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Venom

Hollywood Superhero Film: Venom Movie Review

Name: Venom Movie
Directed by:
 Ruben Fleischer
Starring: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Scott Haze, Reid Scott
Genre: ActionHorror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Release date: 05 October, 2018
Budget: $100 million
Running Time: 112 Minutes
Rating:

When Eddie Brock acquires the powers of a symbiote, he will have to release his alter-ego “Venom” to save his life.

Venom is a 2018 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Produced by Columbia Pictures in association with Marvel, and distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing, it is intended to be the first film in Sony’s Marvel Universe. The film is directed by Ruben Fleischer from a screenplay by Scott Rosenberg, Jeff Pinkner, and Kelly Marcel, and stars Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock / Venom, alongside Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Scott Haze, and Reid Scott. In Venom, journalist Brock is bound to an alien symbiote that gives him superpowers.

Sony began developing a Venom film after the character made his cinematic debut in Spider-Man 3 (2007). After various iterations, work on a new version began in March 2017 to start a new shared universe featuring the Marvel characters to which Sony possessed the film rights, though Sony also intended for the film to share the world of Spider-Man: Homecoming, which is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe after a deal between Sony and Marvel Studios. It was later clarified that the film is a standalone set in its own universe. Rosenberg and Pinkner were set to write, with Fleischer and Hardy added in May 2017. Principal photography began in October 2017, taking place in Atlanta, New York City, and San Francisco.

Venom premiered in Westwood, Los Angeles on October 1, 2018, and is scheduled to be released in the United States on October 5, 2018. The film received generally negative reviews from critics, who criticized the inconsistent tone and script, although Hardy’s performance has received praise.

Movie Trailer: #1

Movie Trailer: #2

Tom Hardy stars in the Spider-Man comics spin-off that features an alien monster. The film’s leading man has complained its best bits were edited out – but is that the case?

Venom Movie Review:

However tough your job may be at the moment, you can take comfort in the knowledge that it could be worse: you could be a publicist working for Sony Pictures. The studio’s latest would-be blockbuster, Venom, features an alien monster from the Spider-Man comics, who appeared as the villain in Sam Raimi’s third Spidey film. The plan to give him a film of his own has been knocking around for over a decade. And now it is finally here, with Tom Hardy in the starring role, and Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) directing. A few days ago, however, an interviewer asked Hardy to nominate the film’s best scene. “Things that weren’t in the movie,” Hardy replied. He went onto explain that his favourite “30 to 40 minutes” were edited out: “Mad puppeteering scenes. Dark comedy scenes … They just never made it in.”

In the circumstances, any negative review might seem superfluous, because it could hardly be more damning than the assessment made by the film’s own leading man. But it’s easy to see what prompted Hardy’s complaint. Venom is obviously the victim of some brutal editing, and the derivative, sketchily plotted B-movie that’s left is as scrappy and hurried as a trailer.

It gives up trying to be a gritty sci-fi horror movie and tries to be a zany buddy comedy

When he isn’t grumbling about the film in interviews, Hardy plays Eddie Brock, a television journalist who has his own hit network show in San Francisco, despite being perpetually unshaven and looking as if he could do with a shower. (His boss helpfully tells him that “there isn’t any investigative reporter better than you”, so maybe that explains it.) His latest assignment is to profile Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), a vaguely Elon Musk-ish entrepreneur who has shovelled his billions into space research.

One of his spacecraft has just crash-landed – or rather, crashed – in a Malaysian forest with a cargo of sentient extra-terrestrial goo. (Two recent films, Life and Rampage, include far more thrilling versions of the same scenario.) Most of this goo is taken back to Drake’s Californian lab, where he is intent on creating a new species by bonding the living slime with human hosts. Don’t ask, by the way, how this bonding works, or which planet the aliens are from, or why one of them should ultimately choose to call himself Venom. That sort of detail, along with Hardy’s favourite scenes, must have been edited out.

Perhaps Ahmed’s favourite scenes were edited out, too. He acts as if he is bored by his bland character, who seems less like a charismatic megalomaniac than a sidekick who’s there to do the megalomaniac’s bidding. As for Drake’s actual sidekicks, they are presented as respectable professionals, and yet almost none of them seems bothered by the number of people who are reduced to withered corpses in their experiments. This amorality extends all the way to Eddie’s fiancée, Anne, who is played by Michelle Williams with no distinguishing characteristics apart from her short tartan skirt and long blonde wig. Considering that she is a lawyer who is employed to cover up Drake’s murderous research, you might expect Anne to feel a twinge of guilt about her dirty job, but it never occurs to the film-makers that she is anything less than angelic.

At least Eddie confronts Drake, but he is sacked from his TV job the next day. He goes onto spend several months in a bar because, apparently, no other outlet wants to employ the world’s best investigative reporter, and he doesn’t have a website or a YouTube channel of his own. Superhero movies may not be renowned for their logic and plausibility, but the plotting of Venom is pushing it – and that’s even before we get to the sentient “symbiotes” from another world.

It’s a relief when we do eventually get to them. When Eddie sneaks back into Drake’s laboratory, a sticky black puddle slithers into him, and he has to share his body with a creature from outer space. At first the alien interloper is just a gruff voice in his head, barking instructions and butting into his conversations. Then it sends gloopy tendrils shooting out of him to knock down Drake’s henchmen. And finally –  after almost an hour  –  the ooze envelops him and he becomes an oily, 10-ft-tall monster with an obscenely snaking tongue, and teeth like sharpened stakes. He’s the stuff of nightmares –  a dentist’s nightmares in particular.

But instead of making him frightening, the film quickly establishes that Venom is a cartoonish knucklehead who poses no threat to Eddie or his friends. Indeed, a film which has been touted as a darker, scarier alternative to the standard superhero blockbuster ends up being lighter and more child-friendly than most of them. In its last half an hour it gives up trying to be a gritty sci-fi horror movie and tries to be a zany buddy comedy, with the Eddie / Venom double act owing as much to Laurel and Hardy as it does to Jekyll and Hyde.

This section is surprisingly fun. Hardy flings himself into his dual role with all the manic gusto of Jim Carrey in The Mask and Steve Martin in All of Me. And there are a couple of decent action sequences in which motorbikes and cars chase each other up and down the steep streets of San Francisco.

But Venom has only just found this comic tone when it rushes to its anticlimactic climax. Conveniently, the symbiote runs into another symbiote who is nearly identical to the T1000 in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. And then we finish with a fight between two snarling CGI behemoths, a predictable but mercilessly brief punch-up that brings back memories of 2008’s The Incredible Hulk. That film, you might recall, was positioned as the first episode in a long-running franchise, but no sequels were ever made. It’s unlikely that any Venom sequels will be made, either.

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