Review: ‘Halloween’ Crackles To Life With An Electric Jamie Lee Curtis

Relaunching a horror franchise is never easy. When the franchise stems from one of the greatest films in the history of a genre? Even tougher. Making a sequel to Halloween (1978) remains a tall order even forty years after its release. The Shadow looms large, both figuratively and literally, but the recent Blumhouse feature takes that challenge head-on. Diving into the deep end, writers Danny McBrideDavid Gordon Green, and Jeff Fradley craft something special here, something that should appeal to those outside the normal Halloween franchise. Rather than just slash away, Halloween (2018) wishes to examine how trauma and violence can have ripple effects through generations. As a result, the story reframes Jaime Lee Curtis’ most iconic role.

Halloween (2018) takes place forty years after the events of the first film. Ignoring the features that followed John Carpenter‘s original, the new Halloween finds Michael Myers in Smith’s Grove forty years after Halloween in 1978.  A podcast run by investigative journalists (Jefferson Hall and Rhian Rees) come to ask Michael questions. After meeting Michael and his doctor, Dr. Sartain (Haluk Bilginer), they go on to meet Laurie Strode (Curtis). She’s been hidden away from the world, set up on a compound. She’s even driven away her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak). As Allyson celebrates Halloween with her friends, Michael breaks out and begins his pursuit of Laurie.

What helps the movie stand out from the pack of other horror films comes from how the writing jumps into the thrills. It knows what audiences want, and gives them to us in crazy fashion. There are scenes early in the film that call back to the original film, inverting it in some scenes to fit the story. Some may compare it to The Force  Awakens or Jurassic World in that regard. However, unlike those films, the twist on the original film brings out a commentary on trauma and the ways in which it changes us. Laurie can never be the naive girl she was at the beginning of Halloween night in 1978. Instead, she becomes a Sarah Connor inspired heroine, always ready for the day when the one who destroyed her life comes back so that she can kill him.

In doing so, the narrative drastically shifts away from the Final Girl trope. Metaphorically, the story constructs a heroine in the #MeToo era. A woman, destroyed by trauma is given her chance at revenge. It also works to remind us how psychologically damaging death and violence can do to people, especially when that violence leaves us without friends or family. After decades of school shootings, including the Parkland shooting, this speaks to a larger problem in society. Sometimes, the monsters don’t always wear masks.

Critical readings aside, Halloween should continue to please horror fans for its own merits. Early in the film, the feature struggles to get its bearings with long scenes and lots of dialogue. After about 25 minutes, the feature snaps into place. Once that occurs, the editor turns the narrative into a locomotive. Once it gets moving, there’s nothing to slow it down.

The film might be the best shot in the franchise since the original. One particular tracking shot jumps to mind, expertly choreographed with many moving pieces. The kills during the scene are very cool and add to the menace of Myers. Kills throughout the film are excellent and deliver great callbacks to other films in the franchise. With a deliciously high body count, Michael takes on a bit of Jason with the creativity in some kills. Green and the writing crew also know how to utilize Michael well, incorporating in the heavy breathing and coldness required for the killer. 

Curtis shines throughout the film, delivering the intensity that has made her such a great Laurie for years. She’s given a showier and more complete role this time out. We’ve seen strong performances from Curtis in the franchise, but this will likely go down as her best to date. Greer actually gets something to do this time out, other than be hysterical. It’s a nice change of pace. Matichak surprises as Allyson, showing off the chops to legitimately take over the franchise should it continue. The trio of women are the stars of the film and get the opportunity to shine.

Finally, it would be remiss to ignore the stellar score that features throughout the film. John Carpenter returns and pulls out a masterful score that fits within the universe. It’s the best score since Halloween III: Season of the Witch and should become iconic in its own right. There are several scenes in the film that build because of the tension the score creates, making his work far more than just fan service. Carpenter displays a knowledge of what makes us cringe, and helps elevates multiple moments throughout the film with his unique ear for the unsettling.

