venom

DIRECTOR: Ruben Fleischer (zombieland, gangster squad)
STARRING: tom hardy, michelle williams, riz ahmed, and jenny slate

REVIEWER: lyall carter

★★

Journalist Eddie Brock is trying to take down Carlton Drake, the notorious and brilliant founder of the Life Foundation. While investigating one of Drake's experiments, Eddie's body merges with the alien Venom -- leaving him with superhuman strength and power. Twisted, dark and fueled by rage, Venom tries to control the new and dangerous abilities that Eddie finds so intoxicating.

Venom is a strange beast. It feels as though its torn between what kind of superhero movie it truly wants to be. Is it a more upbeat Marvel movie of recent memory, a little darker like a DC film, a super dark superhero comedy like Deadpool, or an early 2000's light weight superhero flick like Daredevil? It would appear that it is trying to be a bit of everything. 

Eddie Brock is a famous journalist known for breaking big stories and taking down the bad guys. But he picks the wrong guy to go after in Carlton Drake, a billionaire obsessed with the space race, who sets out to destroy him with Brock losing his apartment, job, and his fiance. 
Months later a scientist from Drake's Life Foundation facility reaches out to Brock and asks him to investigate Drake's experiments. 

While in the facility a mishap occurs and Brock's body becomes intwined with an alien called Venom and all hell breaks lose. 

The underlying issue with Venom is that it doesn't know what kind of movie its really trying to be. From this springs the feeling that when Venom is being funny (and there are funny moments throughout) that its jarring with the more serious, darker aspects of the film. You never get that feeling in other Marvel or even DC movies. It feels like a mish - mash of different tones and direction. 

Which leads to you not fully buying into the world of Venom and the constant battle between Brock and Venom for control of Brock's body. You end up laughing in the parts that are meant to be serious and barely raising a titter at a lot of the more obvious gags.

That being said Venom does have some enjoyable moments. Venom itself looks magnificent on the big screen and Tom Hardy gives his all in all of his manic, berserk, and quite literally frothing at the mouth glory. Unfortunately Michelle Williams is under-utilised as the token girlfriend and Riz Ahmed is quite possibly the most one dimensional superhero villain in recent memory. 

Venom is a strange beast that doesn't quite know what kind of superhero movie its trying to be. Even though Tom Hardy gives it his all, he can't quite save Venom from itself. 

★★

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Venom is available on DVD, Blu-ray, 4KUHD, and digital from all good disc and digital retailers. 

BLU-RAY EXTRAS
★★★★★

 

Venom, like nearly every super hero movie home entertainment release before it, is packed to the brim with extras. 

The deleted scenes are all quite uneventful until we get to the extended San Quentin scene where Eddie meets Cletus Kasady AKA Carnage played by Woody Harrelson. Here we get a deeper insight into Carnage which really gives you hope for the next film.

The best documentary, although not super long like some of the Marvel extras, is The Lethal Protector in Action which delves into all the action set pieces throughout the film. Its fun, its furious, and its filled with insight.

To top it all off the Blu-ray version has Venom Mode which you can turn on before you start the movie and then throughout you get little pop ups with further in depth information about the film and the comics. A very cool touch. 

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