Mon­ster mess just doesn’t cut it

Dumfries & Galloway Standard - - THE WEEKEND TICKET -

– I could’ve done with­out one scene where he yelps in fear and his lame ET joke – there’s rarely a dull mo­ment when Hardy gets into full flow, peak­ing with a sur­real scene where he hops into a wa­ter tank and eats live lob­sters.

It’s a pity that direc­tor Ruben Fleis­cher (Zom­bieland) waits nearly an hour to un­veil Venom in all his glory – and the ef­fects used to bring him to life are very hit and miss.

De­spite a sharp tongue and cool at­tack­ing pow­ers, in­clud­ing us­ing an un­for­tu­nate man to beat up other men, the Venom char­ac­ter is also neutered by the stu­dio’s lack of con­vic­tion in aim­ing for the movie’s ini­tially-spec­u­lated R rat­ing – or 18 cer­tifi­cate for us Brits.

Hardy apart, the cast is re­mark­ably un­re­mark­able; while Michelle Wil­liams (Anne Wey­ing) and Riz Ahmed (Carl­ton Drake) aren’t given much to work with by the script – the lat­ter play­ing the most generic vil­lain imag­in­able who even dresses in black – they both sleep­walk their way through the flick with less en­ergy than an in­som­niac af­ter an hour on a tread­mill.

The di­a­logue gets pro­gres­sively worse and we rush to­wards an un­sat­is­fy­ing cli­max hin­dered by the stan­dard CGI-heavy show­down that lets down many a comic book film.

Like 2015’s Fan­tas­tic Four, this feels like it’s miss­ing a few beats, lend­ing cre­dence to Hardy’s claims that 40 min­utes of his favourite scenes were cut.

If Venom had come out 15 years ago I may have en­joyed it more; but genre stan­dards have risen so high that mis­guided, er­ratic fare like this just doesn’t cut it any more.

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