Overall, the new version of Halloween rises as one of the best films in the franchise. While it does not hit the peaks of the 1978 version, it provides the franchise with a very strong entry. Halloween jumps back into the limelight as the premiere slasher franchise, and it retakes the crown. With a strong box office, let’s hope this kicks off a new and innovative run for the genre and the not the knockoffs that defined 1980s horror.

GRADE: (★★★½)

What do you think of the new Halloween film? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Check out our podcast on We Bought a Cabin in the Woods New Blood Review- Halloween (2018)! 

Check out our podcast on We Bought a Cabin in the Woods about the original 1978 Halloween! 

1998 in Review: ‘Quest for Camelot’ Features the Middle Ages in Non-Disney Animated Film

Set in Medieval England, Quest for Camelot is an animated telling of what happened following the classic tale of King Arthur and his knights of the round table. As a Warner Bros animated feature, it had the similar styling, visually and musically of many Disney features, though the animation is much less clean. That said, character design and environment rendering do not suffer for it.

Additionally, the film is bolstered by some very strong (and recognizable) voice talent, including Gary Oldman, Eric Idle, Don Rickles, Pierce Brosnan, and Cary Elwes. The film focuses on the young daughter of a knight of the round table who is killed in the film’s opening segment. Longing to follow in her father’s footsteps, Kayley (Jessalyn Gilsig) sets out to recover the mythical sword Excaliber in order to save the kingdom from the villainous former knight Ruber (a fantastically sinister Oldman). Along the way, she encounters a dashing but blind hermit (Elwes), a two-headed dragon (Idle, Rickles, brilliant), and a chicken with an ax-for-a-beak. Did I mention that it is a musical? On paper, that’s a lot to get excited about. However, the film arrived to meek attendance and a low box office.

When I Fell in Love with “Quest for Camelot”

From the opening musical number, I was enthralled with Quest for Camelot. As the score by Patrick Doyle begins with its steady drums and Celtic lilt, I was hooked. It was the music that hooked me and the characters that kept my interest. The original songs are all catchy and the characters are distinct and fun. My favorite? The useless ax-beaked chicken. Why? I was a child and he was weird looking and funny.

Most Memorable Scene

To this day, the scene that sticks out most to me is the musical number of the two-headed dragon, Cornwall and Devon. This film’s Timon and Pumba, Devon and Cornwall are brothers. Due to years stuck with which other, they are bitter and frustrated. The song, which comes midway through the movie, is about what they would do if they didn’t have one another. It’s the first time the movie takes a step out of its time period to make jarring pop culture references. What’s fantastic about this is that Idle, as a member of the infamous Monty Python, skews the genre in this film that same way his troupe did in its most popular work, Monty Python and the Holy Grail. That in itself is a fun meta-reference. Beyond that, it’s a fun, catchy song that ends with an Elvis impersonation.

Best Scene

The best scene in the movie is another musical number, this time sung by Garrett (voiced by Elwes, sung by Bryan Adams). Shortly after meeting Kayley in the Enchanted Forest, Garrett expresses his isolation through an empowering power ballad (“I Stand Alone”) that could have been a contender for a Best Original Song Oscar had the, even more, moving “The Prayer” not snagged the nomination. What elevated this song above any other in the film, and, indeed, above any other in children’s movies of the time, was that it was a song sung by a character with a disability about how he rises above his disability.

The content of the song aside, the animation transitions at this point. Until this point, the Enchanted Forest was nothing more than a bleak obstacle in the hero’s journey. Ostensibly, we were seeing it through her perspective, clouded by fear and anger. Under Garrett’s unique “vision,” the Forest reveals its mystic beauty, with twisting vines, fantastic creatures, and vibrant colors. This is how Garrett sees his environment and it shows that the beauty in the world is more than appearances. To host not just one but two strong messages within a single sequence without overreaching is something that has yet to be matched in animated cinema.

