Directed by Ruben Fleischer and the first film in Sony’s Marvel Universe, Venom follows a failed reporter, Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), who gains superpowers after being bound to an alien entity, one of many symbiotes who have invaded Earth, giving him a violent super alter-ego: Venom. Soon, he must rely on his newfound powers to protect the world from a shadowy organisation led by Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) who is looking for a symbiote of his own.
Sometimes with superhero films, you expect quality and are let down. Sometimes, you expect the worst and are surprisingly impressed. So, I went into this not expecting to be blown away with quality and, instead, to be more than likely let down by a poor villain and/or subplot. So with lowered expectations, I ended up finding this a lot of fun.
Of course, Venom doesn’t live up to many of the superhero stand-alone films that we’ve seen over the past few years in terms of character development, quality writing, or masterful directing, but it’s certainly a lot better quality than some of the worst. It definitely needs to be taken more lightly, but there’s a lot to enjoy about this film if you just want something to enjoy at the end of the night.
Hearing the news that Tom Hardy was joining another superhero franchise after seeing him in The Dark Knight Rises, I was very excited to see him take on a very different comic book character after enjoying him so much as Bane. Unsurprisingly, he gives yet another great performance as Venom here, although the two films are undeniably very different in terms of style and tone.
It certainly helps that Hardy’s character has a darker alter-ego as Venom as this is what we love about Hardy – his often gritty, brutish, Cockney personas – but it’s also great to see the balance of both the good and bad in him as it’s always enjoyable to see a softer, more down-to-earth side to him, as well. Venom seems to give Hardy’s Eddie Brock a strength in character that he’s been trying to build-up in himself so I can’t help but feel an almost sentimentality towards them both. And whilst the film develops in quite a bizarre way and ends in probably the least likely way you would imagine, I really enjoyed the relationship that Eddie and Venom build up and how well director Ruben Fleischer balances the suitable comedy with some decent action.
I’m also a huge fan of Michelle Williams so I’m always happy to see her in a more mainstream film. She’s a great companion alongside Tom Hardy in this and their characters are definitely what step this film up a notch.
With a sequel already announced, as well, I’m looking forward to seeing more of Hardy and Williams together, as well as a better look at Woody Harrelson as Cletus Kasady, which was hinted at in the post-credit scene.