun scenes than it is great story or character work, I did really like the whole symbiote halves rubbing off on each other thing. Like Eddie goes from being a likable douchebag to a guy who’s willing to kill and Venom goes from world conquering monster to shackle-free vigilante as their brains kind of merge, one learning how to be evil, one learning how to be good, until they reach a happy compromise and just decapitate someone and nonchalantly walk away. It’s that kind of dark comedy that works in the movie’s favour.

The line I laughed the loudest at I can’t remember and it’s really frustrating. I’ll edit it back in if I remember it.


“Mask.” Copy.

At no point did Eddie go emo and dance down the street.

The Bad
Originitis. A parasite comes down to space and possesses our main character shouldn’t take half a movie to tell. When it showed Anne was on the lawsuit, I thought ‘oh, this is how Eddie gets Venomed. When Eddie starts investigating, I thought ‘oh, this is how Eddie gets Venomed.’ When Eddie gets fired and dumped, I thought ‘oh, he’s easy prey now, I guess.’ Twenty minutes later, I was rocking back and forth in my chair, whispering ‘something happen, god dammit’ and then the idiot whose boss insisted was smart, breaks the alien out of its cell and starts beating ass and I’m like ‘Finally, I don’t care why it happened, at least the movie’s started.’

But seriously, if they established Eddie as an idiot, I’d be a lot more forgiving of the movie but the boss insisted he was going to miss his smartest reporter and the reporter couldn’t deduce what was happening to him after Jean-Ralpio’s sister told him about the alien that sucks the life out of people and he subsequently smashes open the lab containing an alien and the alien jumps his bones. He’s further shocked later on when it’s revealed Venom is still sucking the life out of him. Maybe this is in the Idiocracy universe and the boss is dumb in comparison to Eddie which is why he thinks Eddie’s smart. Having said that, I do appreciate the ending not being spelled out. Like they didn’t have to bring the doctor in to say ‘the reason you’re not dying anymore is because the part of Venom that was making you sick is the very same part that was blown up which is why you’re now a true symbiote.’ And then Eddie would have to say ‘Speak English, doc, I’m a layman over here’ and Venom would sigh and shrug his shoulders, look at the screen and say ‘Is that little girl still available as a host? She seemed to know her shit more than this guy.’ And then Porky Pig would tear into the centre of the screen and say ‘That’s all folks.’ And then Venom would say in a menacing voice ‘Or is it?’ Montage of Venom and Eddie having picnics and stopping crime in the bloodiest possible way set to Queen's You’re My Best Friend.

What? You want me to take this seriously? Then you’re going in the bad section too. Yeah, doesn’t feel good, does it?

As fun as the scene is, why did Eddie go through all the effort of getting in and out of the journalism building to leave his phone if it never comes up again. Did I miss something or was that whole exposing Life corporation subplot dropped completely after that scene? I don’t remember any news stories about the craziest man on Earth trying desperately to get off Earth by murdering people willy-nilly. I guess they mention at the end he was offered a job but I thought that was more because he saw the whole VvV thing go down firsthand.

Speaking of the climax:
a) Ah yes, the ticking crock.
b) Men In Black 3 much? I mean there are tons of movies that end with a fight near an important rocket launch to stop/ensure said launch but I love that movie more than most people and it’s definitely funnier than this movie, and with the amount of awkward coughs in the cinema, I assume the attempted genre of this movie was comedy. Or maybe we were all infected by parasites and coughing is the first symptom. Why not both?
c) Same vs same is a trope in superhero movies where it either works or it doesn’t. It works in Logan, it doesn’t work in Black Panther and here it’s kind of just passable. I liked them tearing each other’s parasites and then turning into an amorphous sort of thing so I guess it was done differently enough that it was fun. And it also gets a pass because if it was an entirely different alien or antagonist, we’d have to have spent another hour on that origin and really, the plot is the least interesting thing about the movie. Scene after scene of Eddie and Venom beating things up and getting out of crazy situations was what made this movie enjoyable and not all movies can be Civil War where they set up Cap and Bucky fighting winter soldiers only to reveal they’re already dead. It’s just ever since that great subversion, the trope is hit and miss and it all depends on execution.
d) Venom says out of nowhere that his weakness is fire. When we find out the climax is going to be at a rocket launch, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist Eddie Brock to figure out where this is going.

“Have a nice life” ended a conversation at least three times (probably four, can’t remember if Anne said it), two in consecutive scenes.

After murdering a bunch of cops, Eddie says no to biting one of their heads off. I mean, glad to see you still have a moral code, bro, but that doesn’t make you sympathetic, Your Majesty.

I assume comic book fans will not like this characterisation because I can’t imagine this is anywhere near as menacing in tone as the Venom in the comics.

Stan Lee egging Eddie and Venom to double team Anne is not a great cameo. It’s not necessarily bad. If we’re saying the MCU watcher is hopping across all universes, it makes sense that he’d know the identity but does Venom know that? I guess he’s not scared since he could just bite an old man’s head off if he does anything more than wink at his identity but I think I’m giving this too much thought.

If Drake’s Venom turned out to be the shape of a duck, I would have forgiven this entire movie and given it an A plus.

I believe the exact stanza is ‘A turd in the wind is worth two in the bush.’ Read a book, Venom. But seriously, that last scene would have been a lot better if we didn’t already know Venom was still kicking in the previous scene. Like we know he’s going to pop out and kill the mugger anyway but the movie knows it too because Eddie was chatting to Venom on the way in.

At no point did Eddie go emo and dance down the street.

The Ugly
Eddie listens to Eckhart Tolle tapes. Who is he, my mum?

On the bright side, there was enough bad stuff in this movie that these are fun to write again. Hooray!
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