Review by Amanda Gilmore for Mr. Will Wong
Venom is the comic book-to-screen adaptation of the popular Marvel supervillain and sometimes hero, Venom. It follows San Francisco-based investigative journalist Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) who attempts to take down the scientifically intelligent but evil Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed). Six months after Eddie loses everything due to Carlton’s powerful influence, he gains access to one of Carlton’s experiments with the hope to exploit his dangerous methods. However, his visit results in his body merging with the menacing alien formation that he soon finds out is named Venom. This leaves Eddie with superhuman strength and the fight for control over his own body.
Venom might not be about a Marvel superhero, but this Film has the same mix of action and humour those other superhero films possess. Although this is about a villain there are many moments throughout that make audiences question if the alien is bad or good. There are moments audience members might be swayed into thinking he is a villain and moments when they are adamant he is a hero. A lot of the Film focuses on Eddie and Venom bonding together gradually, both physically and mentally. This gives a dimension of light-heartedness on this otherwise dark subject matter. These delightful scenes when Hardy is talking to himself and we hear the Simbiote speaking back are gleeful, shining a light on Hardy’s wide range.
The most enjoyable part of Venom is watching Hardy’s 100% committal performance. His astounding ability to make something as crazy as witnessing your body morph into multiple black gooey objects believable is a joy. Considering the entire Film relies on the authentic reactions the characters have when experiencing the unthinkable, Hardy knocks it out of the park. He brings a lot of humour and empathy to this supervillain and looks like he’s having the time of his life acting opposite the voice in his head. And Ahmed is great as the evil scientist who will stop at nothing to advance life after Earth ceases to exist. Ahmed proves that comic book villains don’t need to be big, imposing and violent to be menacing — all they need is intelligence, money, and power.
Sony Pictures Canada release VENOM Friday, October 5, 2018.