A lot of technical errors in Venom jumped out at me. Some dialogue scenes are awkwardly edited while obvious continuity errors as well as the glaring omission of logic at times is hilariously negligent. Perhaps the biggest annoyance I faced throughout the film was the poorly written script, particularly with regards to large chunks of dialogue which come off as lazy and sound unnatural. There are also a handful of major ideas or events that are introduced, exposed upon and then seemingly forgotten about by the characters later in the movie with little to no consequence.
Still, all of my issues with Venom are inconsequential to the overwhelming joy I felt walking out of the theater. This is an action-packed and super silly superhero romp that plays with cues from genre flicks throughout the years from The Wolfman to Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde to Little Shop of Horrors and even this year’s Upgrade.
Tom Hardy, one of today’s most talented actors, gives a giddily over-the-top performance as Eddie Brock, a hard-hitting, socially awkward “New Yawk” reporter who’s moved to San Fransisco to be with the love of his life Anne (Michelle Williams). Though his surroundings have changed, his tactics have not. Eddie still uses his platform as a journalist and television host to tackle the corrupted rich and powerful.
His latest target is an ambitious genius-billionaire named Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), founder of the well-resourced Life Foundation. As it turns out, Drake is on the brink of a scientific revolution involving the bonding of humans with a newly-discovered alien species simply referred to as “symbiotes” for the purpose of creating one super-race that can thrive both on a dying Earth and out in space.
Here’s where things get complicated. You see, for a human host to successfully bond with a symbiote, the pair must be an “exact match.” How so? It’s never too clear. What is clear is that every attempt at successful symbiosis results in death. Except one. With the aid of a guilt-ridden Life Foundation scientist named Dr. Skirth (Jenny Slate), Eddie infiltrates Drake’s laughably unguarded lab and accidentally winds up bonding wholesale to a symbiote calling itself Venom.
Shortly after, Eddie starts sweating profusely and jerking impulsively around his tiny apartment searching for sustenance to scarf down. When Venom starts speaking to Eddie as a voice in his head, he becomes convinced he’s losing his mind. Hardy gives himself over to these sequences with a staggering performance reminiscent of Jim Carey in Liar Liar, panically pinballing to and fro as a man on the verge of a total physical and mental breakdown.
After an admittedly overly-long hour we finally meet Venom in all his slithering glory as he playfully taunts the puny hit-squad Carlton Drake hired to retrieve the symbiote before chomping one of their delicious heads clean off. Don’t worry, Mom and Dad, it’s PG-13.
The rest of Venom plays out like a fun and exciting, if predictable, buddy cop comedy where thrilling action and our dynamic duo’s dorky personalities take center stage. They contentiously exchange jabs and obligatory rounds of exposition and frequently enter into amusing, jokey banter before mutual respect inevitably settles in.