‘Venom’ is ready to take a bite out of the box office
We have answers to all your burning questions as another Marvel Comics favorite hits the big screen.
Are you ready for the story of a man and his snarky, limb-ripping, alien parasite best friend?
Another Marvel Comics favorite hits the big screen with “Venom” (in theaters Friday), starring Tom Hardy as San Francisco investigative journalist Eddie Brock and the human host of a black symbiote that invades his body but gives him crazy-cool powers such as instant healing and super-strength in his monstrous creature form.
We know you might have some burning questions about “Venom” – such as, why does Hardy look so crazy in all the trailers? – so here are some (mostly) helpful answers.
Why are we just now getting a ‘Venom’ movie?
It’s not a bad question. The character first appeared in comic books in the 1980s as a foe of Spider-Man (fun fact: The alien symbiote initially infected Peter Parker!) and became a fan favorite, especially with teenage boys, who dug his violent antics. Venom is one of many Spider-Man characters to which Sony owns the movie rights – he showed up in 2007’s “Spider-Man 3” played by Topher Grace, though the less we talk about that, the better – and the new film conceivably begins to build out a Spidey universe.
Does that mean Venom will meet Captain America and Thor?
Not necessarily. “Venom” isn’t part of Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe – at least not yet. Although Venom does enjoy biting heads off bad guys when hungry, the movie is PG-13, possibly allowing Marvel to bring Venom into the Avengers’ world later.
Is ‘Venom’ like any other superhero films we’ve seen?
No joke, it’s as if “Venom” was made in the mid-2000s, and someone forgot to release it. It’s very much along the lines of “Daredevil” and “Ghost Rider” as a movie that’s heavily dark and simplistic in story but does some stuff really well – mainly the interactions between Brock and Venom. Those superhero films back then usually had some sort of big soundtrack artist (see: Nickelback and “Spider-Man”), and “Venom” offers up a new Eminem jam.
How is Tom Hardy as a guy possessed by a man-eating alien?
The Oscar-nominated actor turns in by far his most bonkers performance. It’s a whole Jekyll-and-Hyde thing, as Brock learns to deal with his visitor and often talks with Venom as they team up to take down tech billionaire Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), who has a deadly evolutionary plan for humanity. It’s more fun, though, to watch Hardy gorge on frozen tater tots and chomp on crustaceans while sitting in a restaurant lobster tank.
And how is Venom as a character?
There are some good parts and some bad. Director Ruben Fleischer definitely captures the look from the comics, with his wagging long tongue, huge fangs and hulking presence. Venom also tends to run around like the supernatural dogs in “Ghostbusters,” so that’s a sight in itself. But alas, the symbiote-on-symbiote action in the movie is a bit rough in the effects department.
Who else is in the movie whom we might recognize?
Ahmed (of “The Night Of” fame) is definitely the big bad, who also harnesses the abilities of a symbiote named Riot. Michelle Williams plays Brock’s lawyer love interest Anne Weying, who breaks up with him after a betrayal but still cares for the big lug. And Jenny Slate plays a scientist with Drake’s Life Foundation who tells Brock about Drake’s villainous activities.
Is ‘Venom’ OK for kids?
The body horror and violence is somewhat intense for little ones, but it’s actually not that gory. Teenagers who dig the Marvel movies will find stuff to enjoy, especially the inner Venom voice (also Hardy) who acts as Brock’s sinister confidence coach and sometime voice of reason.
If Venom’s a Spidey guy, is Tom Holland in this film?
Sadly, no. But anything can happen in the future if “Venom” is successful. Brock hints he has connections back in New York City, which is Spidey’s home turf.
Ugh. Fine. Is there at least an end-credits scene?
There are actually two, so you’re going to want to stay till the bitter end. (One in particular sets up future adventures for Hardy.)
So is the movie any good?
While not great, it does hit on a soridiculous-it’s-fun level at times. It’s at least better than the very worst superhero flicks (“Elektra,” that horrendous “Fantastic Four” reboot). But, at the risk of an arm being ripped off, it doesn’t even come close to most of the Marvel slate, though you have to respect its supreme wackiness.
Tom Hardy says Venom is “an alien that’s living rent-free in a human being.”
Anne (Michelle Williams) and Eddie (Tom Hardy) share a laugh in “Venom.”