Movie Review: Venom 3/5

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Venom Story: A bold reporter’s desperate attempt to redeem his career backfires when he is infected by a parasite who brings out his vicious alter-ego.

Venom Review: Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) is an intrepid journalist, who doesn’t know when to hold back, and this costs him dearly when he loses his job and more. His mistake? Taking on Carlton Drake – a businessman who considers himself to be a visionary, albeit with sketchy morals. Not to be outdone, Brock tries to probe into Drake’s shady activities when he encounters a mind-reading extra-terrestrial being that fuses with him giving him extraordinary powers. Brock is now left to choose how he uses his newfound abilities. If there was any doubt that Tom Hardy was best suited to take on the dual personalities of Venom/ Eddie Brock, they quickly dissipate once the interplay between the two begins. Hardy has handled roles that require him to juggle between personas, and he demonstrates all his prior experience here. Once ‘possessed’, Hardy infuses a playful yet dark aura to Brock that works well to bring some frenetic vigour to the film.

But the screenplay doesn’t allow us more insight into the moral conundrum going through his mind. This proves to be frustrating when you know that the actor behind the role has more depth and range than the script allows. In fact, it seems to be concerned mainly with stomping from one plot point to the next, which gets tedious. The dissonance between the characters and the plot points are painfully evident during the awkward conversations they have with each other; particularly between Brock and his ex-girlfriend Anne, featuring Michelle Williams in a baffling casting choice. Why hire a decorated actress if you don’t know how to maximise her skills? The same can be asked of Riz Ahmed who trudges along in villain mode as just another bad guy who wants to change the world because ‘reasons’.

What the screenplay lacks in character development, it makes up for in at least a couple of the action scenes which are well staged and executed, save for the anti-climax when it all converges into a massive CGI blob, quite literally. All hope isn’t lost though. A mid-credits scene does enough to build excitement for the subsequent sequel, which hopefully will feature Venom being integrating into the Spider-verse. If nothing, Tom Hardy proves that he’s more than equipped to play the sentient symbiote, but in the hands of a more adept director implementing a tauter story.

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