Director: Ruben Fleischer
Writers: Kelly Marcel, Jeff Pinker, and Scott Rosenberg
Starring: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Scott Haze, Reid Scott
How does “Venom” connect to Spider-Man? Does “Venom” even connect to Spider-Man? The former question is the one that you enter the theater with, the question that by the end of the movie you hope to have answered. The latter question is the one you leave the theater asking, and unfortunately, neither question gets an answer. I’m going to nip the whole it’s in the comics (and thus common knowledge) argument in the bud; considering the sales figures for comic books, it is only common knowledge to a small portion of the audience. Sony has been explicit that this movie is the launch pad for a shared universe-style franchise for Spider-Man and associated characters. At least “Fantastic Beasts: And Where to Find Them” let you know the film took place within the same world as Harry Potter, despite the lack of narrative ties.
Odd launching a shared universe without any explicit connection to said universe aside, “Venom” is a mess of a movie. It is part horror movie, part action movie, part comedy, part conspiracy thriller, and even part romantic drama; because why not, have the movie be a little of every genre. Most of the time the movie is incomprehensible because, with every tonal shift, there is also a plot shift. With the various threads just being picked up and abandoned, and so on.
I cannot stop thinking that maybe this movie should have been what both of Hulk’s screen iterations should have been: “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” The main character is an investigative journalist who acquires this parasitic entity that allows him to become Venom, and these are elements that can be utilized to create a Hitchcockian suspense element and clean up the plotting into something more concrete.