Movie Review: ‘Venom’


Director: Ruben Fleischer

Cast: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Scott Haze, Jenny Slate

Plot: A space mission returns to Earth with alien organisms that seek to form a symbiotic bond with humans. Investigative reporter Eddie Brock becomes the unwitting host to alien creature Venom.

Review: Before the MCU became a game changing moment in film history superhero films were…unimaginative. Highly formulaic, remarkably basic story elements and a mish-mash of CGI brawling for the third act. Venom somehow feels like it was made during this era, sealed in a time capsule and now rediscovered. 

This is especially apparent in the way the story plays out. We have the obvious set-ups of bullies, jerks and loud neighbours who we know’ll get karmic retribution in the second act. Haven’t seen that since Catwoman. We have a long, long set-up of the hero followed by a period of him bumbling around accidentally discovering his powers. Then an evil version of the hero to fight with slo-mo CGI (bonus points because he’s an evil industrialist). It’s all so structured and regimented that Venom goes from looking to kill and destroy the human race to wanting to save it from his own race because he “changed his mind”. It was a real “Martha” moment.

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Tom Hardy can be an intense actor, and not a bad fit for the role. The actor has a very clear idea about what he wants to do with the character, but the script goes all over the place and what Hardy is attempting doesn’t fit. He’s sold as a badass journalist whose dedication to the story ends up costing him everything important to him. Sometimes the tone switches to goofy buddy-cop malarky and it feels like changing gears in a stationary cars.

Venom is the most iconic figure in the Spider-Man comics after the titular web-head. He’s a villain with remarkable depth when he’s got the right writer. He’s certainly striking looking, and it’s hard to mess up his design on film, he’s almost perfectly designed a good special effects house. 

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Oh, wait…

At least this time around Venom looks pretty cool. When he first pops up there’s a touch or cartoon to him, especially when Eddie does the teeth at his rocker neighbour. There’s plenty of space for imaginative action scenes but the opportunity is mostly wasted. The final battle is against a very similar looking foe and it’s hard to follow what’s happening during it’s very brief running time. This movie also feature 2018’s second Evil Elon! I liked the one in Upgrade more. Actually…these are the exact same movies…

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Sadly this is another stumble for Sony’s Spidey franchise.

Rating: THREE out of TEN

Oh, and it’s weird that they mention kryptonite in this film. Is the DC comics a thing in the Marvel universe? Is Marvel a thing in DC? Does that mean New York is a fictional setting in the DC universe?

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