Directed By: Ruben Fleischer
Starring: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Jenny Slate, Scott Haze, Reid Scott, Melora Walters, Peggy Lu, et. al.
Rated: PG-13
Grade: B

Shortly after a space shuttle operated by the Life Foundation crashed to earth and resulted in the deaths of the onboard crew, investigative reporter Eddie Brock is granted an interview with the Foundation’s CEO, Carlton Drake. Despite being told by his boss not to mention the crash, Eddie uses inside information he found on his fiancé’s computer to corner Drake, which results in Eddie losing both his job and his fiancé. Six months later, Eddie is still unemployed since he was effectively blackballed as a reporter due to the Drake incident and is barely managing to keep his life together. One day, however, he’s approached by Dr. Dora Skirth, a colleague of Carlton Drake’s, who informs Eddie that Drake recovered alien life from an asteroid before the shuttle crash, and has been performing human experiments in an attempt to create hybridized life forms with the beings Drake calls Symbiotes. After Skirth sneaks Eddie into the Life Foundation labs, Eddie becomes infected with a Symbiote calling itself Venom, and the two team up to stop Drake, who was infected with the only other remaining Symbiote, Riot, from bringing the rest of the Symbiote race to Earth, which would result in mankind being wiped out.

Based on the comic book character, who was introduced as a villain in the Spider-Man comics, Venom, according to some of what I’ve read, picks up after the character is given its own line of comics and is turned into more of an antihero. The movie itself is pretty good. As I’m not overly-familiar with comic books, I was only aware of Venom as a straight-up villain, so seeing him in the hero role took a little getting used to. The actors all do well, and Tom Hardy gets to show off his comedic skills with a bit of physical comedy. He also does a good job of portraying someone who isn’t completely in control of their own body in the scenes where Venom first makes himself known. Riz Ahmed seems to enjoy playing the bad guy and he makes you believe that the character thinks what they’re doing is right.

The effects are well done. The alien visages look a little off at times, but until the end fight scene, you don’t see them enough for it to matter, and the background filler isn’t noticeable.

Comic book fans should enjoy this. Despite some scathing critical reviews, the movie isn’t bad at all. It peppers in just enough humor to keep it from being melodramatic, but takes itself seriously enough to not be farcical. And, while it’s not a backdoor entry into the MCU, as many had hoped, it holds it’s own and creates an interesting universe nonetheless.

Venom is currently not available free to stream, but it can be rented from Redbox or Netflix home delivery service, or purchased from a participating store or on-line retailer.

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