"Venom without Spider-Man? This can’t work" – at least that’s what I thought when Sony released Spider-Man-Film announced, which has to do without Spider-Man.
The fact that Tom Hardy, one of my favorite actors, just slipped into the role of Eddie Brock, could not silence the critical voice in my head. The wound that Sony inflicted on her was too deep The Amazing Spider-Man 2 left in my fan heart. Now Venom is finally here and has fulfilled my fears. Not all of them, but still most of them.
Tom Hardy seems a bit troubled as Eddie Brock for good reason.
Venom + Tom Hardy = A Dream Team
First things first: Tom Hardy thrives in the role of Eddie Brock. Maybe even a little too much. His performance as the anti-hero vacillates between right on the money and over-the-top funny. It’s his buddy moments with the alien symbiote that make a difference in Venom most fun. As soon as they start bickering about how many heads to bite off or which of the two is the bigger rag, it’s hard not to grin.
The action of the film works just as well, despite the fact that it has no R-rating. Venom is almost like the Hulk of the MCU in terms of brutality. Every stroke that sits only tweaks when you look at it. Director Ruben Fleischer manages to convey, from how much pure power the mountain is composed of black muscle mass and to stage Venom as a scary beast.
A villain like out of the 08/15 book
However, the action runs out of steam at the latest in the final confrontation with the film’s villain. What Ryan Reynolds did with the fight between Colossus and the Juggernaut in Deadpool 2 still parodied, becomes painful reality with Venom: Sticky CGI mass that reeks of unfinished effects provokes eye cancer in a flurry of frantic editing.
That Dr. Carlton Drake at any minute of the film a serious threat represents, does not help either. Although it is constantly mentioned how dangerous the leader of the Life Foundation is, Venom but never takes the time to establish the film’s villain as evil. Zu fails for all intents and purposes Rogue One-Actor Riz Ahmend at seriously intimidating anyone – except maybe the characters in the movie, but that’s what the script tells them to do.
Drake does not convince with character. His symbiont Riot does not make it better either.
Much blah about nothing
The screenplay again doesn’t win any trophies: Venom takes quite a while to finally get going. Although it is already established in the opening scene how the symbiotes came to Earth, there has to be constant talk about what happened when, how and why. This regurgitation runs through the entire film and at some point becomes longer than Venom’s tongue.
Just as little cares Venom about following the specially established rules of the movie: So after Eddie’s first transformation and subsequent rampage, the police actively search for the anti-hero, only to turn him in and watch him transform before their eyes into a monster whose sheer sight makes you lose control of your bladder.
After Venom gives them a good beating – including bitten off heads – no one cares about Eddie’s parasite problem anytime soon, though. This isn’t the only logic gap that gapes in the middle of Venom’s plot. Whereby: Maybe nobody dares to talk about it anymore?
- Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock/Venom
- Confused construction of a simple plot
- Interchangeable 08/15 villain
- CGI Final Battle of Death
If it weren’t for Tom Hardy, Venom would join the ranks of forgettable superhero movies like Fantastic Four, Catwoman or Daredevil: A simple, yet confused plot is complemented by an interchangeable, run-of-the-mill villain and a finale that would benefit from 200 percent less CGI. Still, I can’t say I didn’t have fun with the film somewhere: the dynamic between Eddie Brock and his alien friend is the absolute highlight of Venom. Maybe – just maybe – a sequel could build on this shaky foundation. If the planned sequels come to fruition.