Film review: ‘VENOM’ by Nick Gardener from ‘Built for Speed’

Venom, the latest addition to the Marvel Comics cinematic universe probably won’t be well known to non-comic fans although the main creature briefly appeared in Spider-Man 3.

Venom is in fact an alien parasite that hitches a ride to earth aboard a spacecraft and arrives with nefarious intentions for us puny humans. Essentially a slimy goo monster, the creature can slither its way into a human host creating a symbiotic creature with enormous toothy jaws, a disconcertingly large tongue, phenomenal strength and recuperative powers that also likes gobbling humans for dinner. One inadvertent host is TV reporter Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) who’s infected while creeping around a sinister corporation’s secret lab in pursuit of a story. Rather than turning into a villain when he’s infected with the alien being, however, his benevolent side prevents it from doing evil and transforms him into a reluctant hero, something that has enraged comic fans who insist the creature should be a fiend. Equipped with the alien’s super powers, Brock attempts to thwart a genetic engineering company’s sinister plan to exploit the creatures.

Directed by Zombieland’s Ruben Fleischer, Venom reveals a number of influences including sci fi horror movies like Alien and The Thing as well as other Marvel Films. Unfortunately, it falls well short of these influences in terms of thrills and cinematic quality.

Venom is occasionally violent but it’s not bloody despite the Brock creature nibbling on a few human heads. There are some intense and reasonably dynamic scenes but the action is mostly unimpressive. The also film attempts comedy with the creature cracking jokes and trash talking Brock after possessing him which isn’t funny and would have jarred badly with the action and drama if those elements had been convincing.

Hardy establishes a semblance of a character before being literally submerged in cgi but Eddie Brock isn’t particularly interesting or likeable, he’s just a sweaty, grumbling slob. Weirdly, Brock has managed to land stunning, sophisticated lawyer Anne (Michelle Williams). Sadly, Williams’ character is given very little to do and ranks among Marvel films’ worst examples of wasting a fine actor.

Venom is at best a tolerable action film but is, for the most part, an uninspired rehash of ideas pursued much more successfully in other films.

Nick’s rating: **

Genre: Super hero/ Action/ Science Fiction.

Classification: M.

Director(s): Ruben Fleischer.

Release date: 4th Oct 2018.

Running time: 112 mins.

Reviewer: Nick Gardener can be heard on “Built For Speed” every Friday night from 8-10pm right here on 88.3 Southern FM.  Nick can also be heard on “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly Film Show” podcast.


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