Venom film review: Marvel’s latest has sting, but no bite
A spacecraft re-entering Earth’s orbit has a collision with a comet and crashes into Malaysia. As the vehicle shatters, some of its cargo of alien organisms escapes and finds its way to San Francisco.
In San Francisco, Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), a successful investigative journalist, overrides his editor’s directive and adopts means fair and foul to tear into interviewee Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed).
Drake — a billionaire with a God complex — is not a man to take the insult lying down. With the wave of a hand, he destroys Brock’s life. Brock loses his job, fiancee Anne (Michelle Williams) and home.
Drake’s obsession is ensuring his alien ‘Symbiotes’ can find human host bodies. Stop presses because who else but Brock emerges as the perfect carrier.
Luckily for Brock, Venom, the alien squatting in his body, is not all bad. He also has a sense of humour and is willing to adapt to the local culture. Though this is a great set up for some comic moments, it’s anything but funny when Venom takes a physical form – showing his sharp teeth, scaly dark skin, eel-like slithery tongue, unbeatable physical strength and appetite for human organs.
Not all Marvel comic books translate to jaw-dropping, repeat-worthy big screen extravaganzas. It takes a while before one gets accustomed to the tongue-in-cheek humour of ‘Venom’ as hotshot actor Tom Hardy’s body becomes a nesting ground for the alien parasite. Perhaps this origin story would have worked better if it had been more of a pastiche, after all how can you take seriously a creature that announces it’s ‘hungry’ before biting off a bad person’s head?
Hardy holds things together as best he can, and when the sequel comes, it will be interesting to see how Venom/ Brock woo Anne back and how they continue their tenuous co-habitation arrangement.
Director Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland, 2009), amps up the action with a few creative chase scenes and a stylised fight between two computer generated reptilian creatures, but he dials down the IQ. The result is so infantile that you barely care to wait for the mandatory mid-credit Marvel teasers.