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"Venom": A Terribly Fun Terrible Movie

By Kelson Howerton
On October 24, 2018

This movie might be terrible, but Tom Hardy makes it an incredibly fun time. 
Photo Courtesy of BBC

"Venom" is a bad movie. Its plot feels like the most generic 2000s super-hero movie. Its dialogue ranges from awkward to downright laughable. Its CGI is awful, particularly in the fight scenes between the film’s two symbiote monsters that mostly just look like two piles of goop hugging each other. Its performances are all over the place, with Riz Ahmed giving his most bored performance yet, Michelle Williams leaving her usual talent sitting somewhere in Manchester, Massachusetts, and Jenny Slate being relegated to “smart lab girl with glasses.”

On paper, "Venom" is boring, unremarkable, and offensively awful. But, there is one thing that makes "Venom" an incredibly fun movie-going experience – Tom Hardy.

Tom Hardy has the time of his life in the role of Eddie Brock, an investigative journalist turned symbiote-host when he investigates the wrong shady corporation’s laboratory. Seemingly based off of Hardy himself, Eddie is a tattooed, bracelet-wearing rockstar of a reporter, suavely walking around the streets of San Francisco holding the powerful accountable with his gotcha-journalism.

The movie actually picks up when Eddie investigates Riz Ahmed’s Carlton Drake, an Elon Musk-like figure who is the CEO of bioengineering corporation the Life Foundation, which has just discovered a host of Symbiote monsters and has been testing them on unfortunate human “volunteers.” In his attempts to take down Drake, Eddie’s life spins out of control, causing him to lose his job, his fiancé Anne (Michelle Williams) and his reputation as a journalist. Even worse, when a dejected and unemployed Eddie decides to take matters into his own hands and investigate the Life Foundation on his own, he gets infected with an alien parasite monster named Venom.

As Eddie grapples with his new hungers as a symbiote-host and the spooky voice in the back of his head, Hardy has the most fun with the role of Eddie. This is seen most in an extended sequence in which Eddie feeds his hunger by eating everything in sight, then accidentally using his newfound symbiote powers to take out a squad of Life Foundation mercs.

From here, “Venom” shifts from an average superhero flick, to a goofy action movie, and then into a buddy comedy. It is confusing, jarring, and hilariously thrilling all at once.

And thus is the beauty of Venom, a superhero buddy comedy that has one of the best actor-on-actor chemistries in movie history – Tom Hardy and Tom Hardy. Like Kanye West rapping over the sounds of Kanye West, Hardy lends his voice and body to both Eddie and Venom, creating an interesting chemistry as Hardy’s already manic Eddie argues with Hardy’s bloodthirsty Venom.

While most of the pair’s lines are head-scratching-ly painful, Hardy has fun with every line, delivering a hilarious performance with just Eddie, let alone Eddie arguing with Venom on who they can and cannot eat. With lines like, “you will be this armless, legless, faceless thing . . . rolling down the street like a turd in the wind,” you know this movie has some serious writing chops.

Venom originally comes to the planet alongside his symbiote brethren for some generic destroy-the-world plot, but he quickly changes his mind, deciding he would have a lot more fun being the only symbiote to prowl the earth. Venom admits that, on his planet, he is a bit of a loser, like Eddie, but their unusual relationship presents both the opportunity to have some fun and be something more. This relationship gives Venom a handsome host he can use to . . . eat people, and Eddie the superhuman abilities needed to . . . eat people.

The pair go on a wild ride that ranges from tense car chases, bombastic battles with Symbiote-baddie Riot, and quieter moments like Venom weirdly giving Eddie relationship advice as he tries to win back Anne.

The film cannot seem to choose between taking itself far too seriously, and not having any seriousness at all. While that might be a jarring, unenjoyable experience in other movies, the utter joy and fun Hardy brings to the film’s two main characters make this a movie worth watching, so long as you are aware what you are getting – a good bad movie. The combination of “Venom’s” laughably bad writing and visuals and Tom Hardy’s actual brilliantly crazy performance make “Venom” an incredibly stupid, uncompromisingly fun time.

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