We Are Average
No other film in recent cinema history has had quite the polarising reaction as Venom. Critics have universally blasted the film, even going so far as to call it the worst superhero film since Catwoman (ouch). On the other hand, audiences have praised Tom Hardy’s portrayal of Spiderman’s most iconic villain and generally come out enjoying the film. So where do we stand on Marvel’s latest superhero flick? In truth, somewhere in the middle. The film isn’t terrible – there are some good action scenes and the general back and forth dialogue between Eddie Brock and Venom are excellent and manage to capture the character perfectly. However, the film is far from perfect; poor editing, lacklustre characterisation and a terrible pacing hold the film back from being as good as it could have been.
After a brief introduction to the symbiote following a crash landed rocket and a burst of violence, we’re introduced to Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) who seems to have it all in his life; a beautiful wife (Michelle Williams), a decent reporting job and a drive to do the right thing for humanity. Following a damaging investigative piece on high powered crook Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), Eddie finds his life spiralling out of control, just in time for him to find the symbiote. As the two of them merge, we witness the birth of everyone’s favourite anti-hero and a flurry of action and drama in their wake.
These scenes with Venom and Eddie Brock are by far the highlights of the film. You really get a sense of Brock’s panic and uneasiness at the symbiote presence whilst the symbiote itself revels in the destruction caused in its wake. The match works though and for anyone doubting Tom Hardy’s ability here need not worry, he doesn’t hold back, descending into the chaotic, unhinged man we’ve known from the comics. Unfortunately, the relationship between the two is skewed slightly from an uneven pacing that undoes a lot of the good work done here as the two switch from enemies to best friends far too quickly.
Visually, the film looks great. The action comes thick and fast, with Venom’s symbiote powers on full display with a final climactic battle really doing a great job showing the power these alien entities have. Tendrils flail around, slamming people into walls and the sheer strength of Venom is clear to see throughout and certainly bode an intriguing prospect going forward if we see more of this character. The action dotted throughout the film does a good job hiding the lack of character work for the supporting cast and the weak story layered across this 110 minute film.
When it comes down to it Venom isn’t the worst superhero film to be released, nor is it as good as Infinity War which dropped earlier this year. It’s simply a fun, forgettable film that sits somewhere in the realm of mediocrity. Tom Hardy is excellent in his role and the film does a decent enough job establishing Venom without the need for Spiderman to be present but it doesn’t really do a whole lot more other than that. Venom is simply okay and those going in expecting a train wreck will certainly be pleasantly surprised by this one but it’s far from the best superhero film released this year.