Why You Should Watch It Again

Quest for Camelot is a timeless tale that, visually, is a product of the nineties. Its animation doesn’t hold up quite the way that most Disney movies do. However, in terms of content, it doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to characters with disabilities, legacy, death, and evil. The songs do stand the test of time and are still as catchy and moving as they were upon the film’s original release. Though it was the first animated feature of the year, it was overshadowed by higher-profile films such as Mulan, A Bug’s Life (which I’ve previously written about), The Prince of Egypt, and The Rugrats Movie. Despite all that, the film has heart and ambition and deserves another watch.

What do you think of Quest for Camelot? What do you remember about the film? Let us know in the comments below! 

We Bought a Pod Episode 41: A Symbiote is Born

We’re back and we give our takes on A Star Is Born and Venom. We also touch on the trailers for the upcoming films ViceRocketman and The Mule.

00 – 38:20 – A Star Is Born

38:20 – 1:09:30 – Venom  and additional listener questions

1:09:30 – End – Vice Trailer, The Muleand Rocketman trailers

Check out reviews of A Star Is Born and Venom below!

A Star Is Born


Check out our 1998 in Film Retrospectives as well!

A Bugs Life

The Big Lebowski


Send us questions to!

Review: ‘First Man’ Brings Damien Chazelle and Ryan Gosling to Another World

In 2016, Damien Chazelle took most of America by storm with the success of his original musical La La Land storming towards Oscar glory. 14 Oscar nominations, 6 Oscar wins, and the most memorable moment in Oscar history later, Chazelle began cooking up his next project. Joining up with his muse Ryan Gosling, the two set out to tackle a momentous moment in American history, Neil Armstrong‘s Apollo 11 mission to the Moon. What the two men have created is nearly a masterpiece and will remain one of the best films of 2018.

First Man follows the story of the Apollo 11 mission, but really the film focuses on Armstrong (Gosling) and his life at home. After becoming a successful pilot and engineer, Neil and his wife Janet (a brilliant Claire Foy) deal with the heartbreaking loss of a child. In an attempt to move on, Neil applies for NASA, earning his way into the Gemini program. As the years unfold, his focus becomes singular while his family begins to grow up and grow apart from him.

The focus of the film rests primarily on Gosling as Armstrong, a performance that has taken on everything from praise and criticism to indifference. To discount Gosling when talking about how the film works would be a mistake. Gosling brings an emotional character to the screen, even if the internal processing of that emotion makes him feel distant to those around him. The emotion simmers through his voice, even as his facial expressions remain straight or blank. This kind of acting and subtly does not come along often, namely due to the level of difficulty attached.  He internalizes everything, desperate to not crack under the pressure. Yet the way Gosling brings this internalization to life, you can see the anxiety, fear, anger, and love in his eyes from the first frames. While other characters come and go, his performance is very much at the center of this film. His work here is some of the best of his career.

Equally impressive, but with the far showier role, is Foy. The actress brings out the worry and fear of being left as the sole emotional contributor to the family. She never wishes to stand in Neil’s way despite the fact that the trailers for the film make her look like the person grounding him. Instead, she lets him play in outer space, fearing the worst in every situation. Her own game of internalization carries through most of the film. When the two show genuine affection toward each other, you question if their relationship works. However, diving into the intimate moments of the film, you peel back layers of a highly complex yet functional life between two people who genuinely love each other.

First Man features recognizable faces to cinephiles, yet the general public will likely not know most of them. In all honesty, this may hurt how those in the know will view the film. Much of the talent, including Jason Clarke, Ciarán HindsKyle Chandler, and Corey Stoll, is not utilized to their fullest potential. However, it is also not their story. By keeping the focus on the Armstrongs, and by proxy Gosling and Foy, the emotional beats of the film ring true.

Chazelle should be regarded as one of our greatest young filmmakers, and he proves it yet again with First Man. This film brings together various crafts and below-the-line work to simply amaze audiences. Almost every element, including the sound, score, production design, and costumes are perfect.

