Venom Is a Messy Web

Sony’s Venom can best be described as an exemplification of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The superhero genre is simultaneously at the peak of its powers with a whopping 10 films set to be released in 2019, yet for many, the genre has become hackneyed and contrite, offering predictable and contrived storylines that do not take risks. Everything about Venom, from its comic-accurate presentation of its titular character, the Lovecraft-ian horror influences, to its mocking tagline (“The world has enough superheroes”) demonstrated to viewers that it wanted to be more Logan than Guardians of the Galaxy: a thought-provoking genre film that set out to do more than merely entertain. And while the world may have enough superheroes, Venom only augments that argument by its existence rather than subverting it with what it could offer. To its credit, this debut film of Spider-Man’s cannibalistic and violent arch nemesis (note: the wall-crawler himself is nowhere to be found in this flick) lives up to its name: it is not the “cure” that it so clearly poised itself as to the banality of current superhero films but instead the very poison that made readers want to settle for the present state of the genre. Sadly, despite the richness of the character’s backstory in the comics, the film tries so hard to convince its viewers and itself that it is not a superhero movie that it ends up not really being much of a movie at all.

Avengers: Infinity War Goes to Infinity… But Not Beyond

Though Marvel announced Avengers: Infinity War in October 2014, in many ways the title for the 19th installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been a long time coming. Yes, the film is loosely based on Jim Starlin’s 1991 comic The Infinity Gauntlet (and its subsequent sequel The Infinity War) but even more so, the title is indicative of Marvel’s ongoing battle to tell cohesive and compelling crossover stories as its roster of heroes exponentially expands with each film. This conflict began back in 2008 when Nick Fury uttered to Tony Stark, “You’ve become a part of a bigger universe. You just don’t know it yet.”

With Infinity War, you can tell that its directors, the Russo Brothers, are trying to live out Thanos’ goal by making this film “balanced as all things should be.” Yet in their egalitarian attempts to give every character and plot thread a chance in the spotlight, Infinity War both does too much and consequently not enough. In its best moments, it is able to pull off the impossible, drawing together different franchises for a smorgasbord of action, spectacle and adventure.