Fans have been understandably wary of another effort to bring iconic Marvel character Venom to the big screen.
Topher Grace tried, and failed, to give the demonic-looking Symbiote credibility, and not everyone was convinced that Tom Hardy could do the role of Eddie Brock justice.
To be fair, it’s a complicated bit of CGI to bring Venom to life. He needs to look real, and menacing, and that whole tongue thing could easily go hilariously wrong. Even if they somehow managed to get the visuals right, they’d have to find a way to make a murderous, man-eating sludge monster into an emotionally compelling enough premise to hold attention for an entire movie. Audiences need to care about the homicidal black goop and his great American adventure. This was never going to be an easy movie to make.
No doubt YouTube’s already hearing the enraged fandom screaming (aren’t they always?) but overall, it works. ‘Venom’ is fun, and funny, and a respectable do-over for the toothy carnivorous anti-hero. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not 'Deadpool' levels of successful, but it’s a pretty decent character rebranding effort. And look, even if Venom isn’t always the most sympathetic of characters (yet still eternally more empathetic and sympathetic than Eddie), he’s creepily relatable if you’ve ever worked in retail. If you’ve ever dreamed of throwing annoying people through very thick walls, or ripping the head off an irritating customer, this is your must-see after work special.
‘Venom’ is your standard antihero fare: self-centred reporter determined to get the story no matter the cost tanks his fiancée’s career (and his own) in a failed bid to get the scoop. He descends into that oh-so-charming drink/job hunt/rail at the injustice of having consequences montage while elsewhere interesting stuff happens and the villains gather their power. But when he stumbles onto a world-changing secret, and accidentally takes in an alien life form, his drunken, whiny life is about to get way more complicated, and maybe even a little more self-aware.
Like most superhero movies, there are issues of the macho bullsh.t variety, and while Michelle Williams is on hand to try and crotch-kick that trope back to hell where it belongs, there are a few moments where the frat boy mentality derails the action. Having said that, whether deliberately or not, Michelle’s Anne Weying is hands-down the biggest badass of the flick – an impressive feat given the moments she’s clearly just there to be eye candy for the audience.
Though there’s moments to roll your eyes through, overall, this is a solid antihero romp through the opposition’s ranks, and if you like violence and epic car chase scenes, you’re probably going to be pretty happy with how ‘Venom’ turned out. This may not be your ideal movie if you need well-developed plots filled with meaningful characterisation, but if you’re okay with a CGI fuelled, ‘Odd Couple’ styled murder spree, you’re probably going to have fun.