Ever wondered what might happen if a space mission brought back a bunch of alien symbiote beings who need human hosts to survive in our atmosphere but in return give them super powers and a taste for flesh? Well it seems that a lot of people want to find out because Venom has broken box-office records in the U.S. becoming the biggest October release ever.
So, here’s Venom - one of the most fan-favourite Spider-Man baddies ever - with a full-on anti-hero-em-up where investigative journalist Eddie Brock (Tom ‘Mad Max’ Hardy) gets fused with the black angry alien symbiote and vows to ‘only eat bad people’…
Hardy has a blast rocking his alter-ego super-strength, rumbling demonic inner voice and a whole lot of teeth. Alas the plot is a bit hit and miss, tonally all over the place – one minute cringy goofy humour, the next, mildly icky body horror and then, just when hope seems lost - there are the violent action scenes - where the film shines best.
Baddie of the piece is Carlton Drake (Riz ‘Rogue One’ Ahmed), a genius scientist – actually ‘mad genius’ is more apt - because he is conducting gene trials on live human, most of whom then stop being ‘live’… When he gets his hands on the symbiotes he tries to find them hosts but it’s just not easy as the human / alien DNA has to be compatible.
Brock has beef with Drake because he gets him fired and makes his fiancé Anne (Michelle ‘Blue Valentice’ Williams) leave him after he uses her inside access to challenge the Drake about his shady dealings. The film certainly takes its time in this build up background phase even though the symbiotes turn up right at the start.
It’s a shame that the pacing is so weak as it undermines the film overall. A faster lift off would have allowed more of the head munching, SWAT Team decimating action which is what comic book fans really want – and at least when it kicks off everything falls into place and film starts to kick ass.
Of course, being a Marvel character, we get treated to a Stan Less cameo and an after credits scene that drops heavy hints of what is to follow should the planned trilogy of Venom flicks get made.
Venom ends up a fun dose of super nonsense which isn’t the full-on experience it could have been but might be the launch pad for a better sequel.