As far as Marvel superhero movies go, “Venom” ranks as one of the worst. This watered down bore is dumb, loud, and brash with nothing to say. The film suffers from an identity crisis with so many jarring shifts in tone that I struggled to stay engaged with the character and story.
Investigative journalist Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) is seeking out his next big story when he accidentally becomes the host of an alien symbiote that gives him a violent super alter-ego called Venom. Eddie becomes the ultimate antihero as he must rely on his newfound powers to protect the world from an evil bio-engineering corporation.
A character like Venom is crying out for the “Deadpool” treatment. It quickly becomes clear that the studio was too afraid to go all-out and make an R-rated villain movie, although making this film for adults would’ve greatly helped. There are feeble attempts at comedy that just aren’t funny. I can think of just two scenes that barely made me chuckle.
Even worse are the lame action scenes and cheesy CGI. Director Ruben Fleischer takes the worst parts of Michael Bay’s style (with lots of shaky jump cuts and fiery explosions) and slaps ’em all together for lazy sequences like an animated motorcycle versus drone chase through downtown San Francisco. In a big-budget Marvel superhero movie, I shouldn’t be bored senseless during the action scenes: yet here I was, disinterested and disengaged. Every. Single. Time.
Hardy is likeable enough as Eddie, but his nemesis Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) and lawyer girlfriend Anne (Michelle Williams) add little to the plot or in terms of on-screen charisma. I wouldn’t go so far as to say the film was miscast, but nothing really clicks between any of the performers.
Hardcore fans of the comics may enjoy “Venom” more than an average moviegoer, but the film is ultimately too weird and confusing with an ending that’s just stupid.