Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases
Tom Hardy – Eddie Brock / Venom
Michelle Williams – Anne
Riz Ahmed – Carlton Drake / Riot
Scott Haze – Roland
Jenny Slate – Dora Skirth
Reid Scott – Dan
What an entertaining little movie this is. I was pleasantly surprised by Venom, a superhero-style feat powered by a hunky gentleman many people find deliciously handsome – including me.(further proven by a female colleague at an organisation I once worked, who had a newspaper cutting of Hardy stuck to her computer terminal. I only ever visited her desk to sneak a peek at his handsome furry chops, rarely to discuss the area of work we both dealt in. Good old Lara).
Anyway, back to non-sexual basics.
Venom is quite different to recent Marvel productions; it has more of a humane feel to it. Whereas the Avengers seem to be thrown together (often unwillingly going by the ‘for fuck sake’ reactions of Thor and Aquaman). And Wonder Woman flies in – flashes some thigh whilst demonstrating how useful her shield is – then leaves as gracefully as she entered. Venom stands miles apart by taking a single man who has a relatively normal life (bar a few problems) and catapulting him into a world of absolute carnage, and splendour. The character’s issues are probably what make him most relatable to some viewers; his day job has turned stale, his relationship with his girlfriend (Williams) has turned to shit, he rents a shabby apartment in a building shared with annoying neighbours.. he is someone viewers can empathise with. And this makes a perfect structure for the film, presenting your average everyday man whose life is suddenly thrown into a world usually faced by superheroes.
Whereas some of these are dragged from misty mountain caverns or riverside huts, Eddie is fresh from his local liquor store clutching a rolled-up newspaper in which he was searching for a new job. So with his life transformed by sheer accident, it’s down to Mr. Hardy to deliver the goods almost entirely solo. And he pulls it off nicely..
The most noteable feature throughout this film is how the protagonist deals with the effects of the sudden life-changing event. Hardy is faultless in his portrayal of the hapless man, using jittery body language and coming out with idiotic responses to the ‘bad guys’ when confronted by them. An example is the moment they burst into his apartment and he throws his arms in the air as surrender, despite Venom questioning his actions. Another scene where Eddie runs into a busy restaurant to find someone he knows is stupidly funny, with Hardy using such brilliant acting techniques that he almost transforms his entire face. Bulging eyes and blown-out cheeks give him the appearance of a rabid dog as he spits his lines at people, it’s entertaining stuff.
As well as Hardy’s solid performance, the relationship between the two characters adds to the movie’s charm. The introduction of Venom himself doesn’t go smoothly, but he steadily becomes a major part of Eddie’s life like two squabbling siblings. It’s the bond between the pair which boosts the film’s comedy factor; a difference in outlook from both sides. Eddie does something Venom doesn’t agree with – Venom suggests an idea Eddie doesn’t want to be part of, etc. It results in quirky compromise as two become one and remains entertaining with Hardy at the helm of it all.
I guarantee thousands of those comic book-obsessed Marvel fans around the world will have criticisms of Venom. It’s inevitable, with many bound to slate it for the way it was produced or how it stays true to its roots. But from my point of view (I.E. not a comic book lover or avid Marvel fan) this movie delivers everything a science fiction action should in half the time a usual Marvel production does.
It doesn’t focus too heavily on the lead character’s history and gets into the gritty action almost immediately. It also moves at a great pace and mixes comedy with drama, especially during softer scenes involving Williams’s character. These elements only boost the movie’s dynamics, ensuring a slick piece of entertainment radiating a sense of empathy and adventure.
Venom has a different feel to it compared to previous Marvel movies. And this is mainly down to its overall structure; immediate story unfolding, no tedious bullshit to bore the viewer, nice mix of characters and filming locations, good speed, and the entire thing is packed nicely into 109 minutes of screen time. You get your beginning – middle – end. Done.