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The Venom Movie Moment That Went Too Far

When Ruben Fleischer's adaptation of "Venom" premiered in 2018, there seemed to be a push-and-pull between audience enjoyment and deeper scrutiny of what many critics considered a muddled origin story. Upon its debut, the movie notably earned a 30% rating on Rotten Tomatoes from reviewers, while its audience score reached a high of 81%. When watching the film, it becomes clear that there is a heavy mix of stand-out scenes and head-scratchers alike.

Throughout the movie, main character Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) strives to redeem himself after inadvertently sabotaging his career as an investigative journalist. At the same time, he must learn how to co-exist with a parasitic alien, or "symbiote," called Venom. Over and over again, the unlikely duo attempts to establish a tenuous alliance in order to survive. While trying to make sense of his new life, Eddie fights to take down Life Foundation, the bioengineering corporation that has been secretly experimenting on humans with dangerous symbiotes. Here, he befriends Dora Skirth (Jenny Slate), a Life Foundation scientist hoping to blow the whistle on its lethal research.

With "Venom," a number of viewers frequently agree on one thing: Hardy completely commits to his role, digging deep into an absolutely bonkers portrayal of a man struggling to do right (via Vanity Fair). However, other characters end up suffering in terms of overall development. In this way, the narrative often fails to find its footing, leading to a specific plotline that may have gone too far.

The film kills off Dora because it doesn't know what to do with her

Initially, Jenny Slate's casting as Dora Skirth spurred a widely positive reaction online (via ComicBook.Com). Known primarily for her comedic work, Slate's charisma and humor certainly could have lent a sardonic edge to a film that leans in a surprisingly campy direction. However, "Venom" severely underutilizes her abilities.

In the movie, Dora largely acts timid and uncertain, watching the horrific events unfurl in front of her with a furrowed brow. When she approaches Eddie, she is primarily the straight man to his unhinged behavior. In a review of the film, Vulture criticized the story for mishandling Slate's role, noting that, "Someone should pay for casting Jenny Slate in a dour, non-comic role." Moreover, her personal development is flattened and ignored. The only thing we know about Dora is that she has children. She repeatedly mentions this information to Eddie to stress that she, too, has a lot to lose. Frustratingly, however, Eddie ignores her worries.

Then, Dora is killed off in a brief, unsatisfying scene. Life Foundation owner Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) unleashes a deadly symbiote to attack Dora for her betrayal. After barely making a dent in the narrative, she is murdered and never mentioned again. Gallingly, Eddie doesn't even wonder what happened to her or why she disappeared. In the end, "Venom" fails to take advantage of Slate's character and squanders any contributions she could have made to the film.