“Venom” is directed by Ruben Fleischer who’s probably most well-known for bringing us 2009’s much loved “Zombieland”. Here we get to see Tom Hardy take on the role of Eddie Brock, a resourceful and relentless reporter who ends up falling victim to the very subject he’s been so vigorously investigating. A powerful alien life form attaches itself to Eddie bestowing upon him an alter-ego that goes by the name of ‘Venom’ and abilities that are completely and utterly out of this world.
Now, of course, the last time this comic book favourite was brought to the big screen was in Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man 3”. The final instalment to a trilogy which up until that point had been massively successful. The film featured Peter Parker going through some ridiculous dark and brooding emo phase, clicking his fingers at random women on the street after treating himself to some new threads from the local charity shop. But that wasn’t even the worst part.
I think a lot of you will agree with me when I say that the film’s biggest issue was that it obviously tried to take on way more than it could handle. Yet again this was down to studios being greedy, getting more and more involved with the project then they have any right to until eventually the director’s original vision for the film just becomes something of a half-remembered dream. Sam Raimi wanted to focus on Venom as the film’s main villain, but he was told that just wasn’t enough, the stakes needed to be higher.
As you know we wound up with multiple antagonists that were never done justice, never properly fleshed out. This is all to be expected really because to do that the film’s runtime probably would have had to clock in at the length of two Lord of the Rings films. It could have been so much better if they had of just put all that energy into making Venom the best villain he could possibly be, someone that really pushes Spider-Man to his limits. In the end, we had a film that performed more than adequately when it came to box office figures, but not so much when it came to critics and audience ratings. Studios only really care about the latter though, so what does it matter to them?
It’s funny really because the Spider-Man universe is filled to the brim with sinister bad guys for him to fight and yet ultimately his arch nemesis is a bunch of corporate hacks sitting around doing anything but listening to the fans. They just never seem to learn their lesson, I mean “The Amazing Spider-Man” was not really anything more than Sony’s attempt at keeping the rights for Spider-Man away from Marvel. That didn’t exactly work out as planned, but again what do they care because they still made a tonne of money! If you ask me Marvel saved the day with “Spider-Man Homecoming” delivering what’s quite possibly THE best Spider-Man film since “Spider-Man 2”.
“Venom” is the latest gut-punching disappointment though, I really enjoyed this movie’s initial set up, things were off to a promising start. Ironically though the moment, Eddie Brock is fused with Venom that for me was when the film started to head rapidly downhill. Tom Hardy is great and you can tell he really is doing the best he can with what he has, but not even he can save this awkwardly goofy mess of a film. Alongside Tom Hardy “Venom” also stars the likes of Michelle Williams and Riz Ahmed, two incredibly talented people in their craft who never really get the chance in this to really show us that.
Michelle Williams just plays a by the numbers love interest you will have seen a hundred times before. There’s not really anything special about her character, a lot of the time she’s just there to be used as a stepping stone which propels the story forward. Riz Ahmed’s character is just evil because well… he’s just evil okay? Apparently, that should be enough for us I guess. Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of all though when it comes to “Venom” are the faint glimmers of hope, leftover remnants of what could have been. Give it a month and you’ll probably forget all about “Venom” until the next one comes around and even then you’ll be like “Oh yeah that’s a thing, that happened”. I wouldn’t go as far as to label this a bad movie, it’s just painfully average and a far cry from as I say…what could have been.