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Review: Bite taken out of Venom with some lacklustre performances

  • Based on popular comic book character 
  • Tom Hardy 'passion' project
  • Lack of on-screen chemistry hinders film

Venom is a Sony film adaptation of a favourite Marvel Comics character of the same name.

It is directed by Ruben Fleischer, who is known for directing films such as Zombieland and Gangster Squad, and stars Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams and Riz Ahmed.

The film is intriguing for fans due to the fact that Venom has been typically shown to be a villain in the classic Spider-Man stories.

However, as stories and characters developed Venom has taken on more of an anti-hero role. Additionally, Venom’s origin is closely intertwined with Spider-Man and with the film not featuring Spider-Man the makers were left to craft their own interpretation.

Tom Hardy plays journalist Eddie Brock, who attempts to bring down Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), founder of the Life Foundation, for his unethical experiments.

This however becomes the downfall for Eddie because in the process he gets his fiancée Annie (Michelle Williams) fired.

All of this misfortune leads Eddie to head back to the Life Foundation facility where he encounters and unintentionally merges with the alien Venom.

The first act of the film has a tendency to drag. There is a lot of exposition and set-up for the rest of the film and it can leave you feeling impatient for the film to pick up momentum and give you what was promised – a horror, action, sci-fi film with one of the most popular characters in the Spider-Man gallery of rogues.

The film suffers from a classic problem with other previous Marvel films, having a weak villain. Riz Ahmed gives a passible but uncharismatic performance, leaving much to be desired from the main villain of the piece.

The same could be said for Michelle Williams’ character who it is hard to invest emotions in. you. This is mainly due to her and Hardy’s character having no on-screen chemistry.

However, Hardy’s performance is entertaining, especially after he bonds with his alien co-pilot.

His interaction and relationship with Venom is one of the main highlights of the film. Their back-and-forth provides a lot of the film’s comedy and its main driving force – making Venom one of Hardy’s best co-stars.

The scenes with Venom really liven up the film and scratch that desired itch a lot of Venom fans long for.

Venom is a film that does have glaring problems from the get go, but there are glimmers of a good moments in the film and there is genuine enjoyment to be had. The disappointing aspect of the film is the feeling of wasted potential, as the moments that do not hold back on Venom give a glimmer to what could have been.

Unfortunately, Hardy’s performance was not enough to carry the film all the way to a complete success. 6/10

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