A very important piece to helping bring Gosling and Foy’s emotions into the light is the beautiful score from Justin Hurwitz. What he brings to the table will have you humming tunes for days. It is beautiful and special, adding extra life to every scene. The mix of adventure and tension builds in various pieces of the score, making it an extremely complex and moving piece. Listening to the music will help you soar. Speaking of sound, it is unlikely anyone in 2018 will top the sound design achievement Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou accomplish. The creaks and moans of metal will haunt you long after you leave the theater, making the sound work among the best in modern cinema. The sound effects are staggering in their brilliance, mixed expertly by Lee and Jon Taylor.

The production design from Nathan Crowley brings a lived-in world to life. Again, the impeccable detail should not be overlooked. The Moon has never felt so tactile. Another big hat tip goes to the editor Tom Cross, who makes the film really shine through tension driven sequences. He reels in the strong screenplay from Josh Singer and keeps the focus on the big emotional beats. The action sequences in First Man are thrilling to observe. In particular, the Gemini 8 mission might be one of the two or three most thrilling sequences of the year in all of film. Cross brings out an important fact about the disorientation of space travel, making sure you feel that pressure.  Chazelle brings together this crew to create a towering technical achievement and allows Singer’s script to add an extra emotional punch through it all.

Sadly, the cinematography falls well short of the mark. Linus Sandgreen, the Oscar-winning cinematographer of La La Land, creates some thrilling work. During the actual rocket launches or flying sequences, his handheld and shaky camera are welcomed into the film. Yet using some of these shaky moments in the halls of NASA or in the backyard while the guys throw some back lessens its effectiveness. In one particular scene of regular dialogue, the camera threw me off entirely. While the rest of the film features top-tier work from its craftsman, the way Sandgreen shoots this film leaves something to be desired.

Sadly, the flag controversy needs to be addressed. First things first, First Man is not about the story of America. It’s not even about the story of the Apollo missions. This is a story about one man fighting through years of grief to accomplish something monumental. Whether or not a flag is planted does not matter to telling the story of Armstrong and his wife. Yet, the film still has the flag on the Moon (just not the exact moment it is put into the ground). It plays the patriotic speech of John F. Kennedy promising we will get to the Moon. It shows Americans frustrated with the Soviets and features footage of foreign countries celebrating an American achievement (there is literally a line “I always knew the Americans would win”).  So if you happen to be one of the people boycotting the story of an American hero, I don’t know what to tell you. You’re missing out on something marvelous.

First Man booms to life and never lets go of its unrelenting tactility and emotion. For some, the emotion builds slowly throughout the film. For me, it had me from the word go. Regardless, the moment will likely hit you in an unexpected way, delivering a heartbeat to a film that may not have needed it. Gosling delivers another amazing performance of brilliance and subtlety. Foy will become a breakout star to any who have not caught her ability on screen before. The two of them make for an interesting pair at the center of the film. Yet this heartbeat elevates this film to other worlds, making it a heart-pounding and emotional journey of grace from Chazelle. I can’t wait to see what he does next.

GRADE: (★★★½)

What did you think of First Man? Let us know in the comments below! 

Review: ‘A Star Is Born’ Crackles To Life Early, But Cannot Maintain the Momentum

Remaking a film takes guts, especially when that film becomes well regarded. It’s even more difficult the 2nd time. A 3rd remake feels excessive unless you can inject something really new into the story. In that regard, the Bradley Cooper directed, written, and vehicle, A Star Is Born may not meet the expectations of some. However, many have heralded the feature as one of great interest in the Oscar race. To be clear, this movie will do well with awards bodies, especially as some films falter in the closing months. Yet there are still moments and ideas this iteration of A Star Is Born falls short on, making it a very good, but not perfect film.

The new version of A Star Is Born opens on aging rock star Jackson Maine (Cooper), who immediately showcases his propensity for drinking and drugging from the word go. However, his walk on stage immediately injects energy into the film, placing audiences in what feels like a live concert venue. The music echoes throughout the theater, and the crowd roars to life in a way that will be shocking to many audience members. Meanwhile, Ally (Lady Gaga) leaves her shift as a waitress, heading for a drag bar that lets her perform. When Jackson stops off at the bar for a drink, he witnesses Ally’s cover of “La Vie en Rose” (sung in French). The two spend the rest of the night together, culminating in Jackson asking Ally to come to his next show. The two put their hooks in each other, and we follow the relationship through Ally’s rise and Jackson’s inevitable fall.

