Tom Hardy in Venom (2018)The latest installation in the Marvel franchise is the story of a journalist named Eddie Brock whose goal is to take down the corrupt Carlton Drake, the founder of the Life Foundation. However, after overstepping his boundaries, he loses his job. Six months later, he learns that Carlton Drake is using symbiotes and testing them on innocent bystanders, killing them in the process. Eddie is then infused with an alien symbiote that takes over his body as he becomes a superhuman with immense strength and power. Now it’s up to Eddie and Venom to stop Drake from destroying the planet.

For those unfamiliar with Venom, he’s a villain from the Spider-Man franchise who we originally saw in the poorly made “Spider-Man 3” back in 2007. He’s much more uniquely designed here with his long tongue, sharp teeth, wide eyes and a deep dark voice that’s much more menacing and cunning than expected. When comparing Venom here to his appearance in “Spider-Man 3”, this is the more superior role.

Venom’s scenes can be quite fun, and the action can be thrilling at times. However, those elements don’t tend to stay consistent throughout the entire movie and at times they can even be bland. One scene shows Venom and Eddie fighting off a squad of NYPD SWAT officers and it feels more like a cut away scene in a video game than a movie.

Tom Hardy did as well he could with the material given to him in this role. It’s clear from films like “The Revenant” that he can act, but this definitely isn’t his greatest performance. He is convincing enough as Eddie, but he would have been able to put his acting talents to a bigger test if the writing wasn’t so flat and unoriginal.

What would have helped “Venom” stay consistently engaging is an R-rating. Many were hoping for gritty, raunchy, and super violent movie about a man struggling with a parasite that he can’t get rid of. Not to sound sadistic, but more blood and decapitated heads would have made the film much more enjoyable. Instead, “Venom” attempted to be both dark and light-hearted at the same time, leading to inconsistent tones. We jump from a gritty scene of a little girl with a symbiote to a comical scene of Eddie attempting to fight off Venom.

There is a good movie here somewhere, but many improvements were needed to make it one of the better Marvel films. With the success of “Deadpool” and “Logan”, “Venom” would have been more original and entertaining if it were more like those films. Hopefully Marvel will make this change for the inevitable sequel.

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for language

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