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GEEK SQUAD: Venom Defanged

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Venom was one of Marvel’s most popular characters in the ‘90s. Built like a WWF Superstar, he looked cool in his black Spider-Man-esque onesie. And like any “good” 90’s comic Venom was extreme. He would straight up murder his enemies and eat them. But the comic struggled to figure out if Venom and his alter ego Eddie Brock was a hero or a villain or in between. So too does Sony’s Venom, the studio’s first attempt at a Spider-Man Shared Universe. But with no Spider-Man. And while that can work, it just doesn’t. Tom Hardy plays an Eddie Brock as a down on his luck reporter who investigates a company too big for anyone to bring down and in the process he discovers the black oil like organism that is Venom. And that is where the fun begins. And it is fun. The film is 90 minutes of Tom Hardy arguing with himself about the morality of cannibalism, how to best prevent an alien invasion, and whether he is a loser. The action scenes flow into each other beautifully and the use of Venom’s powers is fresh. Instead of Spider-Man’s web-slinging abilities, Venom has super-strong telescoping black tendrils that can stretch out hundreds of feet to, say, grab onto a building in mid fall or rip off a car door to use as a shield. And if all you want to see is an anti-hero killing people for reasons the plot barely explain then this is the film for you. But be forewarned, the film just stumbles through its plot. The only apparent reason Michelle Williams’ Anne Weying appears to be in the film just so the “hero” can have a big damn kiss before going to fight the villain. Throughout the entire movie the Venom wants to take over the world to just change his mind at the last minute because the plot demands it. And that is honesty what I expected from a Venom movie without Spider-Man. When he isn’t being a villain to Spidey, Venom doesn’t know if he’s a good or a bad guy. As T.S. Eliot said, it is better to be truly evil than neither good nor evil. But then, nobody reads anymore. – RICHARD SUPLEE

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