Venom is out now and the question on everyone’s lips is whether the film is any good. And I'm pleased to say yes, it is. It’s not a fantastic film by any means, but there are things to love about Sony’s Venom.
First we have to commend Tom Hardy who, while not exactly pleased with the final cut as per some recent reports turns in a fine job of Eddie Brock and the best thing is, you can actually understand what he’s saying! As Brock, Hardy flits between serious and sarcastic at the drop of a hat and for the most part it hits home, there are some definite lulls in the performance such as an elongated car chase sequence in which Tom comes across like he’s bored rather than terrified, but when he’s doing silly little one liners or engaging in romantic scenes he provides his usual shine.
Outside of Eddie though there’s a lot of flat notes. Michelle Williams acts her heart out but unfortunately, she’s been lumbered with stock woman from 2001 film syndrome and she’s not really fleshed out beyond acting as a device to move the plot along. She literally moves Eddie from scene to scene in places and then disappears only to reemerge for convenience.
Another character who felt stock is Riz Ahmed's Carlton Drake who is so unremarkable as a villain that I forgot who he was at one point. He hisses and chews scenery but it’s something we’re so familiar with in superhero movies, the big bad business lad, that it’s dry as dust on toast.
Unfortunately, this extends to Drake’s symbiote Riot as well, who wants to bring his brethren to earth to eat everyone on the planet. His fight with Venom is over before it starts and while Venom claims “you ain’t seen the sh*t he’s got” and states they have zero percent of winning, the fight is done and dusted within 10 minutes.
Venom, on the other hand, is funny, stupid at times, incredibly powerful and in one scene kinda sexy? He’s the perfect foil for Brock, always on hand to comment and pull comedy into scenes whether the audience wants it to be there or not. It’s this duo which reflects the film as a whole, as it’s very much of two halves. The action is either great or dull, the lines are either hilarious or miss by a country mile and the plot? Well that’s all over the place as well.
There were times the action moved so quickly that I felt like I’d missed crucial information, but then at times it moved so slowly I felt like the film was cheating me an action scene, but while it might sound like I’m complaining I had a really fun time with this film. It’s a piece covered in a thick layer of cheese which you’ll either love or hate.
There are moments such as with a noisy neighbour that you could compare this to Catwoman levels of skin crawling cringe and others which are just dumb like Venom's justification to stay and therefore save Earth, but at other times you could really feel and see what this film is capable of. There’s a great action sequence where Venom takes on a load of guards in a foggy room and it strikes a tone similar to the Alien films, that’s the Venom we wanted to see in Spider-Man 3, less talk more violence please.
Yet despite its tonal flips I left the film feeling entertained, I don’t love this film by any stretch but I enjoyed it. It’s very split down the middle but definitely not the worst superhero film out there that I know many, myself included, were worried it would be.
So that’s the main body, but as per usual there were some after credits sequences to digest, one including Woody Harrelson with quite brilliant hair and a clip from Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, which was utterly outstanding. Annoyingly this did highlight how much better that project looks than the one I just saw, showcasing comedy, action and danger in a 5 minute window. However, we’re here to talk Venom and with all this in mind I give this a rating of 3 out of 5.