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Review: Venom – “The film is all over the place”

Venom is problematic. We all knew that, as it’d be unusual for it to be anything else, post-production hell. Booted from owner to owner, script to script, the final product was always likely to feel disjointed and clunky.

But much like ‘The Predator’ before it, there’s far too much talent involved for that to be okay. Even by modern-Hollywood standards, this has the feeling of being totally mismanaged.

My 10 y/o has been so confused throughout, pre-release.

“Can I watch it?”

“No – 18, for sure… actually 12A… no, wait, 15… actually 15 – but not really worth two hours of your time”

That’s partly the issue, here.

Tonally, the film is all over the place. From the sci-fi opening (seriously, why didn’t they make it Jake’s ship from ‘Life’?!) – to the shift to zombie horror (symbiote body swapping and broken bones), to Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) as a bumbling idiot. People genuinely feel like they’re acting in different films.

It won’t be hard to question why Eddie wants Michelle Williams’ character back (who wouldn’t) – but you’ll be scratching your head why she’s in it. And why a “six month later” title card was needed at all.

One of the finest Actresses around, presumably she’s here taking a pay day/one for me/one for you, mentality. There’s zero chemistry, but to be fair to her, if she was in it to act with Hardy, she gets plenty of opportunies. It’s a shame he doesn’t look like he’s read the same script, or is even in the same film.

I’ll be honest, when he got in the Lobster tank to cool down, I almost walked.

And what of Hardy? I love him. Flat out love his career so far (yep, even ‘This Means War’), but here? Honestly, he annoyed me. And the thought of his favourite 40 minutes being on the cutting room floor? I think they actually made him less annoying by cutting him.

The effects of Venom itself ruin the idea of him talking as both (albeit I love both voices). There’s a scene early on where Hardy sees Venom as his reflection. Why not do this for the whole film? Too much of it is the jump cuts the likes I thought we’d escaped from early ‘00s horror movies.

It also feels cheap. By the time we get two symbiotes fighting at the end, we’re in tacky CGI central. Honestly, I long for ‘Man of Steel’ with its bold decisions, and CGI that’s ageing well. ‘Venom’ will look outdated by the end of the year. Those films have one thing in common at least – decent scores. Although again, ‘Venom’ runs out of steam, and dwindles into obscurity.

It’s almost an hour before we get our first glimpse, and by then my mind was wondering to how good ‘A Star Is Born’ would be later that night. (P.S. I Loved it – even though it broke my cold, cold heart). In fact, I was bored.

One action scene amid smoke grenades is a rip off of Norton’s ‘Incredible Hulk’, but it was great, all the same.

Post-credits… obviously wait. (Twice). But it’s a long wait for not a lot at all. Especially a much mooted cameo who may have just walked off the ‘Zombieland’ set in terms of make up,

The second? Dispute the groans in the cinema, I was actually keen. I love the idea and what they were trying to do. A 37 y/o shouldn’t be more excited about a cartoon than a Tom Hardy ‘Venom’ film, though. So this is a major misfire for me.

At the very least go all out gore – which ‘The Predator’ did too much. I never thought I’d leave wondering why it’s a “15”. There’s no need. They would’ve been better letting it get a 12A and letting my 10 y/o make up his own idea.

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