For those unaware, this concept has been at the heart of every version of A Star is Born. You can even count The Artistthe Best Picture winner from 2011, in that camp. The story does not have much originality to it, other than Cooper and fellow writers Eric Roth and Will Fetters modernizing the tale. Yet this film does not focus too much on the writing (sometimes to its detriment, but more on that later). Instead, this film is an acting showcase unlike few we’ve seen in recent years.

The two leads absolutely carry this film through their charismatic and charming performance. Cooper turns in a career-best performance, pulling out all the stops in the process. His gruffness in his voice helps sell the transformation, even as the drinking and drug use struggle to feel believable at times. While he never gets verbally belligerent, outside of a single scene, Cooper does a fairly good job of showcasing someone many would not consider an alcoholic. The sell for me on Cooper were some of the emotional beats. This mostly comes out when Sam Elliott enters scenes as Jackson’s older brother Bobby (they kind of skate past the fact Jackson’s 60+-year-old father impregnated a 17-year-old, which itself is a bit problematic). Cooper clearly wanted this role to shine, and as the writer/director he gave himself a lot to pull off. Luckily, he’s up to the task.

Lady Gaga, however, steals this movie right out from under Cooper. She’s excellent throughout, shining as a performer on stage and off. She disappears into the role, often showcasing true subtly in the performance. It’s a very natural performance, far from what we expect from Gaga as a musician. She imbues Ally with hope and true love for Jackson, and this never feels inauthentic. While Cooper can sell a relationship, even if the chemistry is off, it is uncertain if Gaga could. Luckily, this is not a problem at all, and Gaga pushes every cast member around her to be better.

The supporting cast features some great performances as well. How anyone can walk out of this film and not sing the praises of Elliot is beyond me. The legendary western actor has truly turned in amazing roles over the past five years, but he is something else here. There are nods to the complexities of his career, even breaking down his voice and style. Yet Elliott’s most powerful scene is a non-verbal one, which will break down even the most heartless man.

Anthony Ramos of Hamilton fame shows off bright shining energy as Gaga’s best friend. Her father, played by comedian Andrew Dice Clay, exudes happiness and excitement for his daughter. Despite hints at a troubled past, his love and affection are a breath of air. Dave Chappelle feels effortless in his role, making you question why he does not take on straight dramatic work. He’s excellent in very limited screen time.

All of this sounds excellent, but here’s the problem. The narrative takes a rather sizeable dip as it moves from hour one to hour two. The first 45 minutes or so of the film are amazing. We get the concert footage, real emotional beats between the families, and foreboding about Jackson’s eventual downfall. We also get “The Shallow,” the one truly excellent song in the film. That moment works better in the film than on the recording, yet not walk away with the Oscar good.

After Ally meets her future manager Rez (Rafi Gavron), the momentum stops. We get some great moments, such as Jackson bringing a piano in to help Ally play the music. Yet the film gets bogged down in the mundanity of fame. The initial rush quickly disappears, and the melodrama seeps into the frame. Jackson really begins to go off the deep end, and things change in an unrealistic amount of time.

For example, Jackson begins the show by playing a sold-out crowd in California, then a massive crowd at Coachella. Somewhere on the tour, Ally gets an offer to make the record. Before her record is even released, Jackson begins playing paid gigs at conventions. Then, he’s completely sidelined before the following Grammys. It’s unclear what kind of rock star would drop off this quickly without really blowing relationships, something we get no hint of during this run. The narrative begins to hit beats out of convenience to the plot. Perhaps a “La La Land” style flash forward would have done the trick.

