Title – Venom (2018)
Director – Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland)
Cast – Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Woody Harrelson, Jenny Slate
Plot – Reporter Eddie Brock (Hardy) becomes inhabited by a symbiote power that unleashes a terrifying alter ego known as Venom that he must learn to control if he is to save his city and those he loves from a deadly threat.
“You should be extremely afraid”
Review by Eddie on 08/10/2018
There’s no doubt that Venom is light-year’s away from being a good film (it’s also more entertaining than a fair few haters have made it out to be) but thanks to the tireless work of its leading man, Ruben Fleischer’s film almost overcomes its various flaws to be the killer off-kilter comic book movie fans were clamouring for.
More than likely victim of studio interference in the end-game (star Tom Hardy only recently made headlines suggesting around 40 minutes of the film was left on the cutting room floor), Venom struggles hard to find its grove between generic comic book origin story 101, anti-hero trying to do good and a big bad that is so tiresome and eye-rolling that it’s hard to care much at all but it never stops Hardy from giving it his all as reporter turned alien host Eddie Brock.
Fighting against a film that wastes its large budget on tiresome and forgettable action scenes (the film generally lacks a good set-piece), amateur editing and a thoroughly boring support cast led by Michelle Williams, Jenny Slate and Riz Ahmed, Hardy dives head first into his role and tries to single handily give Venom the spark it needed to succeed in embracing its zaniness.
Much like Ryan Reynolds slipping into the Deadpool suit like a match made in movie heaven, Hardy feels like the man made to be Brock/Venom and as his down on his luck reporter begins his life as a duel being, Fleischer’s film shows glimpses of what could’ve been had the studio had the guts to commit itself to joining Hardy in going after the true spirit of this creation.
It’s often laugh out loud hilarious seeing Hardy learning to deal with the new voice in his head (ever wanted to see Hardy sit in a tank full of live lobsters fully clothed?) and his new powers and at various times in these instances, Venom becomes a genuinely funny and excitingly fresh feeling comic book movie but these instances are always fleeting as Fleischer’s lifeless directing and Venom’s tired plotline take hold once more.
Fleischer’s whose been in a funk since his breakout hit Zombieland allows Venom to become one of the most glaringly obvious cases of an actor trying their best to elevate a film they’re in in quite some time and one hopes that as the film turns a profit, Hardy will stick around for further adventures that hopefully learn from the mistakes made here as this property feels far from D.O.A should the studio and future filmmakers match their actor at his game.
Final Say –
There’s a lot wrong with Venom and its following of the rule book is both tiresome and unfortunate but there’s no denying Hardy’s brilliantly bonkers lead turn is worth the price of admission alone, even if everything else in Fleischer’s film leaves much to be desired.
2 ½ newspaper vendors out of 5