Film Review: Venom – 5.5/10

‘Eyes, lungs, pancreas. So many snacks, so little time…’

Image result for venom screenshot

I always used to think that Johnny Depp was a great actor. But then someone called me out on this and when I started listing all his great film roles, I realised that he mostly plays the same character over and over again. Very effectively mind but the guy doesn’t have much range (Fear and Loathing aside… I’ll give him that one). Anyway, Johnny Depp isn’t in Venom. I am starting to suspect the same thing about Tom Hardy though. His portrayal of Alfie Solomons is genuinely the best thing about Peaky Blinders. The issue is that all his best roles – the Kray’s, Bronson, even Bane to an extent – are all variations of that same unhinged Alfie Solomons character. Hardy does absolutely nothing in Venom to dispel that notion…

It’s incredible to think that Sony was once the toast of the comic book adaptation world. Along with Christian Bale’s Batman, Sony’s Tobey Maguire Spiderman films were hugely influential in moving the genre away from campy cringefests and into the all conquering behemoths that we know today. Unfortunately, now that the X-Men franchise seems to have ground to a halt, Sony are left with… Venom I guess. Oh and Deadpool. Thank God for Deadpool. Because this film really is pretty damn turd.

If the terrible standalone Hulk films taught us anything it was that hiding a great actor behind a huge CGI monster is a mistake. Venom falls into this trap whilst also trying to replicate the MCU’s trademark humour and falling way, way short. Too often, Venom feels like a pastiche of other, better films in this genre. An attempt at alchemy with only pieces of dried dog shit and a bundle of sticks to work with.

Perhaps most criminal of all is that Michelle Williams, one of our generation’s greatest actresses, is reduced to nothing more than background dressing. This is typical of a film that too often tries to please everyone and ends up like a Sudoku puzzle book on Christmas Day – neglected, unwanted and forgettable. It’s fair to say that Venom bothered me…

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