Comic book fans have been waiting years for a film that does Spider-Man villain Venom justice.
After a poor appearance in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 in 2007, this standalone reboot has been a long time coming. But I bet fans wish they got a little better than this flick.
It’s not that the film, starring Tom Hardy as an investigative reporter infected by a symbiote, is a terrible film. It’s that with two Oscar-calibre actors and some incredible special effects, they could have done so much better.
Maybe it’s that Brock’s alter-ego Venom splits bodies and decapitates people, and due to a neutered PG-13 rating, there’s not an ounce of blood in the film.
But I think mostly it’s that the 100-minute film spends the first 55 on character development. Once Venom gets going, it’s an action thrill-ride that’s hard to turn away from.
But it doesn’t quite make up for the lacklustre, lagging first half. Michelle Williams, a four-time Oscar nominee, is wasted in a role with little screen-time as Brock’s ex.
Riz Ahmed borders on parody by the end of a scientist driven to extremes. But it is Tom Hardy in the title role who lifts this film on both shoulders and carries it almost the whole way.
I’m hoping, now that the origin story is finished, that we get a sequel with a bit more to it. But there needs to be some improvement on this uneven, tonally-deaf first chapter.