Tom Hardy as Venom (2018)

 

By JD Phillips

A solo Venom movie has been in the works ever since the character made his first live action appearance in 2007’s “Spider-Man 3”.  After that movie’s universally negative response, the film was put on hold until Marc Webb rebooted the series in 2012.

The film got sidelined again when the franchise was killed in Marc Webb’s 2014 sequel.

It seemed like Venom and the Spider-man franchise was dead until the Marvel Cinematic Universe included the character in “Captain America: Civil War”.

With Spider-man successfully introduced in that movie and two sequels, the long-gestating Venom was ready for his first live-action role since “Spider-man 3”.

While the character works better this time around, the film itself is unfortunately not much better.

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The plot is pretty straightforward.

Eddie Brock (played with the quirky enthusiasm and intensity you would expect from Tom Hardy) is a famed investigative journalist who stumbles upon an alien conspiracy involving the Elon Musk stand-in Carlton Drake and some murderous goo monsters called symbiotes.

Eddie gets accidentally bonded to one of these symbiotes and slowly builds a weary relationship with it as they jump around San Francisco doing dark superhero deeds and eating heads off camera.

The film then builds to a pretty standard superhero/supervillain fight scene to save the world.

This is what ends up being the big issue with the film.

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It billed itself as a gritty R-rated “Anti-hero” film, but it’s basically just a slightly darker superhero movie.

Sure there are some scenes where Venom eats heads or refers to bad guys as “snacks” but the film seems afraid to fully go there.

The movie never decides if Venom’s murderous tendencies are supposed to be funny or terrifying and just decides to make Venom a hero for little or no reason in the end.

It’s likely that the reason for this is that the studio cut the more R-rated sections of the film