Block­buster bites with wacky killing ma­chine

Midwest Times - - THE EDGE - Venom

Venom, Rated M Stars Tom Hardy, Riz Ahmed, Jenny Slate, Reid Scott Re­view: Katie Walsh

Su­per­hero fa­tigue got you down? Tired of the same old bland Marvel Cin­e­matic Uni­verse of­fer­ings?

A dose of Venom could be just the right an­ti­dote.

This dark, wacky MCU-as­so­ci­ated out­ing com­bines one of the most in­ter­est­ing con­tem­po­rary lead­ing men with a dar­ing di­rec­tor who has a hit-or-miss track record.

Throw an out­landish alien or­gan­ism into the mix, shake well with a healthy serv­ing of ir­rev­er­ent hu­mour and you’ve got Venom.

It’s a mess but, wow, is it ever a fun, fas­ci­nat­ing mess. Those are al­ways so much more thrilling than any of the for­mu­laic su­per­hero movies that pa­rade through mul­ti­plexes all year.

Tom Hardy plays Ed­die Brock, in­trepid San Fran­cisco in­ves­tiga­tive re­porter and un­will­ing host body for alien Sym­biote Venom.

Although di­rec­tor Ruben Fleis­cher uses ev­ery tool in his cin­e­matic arse­nal, Hardy is firmly in charge here, steer­ing this ship to Crazy­town.

One can’t help but won­der if Hardy is pulling the great­est trick any ac­tor ever has on a mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar Hol­ly­wood comic-book movie, be­cause his insane per­for­mance as the edgy Ed­die feels like an elab­o­rate troll, like Hardy might be a Tro­jan horse, or the par­a­site it­self feed­ing on the MCU from the in­side out.

He’s in full-on, crazy-eyed Wuther­ing Heights mode, coloured shades of Bron­son phys­i­cal in­ten­sity, while us­ing his own heavy Brook­lyn ac­cent from The Drop. He’s riv­et­ing and hi­lar­i­ous. The first half is a char­ac­ter study, jux­ta­pos­ing the free-wheel­ing but prin­ci­pled re­porter Ed­die with neme­sis Carl­ton Drake (Riz Ahmed), a shady bio-tech en­tre­pre­neur and Elon Musk type who would rather in­habit outer space than try to dis­rupt cli­mate change and has a shock­ing dis­re­gard for hu­man life. Af­ter re­ceiv­ing a tip from Dr. Skirth (Jenny Slate), Ed­die breaks into a lab hop­ing to col­lect ev­i­dence that Drake has been abus­ing and killing home­less peo­ple for Sym­biote tri­als.

Venom in­hab­its Ed­die’s body, turn­ing him into an un­likely killing ma­chine.

The best part of Venom — aside from when Ed­die plunges him­self into a res­tau­rant lob­ster tank and tears into a live crus­tacean — is the chem­istry be­tween Ed­die and his par­a­site, Venom him­self.

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