“Venom” was directed by Ruben Fleischer and stars Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams and Riz Ahmed. The film is about an investigative journalist named Eddie Brock who stumbles across an alien species that attaches to him and gives him superpowers that tell him to do evil things.
When I heard the casting and idea for “Venom,” I was incredibly excited, because come on, who doesn’t want to see Hardy play a role like this. However, the trailers made me less enthused, especially the first one that didn’t even show the titular character, and left my expectations hindered coming in.
Hardy, unsurprisingly, manages to be the best part of this movie. His performance is very strong, giving Brock a strong amount of charisma and personality, even if it is in subtle ways. While I don’t think this is one of his greatest, Hardy makes the most of what he is given here.
Easily the best piece of the plot is Hardy actually becoming Venom, and his development with the parasite inside of him. The back and forth that Hardy has with the parasite is interesting, exciting and often times very funny, and gave the back half of the movie a spark that it definitely needed.
When the action is happening, it looks pretty darn great. Though some of the camera work could be better, especially in the final fight, many of the moments in the second and third acts with Venom look spectacular, and it is the exhilarating action I was hoping for from the film.
Much of the final half of this movie works. In fact, it works significantly more than I expected it to. Unfortunately, “Venom” has a first half, and it is terrible. For all the cool action scenes, for all the fun moments of Hardy arguing with himself, none of that shows up for a solid 40 minutes.
All the character development attempted in these first 40 minutes can be shortened dramatically, and none of it really works to make any character all that interesting. Ahmed’s antagonist role never really gets off the ground, and Williams’ character is very much the same, both being incredibly one-dimensional alongside Hardy.
More on Ahmed, his character has been done a million times before, and it makes all his threats and plot points ridiculously predictable, and it hurts in making anything in his performance memorable. But above all, this first half is just irredeemably boring, with not a single piece of action, comedy, thrills or chills to bring it up from its lull.
“Venom” is an uneven movie, one that is poorly paced and one that needed more runtime in order to succeed. Hardy is great, the character of Venom is great and a lot of the action is great, but we don’t get enough of any of that until the midway point in the film. If more time was used to do these things, a great origin film could have been made here. Instead, “Venom” is just okay, and still didn’t live up to the star power in the lead role.
What did you think of “Venom”? Comment below with your thoughts.