I would describe myself as kind of a “nerd” by most definitions. I love video games, Star Wars, comic books and of course…comic book movies! So naturally I was excited when I saw that Venom was getting his own movie and Tom Hardy was going to be the star. With Hardy’s stellar acting chops and a fun wild character like Venom there was a recipe in place to have another great entry to the ever expanding comic book movie collection. With the success of Marvel and the boundary expanding talent of Deadpool, the door was wide open for another loud and brash anti-hero to join the party.
There definitely are things to like about this film. At the front and center of Venom is Tom Hardy who was nominated for an Oscar back in 2016 so you know he’s no slouch. He does his best to elevate any movie he appears in with energy and charisma. He absolutely nails the role of someone who isn’t ready to become a new host to a foreign creature. Visually, Venom looks awesome. He is big and bad and would be terrifying to see in real life. I did enjoy the humor that was speckled in throughout and the action scenes are done pretty well.
While there are enjoyments to be had, there are some glaring shortcomings as well. I thought the movie had trouble picking which side of the comic book movie spectrum it wanted to be on. At times it seems like a more serious darker movie and at others its light and campy. There are even times where it feels like its both simultaneously. There is also some weak dialogue and a few instances of lazy writing in the plot along with some iffy character development.
Marvel has delivered some excellent quality films over the last 10 years. They have also released a few sub par ones by their rather high standards. This effort from Ruben Fleischer (Gangster Squad, Zombieland) easily falls into the lower half of those films and I know its a different cinematic universe with different producers and directors but you still have to compare comic book movies to other comic book movies. It still checked the boxes under a successful trip to our AMC even though it comes in under expectations. Venom blazed its way to 4 Apologies but I am still intrigued to see what will come next in this universe.
There are few world wide movie phenomenons like Star Wars. It generates such buzz and attention from fans and critics alike. Like many Star Wars lovers I got hooked when I was a kid and watched the original movies over and over. Naturally when I saw the trailer for Rogue One I was very excited to see it. Since we are still a year away from Episode 8 and a whole year since Episode 7 came out, this serves as a nice taster to keep everyone from going crazy during the long wait.
There could be minor spoilers from previous Star Wars entries.
The story gives some new information about an old event: the creation and subsequent destruction of the Death Star. Since this movie takes place between the events of Episode 3 and Episode 4 you should know the basics if you have seen the previous films. Anakin Skywalker has become Darth Vader and his Empire is creating a massive weapon called the Death Star. As we all know at the end of Episode 4 the Rebel Alliance destroys the Death Star using stolen plans. What we don’t know is the story of how they got those plans but that is the story told during this chapter. We do get introduced to some new characters (Jyn Erso, Cassian Andor) and we also get some some familiar characters including the great Darth Vader. The main character we follow is Jyn. She is the daughter of one of the best scientists in the Empire and we get to watch her develop from a young girl into a rebellion fighter. She is tasked by the Rebellion with a mission to find her father and discover more information about the weapon the Empire is building. Not only do they have to confirm the existence of the super weapon but then they have to steal plans and get those plans back to the Rebellion. It is no easy task. As the Rebellion embarks on their plan, the Empire is also steady at work trying to destroy the Rebellion.
This movie is very enjoyable and has several strong points. First and foremost the movie has a slightly different feel than previous Star Wars entries which was a refreshing change as it felt more like a war movie set within the Star Wars universe. The battle scenes are hard fought and feel more real than before. The action is fast paced and fun to watch. The acting here also was nominally improved from several of the previous chapters. Felicity Jones puts forth a wonderful performance as Jyn Erso. Diego Luna portrays a convincing role of a captain in the Rebellion who may not always believe in the cause he fights for. Forest Whitaker puts out a fantastic effort as war hero Saw Gerrera. Star Wars has always been very good about injecting humor into the movies to keep it fairly light hearted and that doesn’t change here. Humor is mostly applied from the new droid character K-2SO and from blind monk Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen). As we have come to expect from the Star Wars saga the special effects are awesome, the sets and scenery are gorgeous, and the space battles are sleek and stylistic.
There aren’t many negatives in this movie and the few that exist don’t detract too much from the plot or the overall enjoyment. As a fan (nerd) watching the previews over and over I couldn’t help be excited about seeing a powerful Darth Vader working to destroy the Rebellion. We do get to see some very cool Vader moments but in my eyes there just wasn’t enough screen time for the coolest villain in the series. Similarly I wanted a little more character development for Saw Gerrera. I really enjoyed him but some backstory into why he was the way he was would have only added to my satisfaction.
In the end, this movie provided exactly what all Star Wars fans needed during the two year wait between Episode 7 and Episode 8. It delivers a quality story (even though its not necessarily a brand new story) that bridges the gap between the new trilogy and the original trilogy and leaves us excited for Episode 8 next December. I enthusiastically gave this movie 1 Apology and will soon be rewatching it along with the Episodes 1-7 with Mrs. Apologist to get pumped up for the next one.