Venom: Film Review

My expectations for Venom were incredibly low and I really was preparing myself for the worst superhero movie ever – and while it was by no means good, I enjoyed it more than I expected to.

Tom Hardy stars as Eddie Brock, a journalist trying to uncover illegal practices at the Life Foundation, run by Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed). One day he infiltrates a lab and is infected with a symbiote, an alien life-form which needs a host to survive on Earth, and becomes Venom. Naturally Drake wants to track down his precious commodity and so Eddie and Venom basically go on the run to avoid capture, before realising that they need to make sure none of the other symbiotes return to space.

The greatest thing about Venom is Tom Hardy. This would have been so much worse without him. He gives his all to the part and was a lot of fun – possibly the most fun I’ve ever seen him. He made me laugh often. My favourite scenes in the movie where when he is first combined with the symbiote, when the symbiote physically controls his body, and every single scene where Hardy gets to have a conversation with the Venom voice in his head. Their relationship is excellent, producing scenes that were funny, had witty dialogue and were entertaining to watch.

Sadly those are bogged down with a lot of sub-standard stuff – the film felt quite cheesy and kinda old school in the way it didn’t try to compete with the high standard MCU films and went back to the superhero movies of the early 2000s. We have come to expect more from our superhero films and the basic plot, characters and so-so script doesn’t satisfy anymore.

The CGI was very bad at times which is unacceptable in a 2018 superhero film. I have many CGI pet peeves – one is a CGI beast, two is multiple CGI beasts battling each other, and three is the grand finale being a massive CGI mess – and Venom ticked all three boxes. It also didn’t help that I’m not a fan of Venom’s design – his face was cool but his body was so ugly to look at and just felt so retro.

I also felt like Venom didn’t really lean into the 15 age rating it’s been given in the U.K. There are swear words and some scary moments that may have given young kids nightmares, so I get why it wasn’t a 12A, but at the same time, why didn’t they show more blood and guts? All the violence takes place offscreen or is glossed over with clever editing so you never really see anything. Venom likes biting off people’s heads, but you never properly see it – it makes sense for it to be more adult. It really felt like there was a fight between studio and director Ruben Fleischer on that front.

Hardy was great, but the same can’t be said for his co-stars, although it’s more down to the script than them. Michelle Williams didn’t get her moment to shine as Eddie’s ex Anne, Jenny Slate was important for a while and then ditched, and Ahmed didn’t truly convince as a villain. I’m glad he didn’t ham it up, but he never really seemed that evil. In fact, the villains were pretty lame overall – Venom has been billed as one, but he’s all right really.

Some people have been talking about Venom like it’s a complete disaster, but it isn’t 100% awful. It is quite bad, yes, but there are moments to be enjoyed and I would like to see where Eddie and Venom’s partnership goes next.

In cinemas Wednesday 3rd October 

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