Film review: Venom

Credit to copyright SONY

Similar to the character of Deadpool, Venom’s initial debut on the big screen was far from smooth. Both characters were poorly represented in X-men Origins: Wolverine and Spider-Man 3 respectfully.

However, Ryan Reynolds got his shot of redemption as the Marvel hero was awarded a standalone flick which boomed in the box office, subsequently launching a sequel released earlier this year.

Now Venom has his second chance, but the end result is far from perfect.

Tom Hardy plays Eddie Brock, an investigative journalist whose reporting on an unethical science organisation lands himself in hot water when he becomes possessed by a ‘parasite’, granting Hardy the ‘symbiote’ suit and subsequently transforming him into the anti-hero that is Venom.

Right off the bat I want to praise Hardy for his performance. The segments between Brock and Venom are by far where the film finds its most enjoyment. However, you can tell that the writers have forced in a backstory reluctantly in the opening act. Explaining why the film’s set in San Fransico and not in New York like the comics, Brock’s love life with Anne Weying (played by Michelle Williams) which really lacks chemistry between the pair and why Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), leader of the science organisation is the bad guy. It almost felt like a grind to get through these opening stages so when Brock and Venom finally combine, it’s almost a sigh of relief.

Credit copyright to SONY

But it pains me to say, a lot of the great moments I saw in the film were already showcased in the trailer, even some of the final scenes. Yes, I wish I was joking too.

The reason I opened with the comparison of Venom to Deadpool was not only due to their poor representation in films previously, but the pair are but a handful of comic book movies that have been granted the luxury of a 15-rated viewing. This worked perfectly for Deadpool as it allowed the writers to give Reynolds the creative freedom he so dearly wanted for the character.

The film acts as an origin story but never seems to find its identity as it bounces between multiple genres.

However, Venom is placed in an awkward situation as theatres across the pond have granted the film a ‘PG-13’ rating. So, you’ve got a film that wants to be a serious and gore filled with the action but is constrained to a cut away in the edit anytime Venom goes to eat someone’s head and not a single splash of blood in sight. Therefore, it’s stuck in this awkward limbo with finding balance in its action and when those scenes do eventually roll round the payoff is never worth it.

There is enjoyment to be had with Venom. It’s only until the third and final act where the film finally settles with its identity as an action adventure, having started the film as much more of a drama.

The success in the box office, earning $205 million (£157m) globally in its opening weekend is leading me to believe we’ll be seeing Tom Hardy back in the symbiote suit in the near future. But I really hope this time a 15-rated film doesn’t feel like a watered down one.

Rating: 2.5/5

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