Chad Reviews "Venom"
When a character like Spider-Man comes along and manages to permeate practically every aspect of popular culture, even the co-stars in the immediate orbit of that character can become about as popular as the main attraction. I’m not sure what the original plan was for the writers of Spider-Man in 1984 during “Secret Wars” when he donned an all-black costume that gave him an all new skill set, but that suit literally took on a life of its own. After abandoning Peter in search of a new host, he settles on Eddie Brock, who assumed the alter-ego of Venom, and quickly became one Spidey’s greatest nemeses. Over the course of time, Venom’s popularity rose and he changed from supervillain to occasional anti-hero with a comic of his very own. Naturally, when “Spider-Man” was launched as a successful film franchise in the early 2000s by Sam Raimi, it was inevitable that Venom would appear as an on screen foe for our beloved web slinger, but what we got was pretty darn far from what we wanted. Topher Grace’s tepid performance in the amazingly underwhelming “Spider-Man 3” almost doomed the character to a one-shot on screen portrayal. As the saying goes, you can’t keep a good man down and Venom has leapt from the pages and onto the big screen once again with Tom Hardy playing the human/alien symbiote.
Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) is an investigative journalist living in San Francisco with his lawyer fiancée, Anne Weying (Michelle Williams), who has ties to the mega conglomerate Life Foundation headed by Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed). After confronting Drake and attempting to expose some of his seedier dealings using information Eddie has stumbled upon snooping through Anne’s e-mails, he costs both he and Anne their jobs, ending their relationship and sending Eddie into a tailspin. After being approached by a scientist in Drake’s employ (Jenny Slate), Eddie is pulled back into the dark dealings of the Life Foundation’s experiments with attempting to merge humans with alien symbiotic life forms. One leaves its original host and inhabits Eddie’s, giving him unexpected abilities and a nefarious voice in his head calling itself Venom. After discovering Drake’s ultimate plan of unleashing an army of these symbiotes on the human race, he must join an unexpected battle to keep it from infecting the planet.
I know that this film has it’s doubters out there, and I was among them. The truth is, I really dug this film! Is it loud? Yes! Does it sometimes struggle with its own identity as to what type of film it’s trying to be? Absolute! But I think that’s somewhat intentional, as we’re talking about a character suffering an identity crisis which adds a certain ingredient to the mix that speaks to the heart of what Eddie is going through. It’s a wild and chaotic film that even though it takes a bit longer than I would have liked to get its legs under it breaks into a mad dash when things pick up. It’s a MUCH more satisfying portrayal of the character than we have seen before, and Tom Hardy seems magnificently cast here and much more so than his previous comic book villain turn as Bane in the somewhat underwhelming climax to Nolan’s otherwise impeccable “Dark Knight Trilogy”. I hope there is more Venom in our future, but only time will tell.