Has Sony finally produced a good Spider-Man flick?

You may remember the failed “The Amazing Spider-Man” reboot franchise that Sony released about four years ago. Well now, Sony has made it clear that they are taking another stab at the superhero genre with their untitled cinematic universe consisting of Spider-Man characters. If you don’t understand the direction that Sony is taking with this cinematic universe, here’s a history lesson: before the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) came to fruition, Marvel would license its characters to production companies, who would create movies based around their characters. 20th Century Fox gained the rights to the X-Men and Fantastic Four characters, whilst Sony had the rights to Spider-Man characters. 

Photo courtesy of IMDb

Once Marvel created their very own cinematic universe, they approached Sony with the intent of retrieving their Spider-Man character back. The pair agreed to share the character: Marvel would serve as the creative lead for Spider-Man movies, while Sony would finance the film and reap the box office rewards, and thus, “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” was born. But Sony still wanted their own superhero franchise, despite unable to use Spider-Man for their individual films. So they decided to use all characters related to Spider-Man, effectively creating a Spider-Man cinematic universe… without Spider-Man. And the first film of this new universe is “Venom.” Is it any good?

No. “Venom” tells the story of how Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), a former reporter who is fired after a scandal, discovers and bonds with Venom, an alien known as a “symbiote.” Venom is one of the four symbiotes that the Life Foundation has brought from a space expedition. The company’s CEO (and the movie’s antagonist) Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) decides that these symbiotes are the key to mankind’s survival and thus decides to bond with one of the other symbiotes, travel into space, and assimilate the entire species of symbiotes to Earth, effectively allowing the symbiotes to take over the world. Tom Hardy charismatically portrays Eddie Brock/Venom, and there’s a great character dynamic between Venom and Brock. However, the rest of the supporting cast, all of whom are talented, suffer from one-dimensional characters. The antagonist is the conventional, mustache-twirling, egotistical maniac that all too often plagues superhero flicks, and Riz Ahmed’s acting talent does not compensate. The other characters don’t add much to the story or film either.

I’d expect that anyone willing to sit down to watch this flick will primarily expect hard-hitting action. And sadly, “Venom” does not deliver on that aspect either. The film’s visual style conveys an off-putting sense of low-quality cheapness to it. The cinematography is oftentimes too dark to make out anything, while the horrendous direction and overly shaky camerawork will eliminate any possibility of anybody enjoying the action. Oh, and the CGI sucks.

The film also feels incomplete, and it’s easy to see why: the antagonist is given no development or character arc, the moment where Eddie Brock bonds with the titular alien symbiote is far too late into the film, and all of the fight scenes take place within the second half of the movie, giving it a jarring feeling. The first forty minutes are dialogue-heavy, and the last approximate hour is action, all of which looks awful. Many scenes lack any establishing shot or opening, with some even jumping straight into the middle of a conversation.

“Venom,” poorly produced and insipidly written, proves that Sony yet again lacks the ability to make a decent superhero flick.