Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams and Riz Ahmed might be three of the most talented actors of their generation. Between them they have five Oscar nominations, five Golden Globe nominations and one Golden Globe win.
But this film in which they star is dreadful.
Venom originated as a villain from the Spider Man universe. Spider Man is a character owned by Sony but they’ve had him on loan to Marvel for a few years now (that’s how Spidey got to be an Avenger).
Marvel has launched a new Spider Man franchise with Tom Holland at the helm and the change has been good for our webbed friend. Marvel made Spidey young again and brought fresh new life to a character we’d seen mistreated far too many times (I’m looking at you Andrew Garfield!) over the last 15 years.
But with their cash cow on loan, Sony was left with a universe without a master – only second-tier characters and no one to revolve them around.
So they had the brilliant idea of taking a Spider Man villain and making him the main attraction. Turns out, second-tier characters are second tier for a reason.
Venom’s alter ego is Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), allegedly the best investigative journalist in the country and the charming fiancé to Anne (Michelle Williams), a lawyer.
When he’s asked to do a softball interview with Elon Musk doppelganger Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) he botches it – attacking him over his human experiments conducted on the weak and financially vulnerable. He loses his job, his fiancé and his home in one afternoon.
He probably thought things couldn’t get much worse. Boy, was he wrong. Six months later he’s approached by a doctor who works at the Life Foundation (aka Carlton Drake’s evil lab) with proof that very bad things are happening there.
When he goes to investigate, he discovers that during one of Drake’s space missions he managed to bring back organisms from a comet and is trying to meld them with humans.
Imagine evil flubber trying to melt into your body so that it can eat your internal organs while turning you into a very strong alien cannibal. While all the other human hosts have rejected their alien blobs (called symbiotes in the film), Eddie and his blob (named Venom) become buds, and the film gets marginally better as it morphs into a buddy comedy of sorts.
The rest of the plot progresses as expected – evil guy wants his evil blob back and mayhem ensues to get it.
Most of the film’s issues stem from not being able to commit to one tone – It attempts a sort of Deadpool-esque anti-hero humour but don’t commit to it in the rated R way Deadpool does.
Mindful of their PG 13 rating the movie’s makers pull every punch just a little, so in the end NOTHING lands.
Riz Ahmed and Michelle Williams turn in the blandest performances of their careers and Tom Hardy goes hard in the opposite direction throwing everything but the kitchen sink at Eddie Brock.
Add to this terrible script and basic plot visuals that will excite absolutely no one and you’ve got a movie that is underwhelming at best, and shockingly bad at worst.
Venom is poison for which the only antidote is not to watch.
Vicky Sparks is a Bright’s Grove native and movie critic for Global TV’s The Morning Show, which airs nationally on Fridays. Her Journal Reviews cover movies playing at Galaxy Cinemas Sarnia