SONY PICTURES RELEASING (2018) 

Director: Ruben Fleischer

 

Starring: Tom Hardy, Riz Ahmed, Michelle Williams, Scott Haze, Reid Scott

“We are Venom”

 

After Spider-Man 3’s villainously bad attempt to bring the anti-hero Venom to the big screen, plus The Amazing Spider-Man’s 2’s nod, Zombieland’s Ruben Fleischer was tasked with delivering a movie fit for a head-biting symbiote. Combining the seismic talents of Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams and Riz Ahmed will certainly give you a solid platform with which to build from and Fleischer seemed to be a great fit in order to deliver the tone necessary but, whilst better than previous efforts, this Venom still doesn’t quite hit the heights it really should have.

Whilst trying to expose wrongdoings perpetrated by Life Foundation founder and crack scientist Carlton Drake (Ahmed), investigative journalist Eddie Brock (Hardy) finds himself out of a job when he pushes too far during an interview using classified information from his fiancée and attorney Anne’s (Williams) files. After a tip-off leads him back to the laboratory at night, his body is fused with one of the alien symbiotes that Drake has been testing on unsuspecting humans hoping for a perfect genetic match. The results leave Brock with extraordinary powers, but also an alter-ego, the savage and deadly Venom – and together they must stop the potential invasion of millions more deadly symbiotes from taking over Earth.

 

I feel it best to mention that Venom has been accused of coming “a decade too late” and other such things, however, it’s probably worth pointing out that there were good comic book movies back then (and ones that retained an element of fun amongst the need for uber-stoicism). That said, Venom isn’t one of the best comic book movies of the last decade or even this year potentially. Whilst I was disappointed with the end product, in all honesty, I had a good time with the movie for the most part and intrigued enough by the set up to see what may come next – however, any sequel would have to be much tighter and better structured than this.

 

From the beginning of the movie, the clunky storytelling is clearly apparent for all to see. How characters (mainly Brock) get from plot point A to B to C is convoluted and rushed – a charge that can absolutely be levelled at the pacing of Venom as a whole – and there’s little time for events to sink in before we’re marched off to the next situation to cover, which is a shame as this is Venom’s origin story. Tom Hardy delivers a good performance as the wired Brock and his ‘chemistry’ with Venom is the best aspect of the movie. Sadly, Michelle Williams is wildly underused and there’s no real time afforded to her relationship with Brock to allow any chemistry to blossom. Riz Ahmed’s patchy US accent is probably the most memorable part of his performance. It’s a huge shame as the talent assembled deserved more to work with – most of the blame can be attributed to the dodgy screenplay which really helps nobody. The back and forth between Brock and Venom provide the highlights of the movie, as the action scenes are pretty fun but not mind-blowing and the villains undercooked. When it’s Brock and Venom on screen together in any form, the movie is at its best. Symbiote snogging, however, was just a bit weird.

 

Also, the CGI in the movie is better than the trailers suggested, thankfully.

 

Whether or not this Venom will be integrated into the Spidey-verse remains to be seen, but the post-credits stinger hints at bigger (and badder) things to come. For fans of comic book-Venom’s head scoffing antics, you won’t be too disappointed here and the PG-13 rating works just fine – it could have been more violent/graphic, but the movie's success didn’t depend on it. Venom may not be the greatest comic book movie of all time, but it has its moments and isn’t quite as bad as you may have been led to believe.

October 6th 2018

© 2016 Matt Hudson / What I Watched Tonight / Essex

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