Venom marks one of the few Marvel movies not associated with the MCU and in this case, that’s actually a good thing. This is probably the most underwhelming Marvel movie since Fantastic Four.
It stars Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock, an investigative journalist in San Francisco who stumbles upon a dark secret at a research facility concerning experiments stemming from a black symbiotic life form from outer space. He tries to get to the bottom of it, but he gets fired for his efforts.
It isn’t long before one researcher lets Brock in on the secret which ultimately leads him turning into, you guessed it, Venom.
This is a typical superhero origin story and it’s one of the few that doesn’t have as much intrigue or even as much bite as you might hope for. Instead of a zippy transformation, we’re subjected to endless exposition about the symbiote in between Brock dealing with his relationship with his girlfriend (Michelle Williams).
When Brock becomes Venom, we have to wait until almost an hour before we see him as the antihero and the anticipation leaves us with a feeling of “meh.” Riz Ahmed is the founder of the facility and he also stumbles on to the same life form and his transformation is equally as dull.
Hardy actually gives a pretty good performance, but he’s surrounded by a story that feels rushed, underdeveloped and lazy. His role does offer him some fun moments where he’s able to chew the scenery as well as a live lobster. Sometimes he acts like he went to the Nicolas Cage School of Overacting.
The CGI is questionable at best but mostly it comes off as cheesy or dopey. The villain is unconvincing and when he has his fight with Venom, there’s zero rooting interest amidst the silly effects. Did I mention it takes a long time for Hardy to undergo his transformation? Just checking.
Another problem the movie has is by wimping out by going for the PG-13 rating instead of an R like what had been reported months before its release. We could’ve gotten something really juicy instead of something that panders to commercial taste.
Venom is supposedly a bad villain, but we never really see any leanings towards his inevitable turn. He just looks menancing at all the right moments and that’s about it. Maybe Hardy should wait for Joaquin Phoenix’s take on the Joker next year.