They say villains get to have all the fun and that’s especially true of Tom Hardy’s latest performance as a long time fan favourite super villain makes his way to the big screen for a delectable time in Venom.
Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) attempts to restart his life over in San Francisco. But he soon finds himself targeted by a sadistic corporation who seek to control the alien symbiote that has bonded with him. With his back against the wall and nowhere to run, Brock will have to unleash his inner monster to survive. But can he control the darkness within him….or will it devour him forever.
When I heard Venom was going to be coming to the big screen I was amped. He’s far and away my favourite Marvel villain of all time and knowing that we’d be getting a chance to see him unleashed in his full glory was a very exciting prospect. What made it even more exciting was that he’d be getting his own film, absent of a certain friendly neighborhood web slinger and that meant we’d get something that would be dark, brooding and packed out with plenty of evil moments.
And that’s exactly what director Ruben Fleischer delivers on here. Taking his cues from the Planet of the Symbiotes and Lethal Protector story arcs, Fleischer and his team craft a film that focuses in on all the things that make this big bad a whole lot of fun and he really takes his audience for a ride. Fleischer digs into the lore surrounding the symbiotes and the result is a menacing sci-fi horror roller coaster ride that spins its audience around.
And let me be clear that there can be no Venom without the thespian masterclass that is Tom Hardy.
When I saw the sentence that read ‘Tom Hardy will be Venom’ I was sold. No matter what the project is Hardy always gives 110% and that’s exactly what we get here. While he’s known for his complicated performances, in Venom Hardy opens himself up to the darkness of this savage alien evil. Describing himself as a lifelong Venom fan, Hardy was always determined to do the character justice and in my opinion he really succeeds in the tone, style and substance of his performance.
His approach to this dual presentation as both the scandalous Eddie Brock and his evil alien alter ego is a real thrill to watch and his Jekyll/Hyde performance leads to plenty of twisted moments. While his Eddie is an essentially ‘aw shucks’ good guy, with a few too many flaws and sense to find the truth, he takes the opposite route as the charismatically dangerous symbiote.
I really enjoyed watching Hardy’s journey as the two characters and how their thoughts and actions continued to rub up against one another. While Eddie does indeed find himself in a dark place this desperately flawed man continues to try to do the right thing despite Venom all the while continuing to direct him to make plenty of bad choices. There’s a sick sense of glee to all of Venom’s demands and as the movie moves forward its fun to watch the two of them influence the others actions.
When Hardy does transform into Venom he truly unleashes the beast and that’s when the action gets savage. Thanks to Hardy’s superb performance and Fleischer’s direction, and plenty of visual effects magic, we get to see a primal beast unleash his monstrous nature as he claws his way through a host of bad guys, while also enjoying a few ‘snacks’ along the way. I was really impressed in how the filmmakers embraced Venom’s alien agility and flexibility of movement and you buy into how lethal this symbiote can be.
In addition to the carnage that the character unleashes up on screen, Hardy also gets to have some fun in a very thrilling motorcycle chase. As a born petrol head who has an affinity for a whole range of bikes it was cool to see Hardy get to put the pedal to the metal and the result is one badass chase scene that uses the unique setting of San Francisco to great effect….as well as Venom’s spectacular range of powers.
I also have to heap praise on Hardy’s co-stars Michelle Williams and Riz Ahmed. As Eddie Brock’s love interest Anne Weying, Williams portrays a character who is at odds with Hardy’s Eddie, but despite this you can still feel the chemistry between them and they make a great pair upon screen and she gets to experience the symbiote rush as well. And then there’s Riz Ahmed as Carlton Drake, a thoroughly twisted Elon Musk billionaire type who possesses a serious God-complex problem who takes your typical antagonist and elevates him to a higher level. This is thanks to the actors committed performance and an insane belief that his quest for a human/symbiote balance makes him all the more scary and a terrific nemesis for our villainous hero.
What I really dug about Venom was that it didn’t try to do what was expected and instead took risks and really made the effort to do something different.
You’re dealing with a character in Eddie Brock who is brought down pretty low and then finds himself bonded with a being of unimaginable power who has no time for any kind of moral integrity. Doesn’t that sound like the perfect setting for some out and out villainous fun. I definitely think so. Not to mention it’s a damn fun ride that puts the emphasis on the beat-em up fun and and a creature who has one serious appetite.
And while I have to remain quiet due to spoilers I will say that you’ll be dying for a sequel with the final shock that this film delivers.
Tom Hardy said he’d bring Venom to life and he certainly lived up to his word. This is a dark, dangerous action packed sci-fi/horror/supervillain extravaganza and Venom offers up a thoroughly great time at the movies. If you’re looking for a reason why villains get to have all the fun then you need to make an appointment to see Venom ASAP.
Image: Sony Pictures