Venom – Good, Bad & Ugly Review

Journalist Eddie Brock is trying to take down Carlton Drake, the notorious and brilliant founder of the Life Foundation. While investigating one of Drake’s experiments, Eddie’s body merges with the alien Venom — leaving him with superhuman strength and power. Twisted, dark and fueled by rage, Venom tries to control the new and dangerous abilities that Eddie finds so intoxicating. – (Source)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 31% (Critics) / 89% (Audience)
MetaScore: 35 – Generally unfavorable reviews
Directed By: Ruben Fleischer
Written By: Scott Rosenberg, Jeff Pinkner, Kelly Marcel,and Will Beall
Starring: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed
Studio: Columbia Pictures

The Good:
Once we get to the point in the movie where Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) bonds with the alien symbiote Venom (voiced by Tom Hardy) is when VENOM takes off and becomes the wild, violent and surprisingly funny “buddy team” movie that I didn’t realize I wanted to see until I was watching it.

Hardy does a commendable job with the physical comedy that Eddie’s adapting to the new tenant he is sharing a body with. Honestly Hardy is pretty funny throughout the whole movie. I never bought him as this crack ace investigative reporter but as a down on his luck booze-hound he was very convincing.

The action was a highlight in VENOM too. It was large, loud and in your face with very little restraint and just a desire to be as cheeky as possible. It is the almost constant return to comedy that bolsters VENOM as a movie. There is no way this movie would have worked at all if it had been played straight. Unchecked silliness was its saving grace.

The Bad:
Tom Hardy and Michelle Williams had zero romantic chemistry. There was no chemistry when their characters were a couple, there was no chemistry when they broke up and there was no chemistry when the situation with Venom brought them back together. Honestly, Williams character of attorney Anne Werying was pretty superfluous as far as I was concerned.

As superfluous as Williams’ Anne was at least she wasn’t boring…sadly the same cannot be said for Riz Ahmed’s evil corporate titan Carlton Drake who might be the most forgettable villain in any comic book movie ever and that is saying something.

And unlike when Eddie Brock became more interesting when he bonded with Venom, I cared even less about Drake after he bonded with the evil symbiote Riot. Riot/Drake was just a drab collection of CGI pixels with no real character to him at all.

I hate to be one of those people who nitpicks over every little plot hole or nonsensical plot device (especially in comic book movies) but there was one moment in this movie where Drake orders his henchmen to kill Eddie so they take Eddie out of the facility and into the woods. Now all through this movie Drake has been experimenting on the homeless, killing them and disposing of their bodies in such an efficiently surreptitious way that no one ever noticed it was even happening yet his henchmen decide to walk Eddie out into the woods to kill him? So why not kill him in the building where there is already a seemingly awesome method of murder cover-up operation in effect?

The Ugly:
Whoever decided to slap that cheap ass hideous bright red Ronald McDonald wig on Woody Harrelson needs to lose their damn job. I have seen Woody wear some pretty tragic looking wigs in his career but this one was way too shamefully amateurish looking for a big studio Hollywood production.

Final Verdict: A big, goofy comic book action movie that doesn’t deserve to be ranked with the best the comic book movie genre has to offer but is entertaining enough to warrant a trip to the local multiplex. Especially if you can catch a half-price matinee showing.

Grade: C+

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