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What do you need to pluck yourself out of a funk when your entire life has collapsed? If you’re disgraced reporter Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), you need an extra-terrestrial symbiotic life form with super strength, near-invulnerability and a snarky sense of humour. After the (unfairly) maligned Spider-Man 3, hopes were high that a film focused on Venom would deliver on the character’s potential. Those hopes are summarily dashed with Ruben Fleischer’s chaotic take on the tentacular anti-hero. Eddie Brock is a journalist devoted to the truth, to the exclusion of his employer’s wishes and his partner’s needs. The David and Goliath set up of Eddie VS tech giant Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) is cliched and escalates too fast, as Eddie’s life is destroyed when he gets on the wrong side of Drake. Abandoned by his employers as well as fiancée Anne Weying (a criminally underused Michelle Williams), Eddie’s chance for redemption comes in the form of Venom, an organism that bonds with a human host and imbues that host with great power, with which comes great, stop me if you’ve heard this one. Venom follows the typical beats of the superhero genre, offering little we haven’t seen before. Interchanges between Eddie and Venom are sporadically funny but the same device was used in Avengers: Infinity War; the tentacular abilities of the squidgy aliens quickly become overused; Ant-Man and the Wasp made better use of San Francisco as a site for demolition derby. Overall, despite the impressive chompers on our titular anti-hero, Venom’s incoherence means that it lacks bite. But the mid-credits sequence suggests potential for a sequel, so I’ll probably be back for further poisoning.


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