Out this week in cinemas is the next superhero film Venom. Starring Tom Hardy and Michelle Williams about the infamous villain of Spider-Man.
In Venom Tom Hardy portrays Eddie Brock. He is the man on the street bringing down the establishment with The Brock Report a segment that he runs at the newspaper he works at in San Francisco.
One day he is given the task to do a puff piece on hotshot scientist Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) and by taking advantage of his fiancé Anne’s (Michelle Williams) position he learns about despicable experiments being done by Drake.
Unfortunately, this leads to both Anne and Eddie losing their jobs and Anne breaking off their engagement. While this is all going on in Eddie’s life Carlton Drake has succeeded in bringing home his latest pet project from an expedition into space. This pet project has to do with a lovely bunch of symbiotic aliens that he hopes will save mankind.
Six Months Later…
Venom then fast forwards six months later and all the characters are in various areas of success and by that I mean no one is succeeding because any kind of symbiosis between human and symbiote that Drake and his team are trying to achieve fails with death occurring for the human.
Eddie has also hit on hard times as he is living in a shitty apartment is living off the dregs of his savings and lives beside the worst neighbour every who blares music at all hours of the morning keeping Eddie from relaxation.
When Eddie gets contacted by one of the scientists from Drakes team (a woefully underused Jenny Slate) telling him about the awful events going on behind those closed doors he investigates.
It is here that Eddie meets Venom.
Venom is a fascinating film. It is both a complete mess but at the same time a ton of fun. I’ll start with the positives of which sadly there are few. First off there is Eddie and Venom. Their relationship their back and forth is brilliant. From the moment they become bonded there is a sense of sinister glee. The symbiote is the co-pilot you want on your adventure and easily the best aspect of Venom is Venom himself. In short Tom Hardy is the MVP of the film.
Compounding on top of this dark edge is a visceral score that adds to the dark comedy. You’ll chuckle when heads start rolling (they do by the way) and you’ll be entertained by the monstrous nature of the childlike attitude of the symbiote and Eddie.
The action, for the most part, is also a lot of fun. Watching Venom tear apart squads of goons is brilliant. Unfortunately, it all starts to unravel when the third act kicks in and the CGI battles begin in earnest.
Like A Turd in the Wind
Two-thirds of this film are fun and interesting as you watch a man slowly turn into a monster. Sadly when Riot (Venoms rival) comes into the film in the third act all the cracks turn into massive gaping holes. The rules of the film break down. The motivations of several characters turn a complete 180 degrees with no reasons given and the action scenes turn into scenes reminiscent of the Transformers franchise.
This is all down to director Ruben Fleischer. You may know his work from Zombieland and Gangster Squad. He cannot direct action. As I stated earlier it’s all standard affair when Venom is facing off against human foes but when he does battle against Riot it is a mass of bulbous shapes which is a shame because a director with an eye for action could have got something supremely dynamic out of these battles.
The biggest issue with Venom though, and it’s one that Sony Pictures does a lot, is that they showed the final scene of the film in the trailer which is an egregious cinematic crime.
Ultimately Venom and Eddie are a dynamic duo with a surprisingly refreshing rapport. Sadly they are both let down by a director who can’t bring out their true monstrous nature. Come for the symbiote stay for Tom Hardy talking to himself and two fascinating after credit scenes.