Venom, the 2018 Tom Hardy adaptation of the popular Spiderman nemesis hit theaters worldwide recently. A decade after Sam Raimi’s Spiderman 3 sees this new reincarnation of the villain take a shot at being more of an antihero inspired by the Venom: Lethal Protector storyline. While many believed that the film would serve as a backdoor entry that connects the popular symbiote to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, that is not the case.

The film starts out with a space probe reentering Earth’s atmosphere, bringing with it four symbiotic lifeforms from an interstellar expedition but crash lands in Malaysia. While one symbiote escapes, the Life Foundation manages to recover the remaining three and begin illegal human trials, killing numerous vagrants in the process. Meanwhile Eddie Brock, star investigator catches wind of the news via a confidential email sent to his girlfriend Anne Weying (Michelle Williams) and interviews Life Foundation’s CEO Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) leading to Eddie and Anne both losing their jobs and the end of their relationship. Six months later, Dr. Dora Skirth, disgruntled with Carlton’s means of testing gets Brock into the Foundation’s building in order to expose the illegal trials but Brock ends up confronting an infected victim – a former friend and homeless woman who ends up passing the symbiote onto Eddie.

Thus begins the Brock/Venom internal conflict where the symbiote takes over the successfully bonded host and provides Brock with superhuman powers and controls the relationship for the most part to meet his desires while escaping from Carlton’s efforts to recapture him. All the while, the symbiote that escaped in Malaysia at the start of the film has an agenda of its own to fulfill and therefore tracks and travels halfway around the globe to Carlton Drake.

Development on a standalone Venom film had been in talks for years with Sony planning on starting its own franchise but ever since the web-slinger has been part of the MCU, keeping Venom in his own universe seemingly makes no sense. Initially set out for an R-rated release, the film has obviously toned down the violence to allow for possible family-friendly MCU crossovers, thereby earning a PG-13. However in doing so, I felt that a big part of the story felt missing or maybe it was just me. Perhaps it is this that earned the film such a rotten score on the Tomatometer but I really liked the characterization of the symbiote and Tom Hardy infuses life to an amazingly schizophrenic performance of Eddie Brock. Although the supporting characters could have had better story arcs and there were some glaring plot holes, the film as a whole is very much a thrilling and enjoyable ride.

Hopefully the film performs better at the box office than it did with the critics because I’m sure the entire planet would love to see more of Venom, Tom Hardy and a potential crossover with Tom Holland’s Spiderman. After all, Hardy himself admitted at San Diego Comic-Con that he was quite eagerly expecting for Sony to integrate the character with Marvel Studios.

So yes, you can take your kids to see this film. And before you know it, they’ll be chanting “We are Venom.”

Courtesy of Akash SK