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Review: ‘Venom’ is a Flawed but Entertaining Anti-Superhero Movie

October 4, 2018Ben MK

The last time we saw Venom on the big screen, the year was 2007 and the Marvel Cinematic Universe had yet to enthrall moviegoers worldwide. But while a lot has changed in the past 11 years, apparently director Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland, Gangster Squad) didn't get the memo.

An investigative reporter with a penchant for ruffling feathers and riding motorcycles, Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) is one of the best at what he does. But when Eddie runs afoul of the subject of his latest piece, ruthless entrepreneur Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), it costs him everything he holds close — including his fiancée, Anne (Michelle Williams), and his job at a San Francisco television network. Stripped of all the things that define him, Eddie becomes, for lack of a better word, a loser. However, all that is about to change.

When Eddie is contacted by Dr. Dora Skirth (Jenny Slate), who's disturbed by the ethics — or lack thereof — behind Drake's scientific experiments on human test subjects, he sees an opportunity to redeem not only his career, but his relationship with Anne as well. What Eddie doesn't expect, though, is to come face to face with a creature seeking a similar sort of redemption — the alien symbiote Venom, who arrived on Earth via a downed space shuttle, along with several others of his kind. Quickly taking a liking to Eddie, Venom enters into a pact with his new human host, and if Eddie cooperates, he might just survive.

Story-wise, Venom is nothing special. In fact, there are certain elements of the script by Scott Rosenberg, Jeff Pinkner, Kelly Marcel and Will Beall that are flat-out lackluster, from the awkward first act to the way all other characters besides Eddie are only painted in broad strokes. Suffice to say, the story and the character development leave a lot to be desired, but Hardy's game performance practically redeems the entire movie — or at the very least it will make viewers forget about the film's most glaring flaws.

The scenes which have Eddie coming to terms with sharing his body with an extraterrestrial entity are among the best parts of the movie, as are the interactions between Eddie and Venom, who communicates with Eddie via an internal monologue that only he can hear. The result is surprisingly hilarious — and not in the unintentional sort of way either — and despite the fact that the rest of the film that's been constructed around Hardy feels like it was made in the early part of the last decade, the one thing you can't call it is boring.

Part body horror and part buddy comedy, Venom is a bit of an odd duck when it comes to the other movies encircling the Marvel universe. It may be something of a step backwards when compared to the superior Spider-Man: Homecoming, but its uniquely twisted charm should nonetheless keep audiences entertained all the way through to the end of the closing credits.

Venom releases October 5th, 2018 from Sony Pictures. The film has an MPAA rating of PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for language. Its runtime is 1 hr. 52 min.

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