Life! Reel

Venom: pure schizophrenic anti hero that rocks

“Symbiote: an organism in a partnership with another such that each profits from their being together.” alien attaches itself onto a hapless TV reporter and wreaks havoc in “Venom.”

Pulled from the pages of Issue #8 of Marvel Comics’ 12-part “Secret Wars” superhero mash-up in 1984, Spider-Man comes in contact with a black-hued alien parasite (a living thinking being) which (after bonding with him) instantly gives the superhero unparalleled (additional) superpowers which includes enhanced agility and super strength.

Through numerous iterations, comic readers discover that the costume is, in fact, a monstrous alien
symbiote that eventually frees itself from Spider-Man (and his alias Peter Parker) and bonds with Daily Bugle photographer Eddie Brock to become the tenacious

The film version of this self-same alien goo was introduced in “Spider-Man 3” in 2007 when Tobey Maguire bonded with the alien to create his similar black costume which also eventually left Peter Parker and plopped down onto Brock (Topher Grace) and out popped “Venom.”

Well, actually a poor man’s version of “Venom” with substandard CGI special effects which (amongst other setbacks) led to the downfall of “Spider-Man 3” at the box office.

Today we have a similar story line with more alien goo—several versions of it, to be precise—that falls to Earth in a wicked space accident. Apparently the Life Foundation, a California-based, multi-faceted business conglomerate, launched a space probe to search of ET. This probe comes across a comet which is covered by these multi-tentacle aliens—a very ancient race of creatures—which are then collected and brought back to Earth.

The aliens willingly go along for the one-way journey to terra firma as they are looking for living hosts to inhabit.
Hence the term: symbiote.


These “captured” ETs are eventually brought to the Foundation, located just outside of San Francisco and attempting the unimaginable, Foundation president, Dr. Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), a genius, billionaire inventor, releases a canister stuffed with one of the gooey aliens onto an unsuspecting human test subject. The bond doesn’t hold and the (still living) pathetic human subject is pretty much a walking cadaver.

Enter Eddie Brock (in today’s version a local TV reporter) played by the brilliant Tom Hardy, who is quirky, hapless and stumbling through a life complete with a shredded relationship with his gal pal Annie (Michelle Williams), a crappy apartment and very bleak future.

Brock takes a TV crew along and confronts Dr. Drake in the Life Foundation offices, only to unceremoniously dumped onto the street.

Brock, either brave or stupid, breaks into the Foundation at night, sees the test subject partially covered with black goo, which breaks through its glass-walled gage as the symbiote pulls itself free and drops itself onto a new host.

Guess who?
Stumbling outside into the nearby forest, Brock clearly has no idea what has happened to him—thinking he is hearing “voices” as the alien works to graph itself into his DNA. With the “two now become one” Brock returns to his apartment, only to be confronted by three Life Foundation thugs.

That’s when the all CGI monster, also voiced by Hardy, really kicks loose as the symbiote begins to manifest itself in numerous “exotic” ways.

Eventually Brock comes to realize he has a “headache” a bottle full of aspirin won’t cure and its great fun to see elements of the symbiote pull itself free from Brock when the two have a conversation.

Realizing the alien won’t be going anywhere soon, Brock tries to cut a deal: (1) the alien can kill all of the bad guys it wants (just no innocents) and (2) it is free to use his human body in anyway it needs.
Enter “Venom.”

Manifesting itself as an eight-foot tall, shiny coated black monster with a set of teeth no amount of metal braces could straighten, “Venom” goes on a rampage, only to find itself eventually confronting Dr. Drake who also has bonded with another alien monster and by the third and final reel, the two collide in a monumental battle.

Directed by Ruben Fleisher (“Zombieland”) with no less than eight listed screenwriters, “Venom” was originally panned by comic book fan boys when the first movie trailer for this film hit the silver screens in the Fall of 2017.

There was plenty of Hardy’s Eddie Brock but nothing of his alien “alter ego.”

Clearly that has changed as subsequent trailers brought “Venom” in all his/its “glory.”

As a pure schizophrenic anti-hero, “Venom” rocks and equally excellent is Tom Hardy (who has signed on for two additional sequels) as the “down-on-his-luck” Eddie Brock who strolls into a local retail store which is confronted by a burglar. Out pops “Venom” which proceeds to gobble down the perpetrator in less than four “man-sized” bites.

“Venom” is not for the weak of heart. Many of the fight scenes push the boundaries of not only CGI but the sensibilities of the movie going audience.

Except for sound-stage indoor shots in Atlanta, “Venom” is almost exclusively filmed on location in San Francisco and it looks great!
I liked “Venom” which is the lead “hero” of “Sony’s Universe of Marvel Characters” a completely separate galaxy away from the Marvel Cinematic

Universe which, quite literally, has hundreds of heroes and villains in which to play with.

Just not Spider-Man
“Venom” is borderline gory, extremely violent and completely anti-social. Parents should be wary of this film and keep the little ones at home and
instead get a copy of the family-friendly “Spider-Man 3” if you want to show “Venom” to the kiddies, just keep today’s iteration far away.
Far, far away!

Questions, comments or travel suggestions, write me at [email protected].

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