We have a problem! Expectations on comic book films are too high. Reviewers like myself love all forms of the story telling spectrum and as such, this is not our first dance when it comes to the character of Venom. We've seen the cartoon from the 90's, Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3 and we've even read some comic books along the way.
It's a curse to know the potential of something only to have it become a notch on a studio's belt. This is VENOM 2018.
Journalist Eddie Brock is trying to take down Carlton Drake, the notorious and brilliant founder of the Life Foundation. While investigating one of Drake's experiments, Eddie's body merges with the alien Venom -- leaving him with superhuman strength and power. Twisted, dark and fuelled by rage, Venom tries to control the new and dangerous abilities that Eddie finds so intoxicating.
VENOM has a problem. It's a movie made to entertain the general cinema going audience whilst ignoring hardcore fans like myself. It's a PG-13 affair when it should be Deadpool level violent. That's issue one. Issue two is VENOM casts Riz Ahmed, Michelle Williams and Tom Hardy in key roles. These actors have delivered some of the most amazing performances in film and TV and that sets expectations high for the audience. To be honest I think they were expecting a lot more out of this one too but unfortunately, they just didn't get it.
VENOM is a good film. It's not great, it's certainly not as terrible as they're all saying; it just suffers from 90's comic book-itis. Certain moments are hammed up to the point where it takes you out of what should be a dark and confusing time for Eddie Brock. He's carrying a parasite that gives him extraordinary powers and talks to him on a regular basis. He has a passenger in his head and it's telling him to do some terrible things whilst having fun at the same time. It could have been DARK with spattering’s of comedy but Sony Pictures in association with Marvel Films went light hearted.
Jenny Slate who as always is charming and funny appears as the science geek with a conscience and she's great but her styling look is very Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy, lab geek. You don't have to wear your hair up and wear specs to be a female scientist in film. You can look normal if you want... Scientists are people too right?
Then there's Michelle Williams who to me is so underrated it's criminal. She used to make challenging career choices but The Greatest Showman side-lined her abilities to supporting cast member (although if rumours are to be believed that may be Wolverine's fault!) and here she's the girlfriend, the love interest, the woman of the piece who finds strength but a lot of it judging from the film may have been left on the cutting room floor. For shame!
Tom Hardy, oh dear Tom. Your Eddie Brock is great but not sure what the Tom Hardy / Marlon Brando hybrid performance was about. It was strange, not wholly ridiculous but removed some of the levity of the situation Eddie faces as a man whose life could potentially end in an instant. Venom as we know can trick his hosts in to letting go completely so the beast can take over... in some cases for a mighty long time.
It's strange to think that an adult comic book character can be reduced to one liners and fast cut action sequences. He's essentially been neutered and put in to a box that doesn't allow his full potential to shine. Tom Hardy says a lot of the film ended up on the cutting room floor and hopefully we'll see a more complete cut at home ent.
All-in-all? It's an ok movie which I'd watch again. It has a ton of problems but has enough entertainment value to keep you going. You may feel like an outsider looking in whilst watching it but maybe it's best not to be fully sucked in to the dark and violent world of VENOM.