Venom is mainly a work of special effects and physical comedy. It doesn’t introduce anything strikingly new because it deals with typical story elements such as a superhero, mad scientist, and stretchy goo. But Tom Hardy’s performance gains our enthusiasm and breathes life into the movie. He plays Eddie Brock, a self-assured courageous reporter who begins to suspect foul play in the laboratories of Life foundation, a bio engineering company that conducts human experiments. The beginning shows a spaceship that crashes in Malaysia carrying organisms from outer space known as symbiotes which look like black stretchy goo that survive by hiding inside a breathing host. When Brock breaks into the laboratory and attempts to free a human subject, he fails and instead gets taken by the flesh invader.
From a screenplay by Jeff Pinkner, Scott Rosenberg, and Kelly Marcel which is based on the Marvel comic character of the same name, Venom doesn’t include its archenemy Spiderman. Instead the movie becomes about two conflicts; one against a scientist of ruthless ambition and the other being the creature within Brocks body. The scientist is played by Riz Ahmed who is a fine actor but seems too young for the part. And the symbiote that possesses Brock gives him a heavy inner voice that speaks to him like a bad influence. It turns out that it can give Brock elastic powers for defending itself in action sequences. It also has a voracious appetite for any lifeform like in one scene, where Brock jumps into an aquarium and begins eating lobsters. The symbiote is a fearful creature that shapeshifts him into a monster with large teeth and a long tongue. But even when hidden, it remains fearful as manifested through Hardy’s performance. Michelle Williams plays Brock’s ex-fiancee Anne who leaves the relationship when his risky journalistic methods gets her fired from a job as a district attorney. Her new boyfriend (Reid Scott) however is more sympathetic upon learning that Brock is infected. Venom, directed by Ruben Fleischer, is not a great movie but it has lots of amusement and Hardy brings personality to the role.