Sean Collier, A&E Writer
So you are probably thinking “how many times am I going to see an article talking about the Venom movie?”. Well don’t worry, this is the last time I plan on writing about that movie… Probably. The main reason why I want to talk about it again is, whether or not you’ve seen it, people that talk about Venom have been comparing it to the movie Upgrade. I personally compared the two movies myself at first and so, here we are. I’m going to tell you why people compare these movies and give you my analysis on it.
Before I go any further I want to point out that I think Upgrade is a far superior movie. The stakes are high and you feel for Grey and what he goes through. Both of the movies are highly entertaining, but Upgrade was unexpectedly more high concept than I thought it would be. Venom is a fun movie to watch, but you don’t really have anything to take from it. Upgrade shows the degradation of human society as technology continuously gets more advanced. What does Venom give us? Confusion as to whether or not it’s a good movie… Oh, and the need to have the image of Venom and Eddie making out purged from your mind.
Both of the movies have a male protagonist who, by strange a turn of events, end up having something in their body that gives them enhanced abilities and someone to talk to in their head. (Eddie Brock gets a symbiotic bond with Venom, and Grey gets the A.I. chip, STEM imbedded in his spinal cord.) They both use this to go after the bad guys and kick butt. The protagonist in Upgrade, Grey, has a stronger motive due to his wife being murdered in front of him. Whereas Eddie in Venom simply wants payback and to bring down the villain for the greater good. Both movies definitely have some spine tingling moments and have a dark tone with humor peppered in. In the movies, both protagonists technically kill the bad guys. In Venom it is more censored due to its PG-13 rating, whereas Upgrade didn’t pull any punches when showing those poor baddies being brutalized.
Both movies have a similar set up and somewhat of a similar feel at first. However, when you actually watch them, they are worlds apart. Upgrade not only gives the audience an epic action movie, but also some things to think about and possibly scare them. Upgrade gives you the tone and runs with it. Venom doesn’t feel like it knows where it wants to be between horror or dark comedy along with the action. Both of the movies are pretty predictable, however the end of Upgrade more than makes up for any disappointment in that aspect.
With all that being said, here are some things I think Upgrade did that would’ve made Venom better. First of all, the R rating. Venom would’ve definitely been better if it didn’t hold back. The stakes would’ve been higher and it would have more impact on the audience. In the same vein, I feel like the villain should’ve had more impact on Eddie in general. It would give more reason behind Eddie’s actions and make the audience feel for him.
In Upgrade, Grey’s wife is murdered. If something like that happened to Eddie’s fiancé in the beginning, it would have meant more in general. Also, both of the protagonists don’t really want to kill anyone. Their partner, whether it is Venom or STEM, doesn’t mind killing. Venom would have been better if they ran with the dark, horror tone and had Eddie going after the bad guys for payback. He could go after all of the people involved and then finally get the main baddie. THEN we’d see Riot in action. It would make it more of a twist and make the audience have an “oh crap” moment that you get plenty of in Upgrade.
Now I know it probably isn’t totally fair to compare these movies since Venom is a comic book movie. However, I’ve been hearing them be compared so often and people completely disregard how different Upgrade actually is and how much more impactful the story is. Venom is a very entertaining movie, but Upgrade is probably one of the best action movies I’ve seen so far this year. Even though they are similar in various aspects, at the end of the day STEM wins. STEM always wins…