Venom cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming this Friday from director Ruben Fleischer and Marvel is the next superhero with the help of VENOM.

One night a space probe crashes to earth owned by the Life Foundation and tubes containing life forms are collected. Transported to a lab, Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) is thrilled at what is brought back.

Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) is a reporter who goes out of his way to report on issues that need his style of uncovering. Good at what he does, it gives him time to enjoy his relationship with his lawyer love Anne (Michelle Williams).

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He is given his next assignment to interview Drake about the Life Foundation and realizes that Anne knows a little about his business. Nosing onto her laptop, he finds information about Drake that he uses the next day during their interview. Much to Drake’s dismay, he ends the interview sending Brock out on his ear.

That move cost Drake his job and his relationship as Anne also loses her job and refuses to forgive him. Everything he worked for is gone in a second at the payback hands of Drake.

Inside, Dr. Dora Skirth (Jenny Slate) who is working with Drake’s research and the creatures that he obtained. Watching what he is doing, she is horrified that Drake is using human beings for testing. She reaches out to Eddie for help in exposing what is happening and he gets inside the Life Foundation to see for himself. What he doesn’t expect is to be leaving wearing a symbiote suit!

Introducing himself as Venom to Eddie, it is clear that it is the beginning of a strange relationship in an effort to stop Drake and what he is doing. Eddie is being affected physically and looks to Anne and beau Dr. Dan (Reid Scott) for help. Venom knows there are other symbiotes and needs Eddie to stop the leader Riot.

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Drake just wants his ‘property’ back and sends head of security Reese (Scott Haze) to round up Eddie. When Drake decides that it’s time to erase humanity, he takes on Riot and now, more than ever, Eddie and Venom have to bring it to save the world.

Hardy as Eddie is going to win over people in the role because of the humor he brings to the role. The relationship he has with Venom is unique because of their ability to communicate and both have a line of sarcasm that is entertaining. Of course I’d prefer Hardy in his role in the television series Taboo, the cable series Peaky Blinders and the film DUNKIRK. It isn’t that I think his role in VENOM isn’t good, it was just predictable and I think I’m getting to old to sit in a theatre for predictable.

Williams as Anne broke character and lost me the minute Anne broke up with Eddie with a simple walk away. Yea girl, I believe you’d do that in real life…nope! This role just didn’t do her any favors (and neither did that short Catholic school girl skirt she ran around in) but I’m sure we’ll see it in the next VENOM movie.

Ahmed as Drake is instantly unlikeable but at least he hasn’t a problem with that. There isn’t anything redeeming about his character and Ahmed makes sure we see that without batting an eye about it. I like Ahmed and have seen his roles become more and more expanded. The mini-series The Night Of truly gave Ahmed the lift and notice that I was thrilled for.

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Slate as Dr. Skirth is daring to go against a powerful boss and it will cost her. Scott as Dr. Dan is oddly alright with an ex-boyfriend showing up out of nowhere but has a reason to freak out when something wicked jumps out of an MRI machine. Haze as Treece is a shark on wheels and his goal is to do whatever it takes to get Eddie and Drake’s extra-terrestrial guest back into his lab.

Other cast include Peggy Lu as Mrs. Chen, Malcolm C. Murray as Lewis Donate, Sope Aluko as Dr. Collins, Wayne Pere as Dr. Emerson, and an appearance by Stan Lee.

VENOM is an action packed film filled with humor, car chases, creatures and sarcasm from both humans and not-so-human. In the vein of all Marvel movies I’m sure fans will be happy to see another character go from page to screen.

For me, I went along for the ride but didn’t feel like I got anywhere by the end of it (and trust me I have to call my son now and ask about a character I don’t know about). This film seemed so busy trying to make the audience laugh while keeping the action going, it seems someone forgot to write a strong script.

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What kept me going was Tom Hardy (and not just because I adore him). It’s because he held his own in a film that needed to be held up by something good. He made me laugh and jump once or twice. I feel like this is a dark DEADPOOL and lawd knows no one, not even Mr. Hardy, is going to take my heart away from that man in a red suit (and we aren’t talking about Santa Claus).

So go, enjoy and move onto the next Marvel movie. When Venom 2 comes out, let us hope that Marvel will get their storyline together and remember that special effects don’t make an entire film.

In the end – embrace your inner anti-hero!