VENOM – a Turd in the Wind

The first trailer was bad bad and it doesn’t appear VENOM got any better than that. When I first saw the trailer it looked like a devolved , something that was big in the 90s and the 00s. It has a Tobey Maguire Spiderman era tone made popular by Sony back in the day but has since been made archaic by the unstoppable force that is Marvel. VENOM is out now, from Sony Pictures Releasing, it is rated M and runs for 112 long minutes. Kernel Blake took one for the team and reviewed this sadly disappointing film, if it didn’t star I imagine this would be killed, even more, with fire. 

Enjoy Blake’s thoughts……..all the best……..JK. 

BY

Expectations can be a funny thing. When VENOM was first announced, it wasn’t going to be apart of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and it wasn’t going to feature Spider-Man, the character’s main nemesis. The film was initially going to be R-rated but was then pared back to a PG-13. A few underwhelming trailers with some ropey CGI also did little to give fans of the comic series much hope. All that was left was the inclusion of Tom Hardy as the titular anti-hero, but would he be enough to subvert the low expectations heading in?

 

Venom Michelle Williams Tom Hardy image
and Tom Hardy

 

VENOM SYNOPSIS:

In what appears to be the not-to-distant future, VENOM begins with a spacecraft returning to Earth crash-landing into the Malaysian jungle. Carrying alien lifeforms collected from a comet, the ship belongs to tech-genius/billionaire/Zuckerberg-type Carlton Drake (, ROGUE ONE) who sends a rescue team to collect his new discoveries in the hopes of furthering medical research.

Meanwhile, crack investigative reporter, Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy, MAD MAX FURY ROAD), host of a VICE-style news program, lands an interview with Drake hoping to expose some shady dealings taking place in Drake’s ultramodern San Francisco laboratory. These shady dealings are brought to light after Brock snoops through his fiancé Anne’s (Michelle Williams) laptop, a lawyer working a compensation case against Drake.

Eddie pushes Drake’s buttons with his line of questioning and in turn loses his job and his girl after Drake uses his power and influence to get Anne fired as well. Six months on, Eddie is a broken man, unemployable and single, living in a dingy apartment until an employee of Drake contacts him hoping to expose Drake and his lab tests.

When Brock investigates the human trials using the alien lifeforms, known as Symbiotes, he comes in contact with one of the organisms and VENOM is born. The Symbiote is a parasite that requires a suitable host to survive on Earth, boosting the hosts strength and resilience but also slowly killing them in the process. With Drake desperate to retrieve his stolen prized alien, Brock is slowly taken over by the VENOM voice in his head, helping him escape his pursuers.

 

Venom image
Venom

 

VENOM DESCENDS INTO CLICHED MADNESS:

As an origin story, VENOM has a lot of exposition to give to the audience and the first hour or so is a bit of a slog before VENOM appears and starts to liven things up a little with some inventive action scenes and a few moments of genuine comedy. The films better moments are when Eddie is talking to the parasitic voice in his head, constantly demanding live food and wanting to bite everyone’s head off. Although this works at times, it seems like a missed opportunity at a Jekyll & Hyde type story with Brock horrified by the actions of the being controlling him.

Unfortunately, after a few brighter moments with VENOM taking over, the film descends into cliched nonsense when another Symbiote fuses with Drake for a convoluted, muddled, poorly shot fight scene between VENOM and his new threat. If you can figure out what is happening throughout the whole last act set piece, you’re doing better than me. It is truly terrible.

After all the plodding exposition and build up to finally getting to see VENOM in full flight, the film is pretty much over in a rush, with the feeling a lot was left on the cutting room floor.

 

Venom Riz Ahmed and Tom Hardy image
Riz Ahmed and Tom Hardy

 

THE CAST:

To his credit, Hardy does a decent enough job with Eddie/Venom, seemingly the only one in on the joke that this is a film not to be taken seriously. In fact, if they had completely removed the Drake subplot and just spent more of the film going into the strained inner relationship between Brock and VENOM, this film would’ve been far more entertaining.

Ahmed looks lost as the villainous, Elon Musk-alike spending most of his time looking slightly perturbed that things aren’t working out for him. The script does him no favours and Michelle Williams as Eddie’s ex-fiancé is absolutely wasted with a few brief scenes not giving her a whole heap to do.

Directed by Ruben Fleischer, who also directed ZOMBIELAND and GANGSTER SQUAD, VENOM is a bit dull and flat looking, lacking much of the visuals from his other films. Venom himself looks fine at times, but some shoddy CGI in a lot of scenes, particularly the truly awful last fight sequence really brings the film down.

 

Venom image
Venom

 

WRAP IT UP:

I went in to VENOM with incredibly low expectations and while it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting, a few laughs aside, it wasn’t all that great either. It feels too watered down, the script is pretty underdone and the villain is pretty much unnecessary. Hardy puts in a decent enough performance but it’s not enough to save it and proves once again that just because you slap a Marvel logo on it, unless Marvel Studios makes it, it’s probably not going to be any good. For those of you with superhero fatigue, this won’t change your mind on these types of films.

VENOM has always been a cool character and there are brief glimpses of a better movie in here, but this isn’t the film to prove that point, even with the optimistic sequel setup after the credits. A turd in the wind indeed.

 

 

 

YOUR REVIEWER:

Kernel Blake is a part-time beard bandit, philanthropist, industrialist….bicyclist…photographer, world traveller, movie lover, a man of few words who enjoys the finer things in life. Like reciting Snake Plissken quotes. And when all that fails, heads out to a racetrack to do skids. He can be found twatting @bcurrall80 and hipstergramming @bcurrall80

** All images courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor/publisher – credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.