Venom is a very interesting movie. It’s a waste of potential, but it’s still entertaining to watch. After being in Spider-Man 3 for only fifteen minutes, many fans are still hoping to see a good adaptation of Venom on the big screen. Directed by Ruben Fleischer, who is mainly known for making the wildly entertaining Zombieland, he is now in charge of introducing a new iteration of the popular character in his own movie without relying on Spider-Man to tell the story. It’s undeniably a fun flick, but you can still tell this is a desperate attempt from Sony trying to create another cinematic universe with their set of Marvel characters. The Sonyverse is definitely not off to a good start.
Tom Hardy plays a struggling reporter named Eddie Brock who is trying to investigate the mysterious Life Foundation corporation, and gather evidence of the CEO Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) doing illegal experiments on people with symbiotes. After Brock breaks into the research building, he then bonds with one of the symbiotes and becomes the ferocious Venom. And sorry for the bad news, but Spider-Man is nowhere in this movie. He is where he belongs in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and not in the messy Sonyverse.
First of all, it’s heart-breaking to say that this is Tom Hardy’s worst performance in his career. It’s undeniably intriguing to see Eddie and the symbiote interact with one another, but there are times his acting is unintentionally hilarious. It’s a shame, because Hardy is a great actor! He tries his best to bring some depth to the character, but it just doesn’t work. Michelle Williams as his ex-girlfriend Anne is fine in the movie, but at times it just feels like she’s just phoning it in for a paycheck. Her romance with the main protagonist is a little forced and uninspired, and it’s the least interesting part of the entire movie. Riz Ahmed could have been the right guy to play the sinister Carlton Drake, but the script makes him a clichéd and boring villain. Every time he talks, it makes you want to cringe.
A missed opportunity for Venom is that it could have been rated R! What happened?! Venom is a violent comic book character that eats people, and it would have been more fascinating to see him kill some folks with blood and gore. Logan and Deadpool have the guts to do that, so you can’t help but think that this movie could have been a lot more intriguing with an R rating. The film does have some tension, yet it feels completely rushed, as the script is trying to develop the character as quickly as possible. Granted, some of the action scenes are really entertaining to watch, even if some of them have choppy editing, which compromises the experience as a whole. Also, the final battle is a forgettable CGI mess, and you just don’t care.
In the end, Venom is not a complete “turd in the wind”, but it’s still not a great movie. Tom Hardy deserves better, and this is easily the worst performance of his acting career by far. The film could have been an incredible origin story for Eddie Brock/Venom, yet it’s nothing special. While it does have some choppy editing and uninspired characters, it’s undeniably a fun popcorn flick at times. As a guilty pleasure, it works. As a movie trying to set up a new cinematic universe, it doesn’t quite work. Sony is still struggling, and it shows.
Venom is now playing in theatres.