“Venom” Is Not Fatally Bad, However It’s Not That Great For You

“Venom” left me with a very mixed bag of impressions and thoughts.  It has its high points of cinematic entertainment, but it’s also rife with cracks in the storytelling. Venom is known best as one of Spider-Man’s toughest adversaries, however the film directed by Ruben Fleischer chooses to ignore many aspects of the comic book origin of this particular character.   It will likely do well at the box office, but it is still one of the weaker adaptation of a Marvel series.  This was released by Sony and is not really part of Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Starting off a bit with what works, Tom Hardy was well cast as reckless, hapless reporter Eddie Brock who ends up being the host of the alien symbiote known as Venom.  Hardy is a very interesting actor and manages to put in an engaging performance in spite of the writing missteps.  The action sequences were pretty good, although the CGI realization of Venom could have been a little better.  I actually didn’t find the appearance of Venom to be all that far off, although there was a little lack of authenticity that was a little distracting.  I could probably forgive that since Venom is likely still a tricky character to realize perfectly onscreen given the variety of abilities and his unusual and grotesque appearance.

Riz Ahmed is fine as the dangerous, obsessive Carlton Drake, the scientist working on controlling the alien symbiotes that have come into his possession.  There was not much that was not really seen before, although Drake could often come off as rather ingratiating and a it creepy at once.  I actually don’t know much about the comic book version of this character, so I am not sure how faithful he was to the original depiction.

Michelle Williams also did well as Brock’s love interest, Anne Weying. I don’t think she had much chemistry with Hardy though.  It is not due to any lack of effort or ability on her part, but I didn’t find that dynamic all that interesting.  Anne is actually in the comic book series, but I know very little about her.

The dialogue between Brock and Venom really developed a bit too quickly to feel authentic, which is a strange thing to say about a comic book movie.  I think Venom could have been a bit wittier.  Actually, his beginnings deviate the most from the comic books.

Overall, I just left feeling mildly entertained but not all that enthralled with the idea of a sequel being in the works.  If there was a sequel, I would likely still be curious enough to be see it, but I am not yearning to have another Venom film…unless Spider-Man is involved.

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