Venom: Hero or Anti-Hero? (Movie Review)
This weekend, the latest Marvel installment was released, Venom. Distributed by Sony rather than the usual Walt Disney Studios, the film follows the origin story of villain, Venom. Fans might know Venom from the Spider-Man comic books or the third and final Toby McGuire Spider-Man movie.
Beware, there are minor plot spoilers ahead!
Every MCU origin movie to date has featured a superhero. This movie however, is from the other end of the spectrum and lets viewers inside the mind of how a villain became evil.
The film showcases Eddie Brock, a down on his luck investigative journalist who is fired after digging into the secret testing that bioengineering corporation, the Life Foundation, has been doing on humans. Portrayed by actor Tom Hardy, Brock eventually finds himself an unassuming victim of the testing and is infected by a parasite-like foreign life form known as a symbiote.
This symbiote is Venom himself, looking for a host to inhabit in order to survive on Earth. After some extreme flu-like symptoms and mental insanity, Venom and Brock find that they are a perfect match for each other, complete with the same goal of stopping the Life Foundation and its CEO Carlton Drake.
Before its release, many Marvel fans were in an uproar that not only would Venom be distributed by Sony, but also that early previews showed Venom as a sort of “hero,” rather than a villain.
Before seeing the movie, I too was skeptical, but I was interested in seeing what movie writers were going to do with Venom. One of the very first MCU movies I ever saw as a kid was Toby McGuire’s, Spider-Man and it soon became a favorite of mine. It launched my interest in the MCU and was what kept me a loyal fan.
Venom, the Anti-Hero..
After going into the movie with an open mind, I left with the notion that Venom certainly isn’t being portrayed as a “hero,” but an anti-hero.
An anti-hero is one that kills evil for the better of humanity. They kill those that are more of a menace to society then themselves. They have tendencies that are evil, but they use them for good. Venom for sure fits this bill.
He kills, but he kills those who are doing worse or are going to do worse than anything he could do. In no way is he a hero, but he also isn’t a complete villain either.
Not only do writers depict Venom as an anti-hero through his actions, but logically, it makes sense from a storytelling standpoint as well. In order to connect with moviegoers, there needs to be some redeeming quality to the character. If the entire movie was about how much Venom wants to eat people’s heads off, not many people would be interested in seeing the movie.
Rather than this, Sony depicts Venom as a little misunderstood, a common theme among many in today’s society. While watching the movie, fans can’t help but root for Venom and Brock to beat the real villains in the movie.
In a sense, the mission of this movie is to psychologically get fans to connect with Venom and Brock although you know they are evil. This then leads me to wonder, if every villain had an origin story movie, would we also be rooting for them to prevail in the end after understanding where they came from?
The movie not only keeps fans entertained with the action and dark comedy, but it also makes them think.
Venom isn’t a movie that is trying to portray the villain as a hero, but is a movie that is trying to get fans to get into the psyche of one. It is an interesting take that fans are not familiar with, but adds more depth to some of our favorite comic book stories.
After leaving the theater, regardless of your take on the movie itself, one can’t help but love Venom and Brock and want to see more.
If Marvel continues with villain origins, I think it will be interesting to see how other villains will be portrayed to audiences.
MCU fans definitely need to see this movie and keep an open mind in terms of whether or not they enjoy the portrayal of a classic comic book villain. I really think it will surprise and entertain many of the well-seasoned Marvel fans.
Make sure you stay until the very end of the credits, there’s quite the surprise cameo that you do NOT want to miss!
Venom is in theaters everywhere now!