VENOM review by Patrick Hendrickson – Tom Hardy is Spider-Man’s most popular villain… minus Spidey

VENOM review by Patrick Hendrickson – Tom Hardy is Spider-Man’s most popular villain… minus Spidey

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VENOM is a story that revolves around two pieces of one puzzle. The first piece would be Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), an idealistic journalist whose career is shattered for asking the wrong questions to the wrong people. The second piece would be a parasitic alien entity known as “Venom” who comes to earth and finds himself bonded to Eddie. Their partnership quickly becomes inconvenient for an unscrupulous business man named Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) who aspires to utilize Venom, and other Symbiotes, as a means of self-preservation. What Carlton does not understand is that these creatures eventually drain their hosts to the point of death.

The biggest issue with the plot would be Venom’s character, or lack thereof, as the symbiote more or less decides at random that he likes Eddie and Earth and is going to stay there as well as keep his alien brethren from taking it over. Venom does not have much conflict or any driving motivation aside from eating people. This would not be such an issue if the creature was not established to be a very separate character from Eddie, who is given much more development and much more of a history.

Carlton Drake is another weak point in this production. He is evil to the point of stupidity and being cartoonish, portrayed with an air of gravitas and weight that quite frankly is nonsensical when compared to the tone of the rest of the movie. Ahmed’s portrayal might be to blame for this, but it could also fall on the director’s shoulders as well as the script itself. Hardy does a good job of portraying Eddie both at the top of his life in the beginning and the bottom of it for the breadth of the run time. This continues even once Venom shows up and Hardy has to portray Eddie in the midst of mysterious infection and the natural fear and confusion that accompany this state. The movie starts to shine once Venom comes to the forefront of the story. His interactions with his host form a good amount of comedic moments which breathes a little life into this production. Compared to the droll seriousness of some other comic book movies, this is a joyous element.

The action can be a bit of a mess at times due to the high-speeds at which Venom moves, especially when battling other symbiotes, SWAT teams, whatever gets in his way. He hops and slides all around at a break-neck pace that the camera seemingly (er, CGI) cannot keep up with. The visuals seem to lag behind Venom’s quick movement at times and this makes the action difficult to enjoy on more than one occasion. The movie is not all that smart, but I cannot help but wonder if that was what one should expect walking into this. Expecting something too serious is a mistake whereas expecting a goofy and senseless action movie is more advisable. Add on an investing main performance and some decent comedic moments and there is not a ton to complain about, outside of maybe what more it could have been. VENOM gets a 4/5.

VENOM opens October 5, 2018

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