VENOM (15)

D: Ruben Fleischer

Sony/Columbia/Marvel/Tencent (Avi Arad, Matt Tolmach & Amy Pascal)

US 2018

112 mins

Action/Adventure/Science Fiction

W: Jeff Pinkner, Scott Rosenberg & Kelly Marcel [based on characters created by David Michelinie & Todd MacFarlane]

DP: Matthew Libatique

Ed: Maryann Brandon & Alan Baumgarten

Mus: Ludwig Göransson

Tom Hardy (Eddie Brock / Venom), Michelle Williams (Anne Weyling), Riz Ahmed (Carlton Drake / Riot), Scott Haze (Roland Treece), Reid Scott (Dr. Dan Lewis), Jenny Slate (Dr. Dora Skirth)

Box Office Poison it may not be, but a poor opening weekend will be hugely disappointing to the executives at Sony, who were probably expecting a big cocaine bonus before moving on to fucking over another franchise. As far as I'm concerned, it serves them right, since they don't really have any respect for the movies and only see it as a get rich quick scheme, demonstrated in the way they've remade movies which didn't need to be remade and their insistence on holding onto some rights to comic book characters just so Marvel can't have them.

For those unfamiliar with the Venom character, he appeared in 2007's Spider-Man 3 as an evil opposite to Peter Parker's superhero. In short, it's a symbiotic alien lifeform which integrates with its host and possesses superpowers such as strength, speed and biting people's heads off.

This origin story stars Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock, an investigative reporter with a habit of rubbing people up the wrong way, and when he asks the "wrong questions" to the unscrupulous head of a shady science company he is subsequently fired and dumped by his fiancé. Broke, desperate and alone, he investigates further and is attacked by the parasitic life-form and becomes the antihero of the title.

Though Tom Hardy does a good job with what he's given, Venom has many problems. The first being that the pacing of first half of the movie is so boring and dull by the time it gets to the good stuff you may be beyond caring. The script is nowhere near as dark as it could have been, and with films like Deadpool and Logan in comparison, it feels as though Sony were worried that this film would get an R-rating and therefore lose its ideal demographic audience. It also wastes so much time setting up a showdown with a bad guy at the expense of a potential twist which could have been a startling surprise in an otherwise film that plays it safe with all the usual comic book tropes and cliches.

The worst thing by far about the film however, are the CGI effects, which would have looked passable in 1997 but for a big budget movie with a 2018 release, you'll be forgiven for asking where all the money went... the answer is likely to be up Sony executives' nostrils.

For a film about a parasitic life form, it's more than fair to say that Venom needs Tom Hardy in its screen credits an awful lot more than Tom Hardy needs Venom in his.