While this happens, we also experience uninteresting songs and performances. Al the power of the early performances disappear. The film begins to rage about pop music, demonizing Ally for performing it at all (a classic, but extremely thin argument that pop takes no talent). The music during this section is actively bad, and while the movie wants you to believe it would be popular, there’s almost no way Ally would reach the level of fame she does with the jokes of the songs she performs. For about 40 minutes, we struggle in this section of the story, before the feature closes with genuine emotion and performances. However, you can’t just have a crappy 2nd act and ignore it. Otherwise, Star Wars: Rogue One might be the best film in that franchise.

Beyond the performances, there’s also a lot to like from the crafts. The cinematography from DP Matthew Libatique really brings the stage to life as a moving and squirming being. He uses lens flares well to highlight scenes periodically. It’s much more than just concert footage, and it does a lot of storytelling throughout the film. The songs are fine, with some undeniably catchy tunes. Outside of “The Shallow,” there does not appear to be another massive hit on the album. This hurt some of the film’s believability, especially in the pop-heavy scenes.

Overall, A Star is Born should be seen as a very good but maybe not great film. It likely deserves the Best Picture nomination it will get, even if it won’t make my personal ballot. On the other hand, the performances from Gaga, Elliott, and Cooper are amazing. This feature shows a lot of promise for a first-time director like Cooper, and that should make him that much better the next time out. Fingers crossed he jumps back in the director’s chair soon. Frankly, that’s where his true future lies.

GRADE: (★★★)

What do you think of “A Star is Born?” Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Review: ‘Venom’ is an Overstuffed, Mostly Boring, CGI Monster

The character of Venom continues his tough streak on the big screen. Back in 2007, Spider-Man 3 crashed and burned with Topher Grace taking on the mantle. The character felt shoehorned into the film and the franchise, eventually becoming a punchline. However, hope was renewed when we got Venom into production. After all, we have Tom Hardy playing Eddie Brock, Michelle Williams on board as the love interest, and Riz Ahmed as the bad guy. What could go wrong? Apparently, most things.

There’s a lesson to be learned right off the bat from the film. Sony looked at the success of Deadpool, written by Zombieland writers Paul Wernick and Rhett Resse, and thought they could also make a spin-off of the main franchise. Even better they’ll bring in the Zombieland director, Ruben Fleisher to helm the film. It can be gritty and subversive and bring the out an “anti-hero” into the popular consciousness. How cool is that?

Sadly, none of that promise is followed through on. Instead, Venom is generic, does not bring any idea of an anti-hero into the movie at all, and above all else, grabbed itself a PG-13 rating. It pulls its punches, never showing true violence at any moment, cutting away from any scene that may contain some. Eddie Brock (Hardy) never actually breaks bad. Finally, the dialogue was so rough in the first cut, they clearly sent large portions of the cast back into the recording booth to ADR the hell out of this movie. There are a hundred cuts in each scene, all with the purpose of having you avoid seeing their lips as they speak. Whatever was written early, did not work.

Let’s start with Brock, because this is most of the problem with the film. Historically, the character’s break from reality causes him to question why he was good. He embraces his bad side without much help from the symbiote. The symbiote only enhances feelings laying beneath the surface. Yet there’s not a moment in Venom where Fleisher ever wants you to believe that Eddie Brock is a bad guy. He’s just a guy down on his luck. Hardy plays him like a guy who tried out for Jersey Shore but was too boring to make the show. Hardy basically looks like he’s gone through a fever dream and he stumbles around the screen like Jack Sparrow on ludes. It’s hard to feel sorry for him because he’s such a bland character.

Meanwhile, the Venom symbiote can’t stop cracking jokes. The symbiote wants to give you gags on the level of Deadpool throughout, but remember this movie is PG-13. So instead we get 1 f-bomb and insults that 12-year-olds would hurl at each other. His voice-overs aren’t particularly special, just making obvious jokes. After walking out of the movie, my friend I saw it with remarked that Venom was simply a dumbed down version of the Hormone Monster from the infinitely better Big Mouth, and honestly, I can’t disagree with him. At least the Nick Kroll creation makes sense.

