25 September 2023


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Reviewed by Victor Rebikoff.

Director: Ruben Fleischer, Columbia Pictures & Marvel Entertainment, M 112 Minutes.

The latest addition to Marvel’s Universe of superheroes is somewhat of a letdown mainly due to its lacklustre and long-winded plot about a luckless reporter suddenly acquiring powers as a result of being infected with an alien parasite.

In this origin story, Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy –‘Legend’) is an acclaimed journalist engaged to lawyer Anne Weying (Michelle Williams –‘Wonderstruck’) who agrees reluctantly to interview Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed –‘Una’), a scientific industrialist responsible for bringing an alien organism to Earth.

During the interview Brock accuses Drake of dubious activities forcing its immediate termination including his boss firing him from his plum position followed by his fiancée ending their engagement and Brock having to move out of their apartment.

Subsequent to the interview, a space shuttle belonging to Drake crashlands in Malaysia from which emerges an alien entity in the form of an oozing black blob seeking a human host before inhabiting the body of a nurse.

Soon after, Brock is approached by scientist Dr Dora Skirth (Jenny Slate –‘Gifted’) in the hope of him exposing Drake over his inhumane experiments, one of whom (a homeless woman) transfers the alien symbiosis into Brock’s body.

Brock then becomes a part human, part alien creature able to transform himself into Venom, a vicious-looking alter-ego with giant teeth and a range of powers that are initially uncontrollable, especially its ravenous craving for raw food.

In view of Brock’s transformation Drake wastes no time in sending out his mercenaries to bring him to his foundation for further research only to be thwarted by Anne.

The final encounter between Brock and Drake (who has also been transformed through the alien symbiosis inhabiting his body) is turned into an entertaining, no holds barred battle for supremacy and the emergence of a strange superhero.

It appears that Fleischer’s lack of directorial experience would account for him crafting what is clearly the worst superhero movie to enter Marvel’s cinematic universe, considering his previous feature film was ‘Gangster Squad (2013)’.

Apart from the pleasing portrayals by Ahmed and Williams it is Hardy who again steals the show with his portrayal of playing the dual personalities of Brock and Venom which does not compare to his stand-out performance as Bane in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’.

Vic’s Verdict: 2 ½ Stars

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