Tom Hardy is Enjoyable as Venom, Even if the Movie is Mild

venom reviewRelease Date: October 5th, 2018
Cast: Tom Hardy, Riz Ahmed, Michelle Williams, Scott Haze, Reid Scott
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Studio: Columbia Pictures
Distributor: Sony
Spoilers: Mild
IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes | Wikipedia

Rating:

Venom has finally resurrected on the big screen! Over a decade after the last (horrible) attempt, we are back at it again with a new origin story, a new Eddie Brock, and a new villain – the Elon Musk-esque Carlton Drake – who hopes to pioneer the stars. How does is stack up? Is this the Venom people have been clambering for?
 
I can say, based on the audience reactions in my advanced screening, it’s what the people wanted. There were cheers, claps, shouts of glee throughout! Whether or not that was entirely warranted, eh. But they ate it up. 
 
Tom Hardy is Eddie Brock, a Vice-lite reporter who takes down the crooks of the world. Meanwhile, the LIFE Foundation is launching spaceships, for what purpose the public doesn’t quite know. As it turns out, it is to find aliens. When they get brought back, things go awry quickly, and our humble reporter finds himself bonding with a new friend – the symbiote, Venom.
 
Despite how the trailers painted this flick, it wasn’t an absolute garbage cash-grabs of the lowest order. And that’s nice because really we are getting too many of those half-heart attempts. Instead, it’s a movie that takes a little while to find its footing, but ends up having some good moments.
 
The bad: An opening chunk stuck firmly in the early 2000’s serious superhero style, with labs, gloomy lighting and lots of science nonsense. An overly long motorcycle chase sequence in the middle that barely scratches the Venom itch. The final showdown is a gooey, difficult to see mess. You’d think with the idea of the symbiote (alien that can be anything!) the fight scenes would have more pizzazz but they boil down to just swirling dark colors set on a stormy night.
 
The good: Tom Hardy. He is a delight in this, as a mumbling drunk fighting off a parasitic take over, he goes all-in on goofy and it pays off. His Venom grows as much on the audience as he does Eddie and the two become a fun pair to watch figure out their lot and what they’ll do next. Unfortunately, that comes a bit too late in the movie to allow it to really shine like it should.
 
If nothing else, this movie revealed that the core concept – that relationship between man and alien-suit – is a winning combination, even if the surrounding material is forgettable at best. I hope they get the chance to continue on, an entire movie of the Brock-Venom duo would be easily worth the ticket price.
 
Venom is in theaters now. Oh, and it’s a pseudo Marvel movie, so stick for the credits for a nice surprise.