Shockingly, a much better version of this exact story already came out this year in Upgrade, where a man’s wife is murdered and his robot “symbiote” helps him hunt down those responsible in a gory blood filled production with stakes. Funny enough, the poor man’s Hardy, actor Logan Marshall-Green, headlines the John Wick/Matrix knockoff with charisma and pathos, both of which are sorely lacking in Venom. 

Michelle Williams does not help. There is a litany of issues with how her character is written, starting off with the movie does not seem to understand what lawyers do or really how the law works at all. Great example, wrongful death suits, part of what becomes an inciting issue in the film, don’t process in a manner of days. They take literally years. Later, Williams says she’s going pro bono and she’s going to join a public defenders office. As a husband of a former public defender, not how that works either. While the writers clearly got their understanding of the law from Trump University, Williams also kind of sucks. Outside of one scene in the climax of the film, it’s tough to even remember her scenes. She’s not given any power until the very end of the film, and then they immediately take it away from her. Williams plays the character with the doe-eyed “I want to fix you” face she’s played other characters in the past, but without any pathos or chemistry with Hardy.  It’s a bad mix.

Riz Ahmed is not bad, but he’s not given much to work with. He’s mostly here to make cliche and self-aggrandizing speeches. Not much else. Jenny Slate does not work as a doctor/scientist. It’s not her fault though, because again, they gave her absolutely cringe-worthy dialogue only to kill her off. We can’t move forward without addressing the red-headed bozo of a clown at the end of the film, where Woody Harrelson (who legitimately is one of the first 7 people billed in this film despite the secret cameo) wears a red clown wig and utters the dumbest line in the movie. In case you somehow didn’t get that Carnage will be in the next film, Cleetus Kassidy is a serial killer, infected by a symbiote that goes on a murder spree. The line “when I get out, and I will, there will be carnage” is here for the fanboys to nudge each other in the seats, and doesn’t work as basic dialogue. Again, a total disaster. 

All of this is rough, and the worst part of it all must be the CGI blahness of the film. The opening scene burns through dialogue but is the only time where the symbiotes killing people looked cool. Once the symbiote Venom infects Hardy, the CGI gets worse and worse. The Venom shell fights off people with semi-interesting power usage, but nothing we haven’t seen before. It punches and throws people around, but the creature itself is comically undeveloped at times. It feels like Fleisher’s team drew inspiration from Men in Black 2′classic Johnny Knoxville character that has 2 heads. There’s no other reason for Venom’s disembodied head to have full on conversations with Hardy. Outside of the Lady Venom scene, this version of Venom didn’t look particularly great. Even then, the makeout scene was ridiculous.

To close this out, the logic of the film makes no sense. There’s literally no plan for the Venom symbiote for most of the film. He’s just kinda goofing around on Earth but wants to bring his fellow symbiotes to Earth to help take over (I guess?). Then at the end of the film, he takes a 180 because Brock wants to save the planet (I guess?) and Venom can be a god.  Keep in mind, there are 2 more symbiotes unaccounted for at the end of this movie, so don’t worry, he’s not the only god. Regardless, the turn is nonsense and there’s no emotional scene in the film to sell us on the symbiote’s change of heart other than it wants to be a god. However, at the end of the film, Eddie unmistakably lays out rules for him to follow. So Venom thinks he they can do whatever they want, but then falls in line? It’s just kind of nonsense, and the Venom symbiote doesn’t even stay in character. It’s basically just there to service whatever the story needs.

From beginning to end, Venom was an absolute slog. This thing is a rambling monster with no real purpose other than Sony trying to get its bearings after the debacle that was The Amazing Spider-ManHell, the 2nd post credit scene, footage of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse had more heart and humor in the 90 seconds it was on than the entirety of Venom. I wanted to like this film, but the lack of anything good in this film makes me understand why people hate superhero movies. Even if we get a sequel to this one, the Venom series feels destined to be forgotten in the same vein of Ben Affleck Daredevil film and Nic Cage Ghostrider movies. Please, go watch the exponentially better Upgrade and Big Mouth instead if you want to watch a real monster work.

GRADE:  (★)

What do you think of Venom? If you enjoyed it, let us know why! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!