Swanner: After his life has fallen apart, journalist Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), follows a lead and  finds himself accidentally becoming the host of an alien symbiote that gives him a violent super alter-ego: Venom. Now he needs his newfound powers to protect humanity from crazy billionaire looking to create a new race of human/symbiote hybrids.

Judd: Directed by Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland, Super Store, Santa Clarita Diet) and written by Scott Rosenberg, Jeff Pinker, and Will Beall, Venom plays like Deadpool-lite. The dark villainous hero with zingy one-liners; except Venom plays it safely in the PG-13 world, with very little bloodshed – especially for a monster known for biting off people’s heads.

Swanner: Yes, there was a huge body count with no blood. This was pretty tame with where it could have gone, and probably should have. Tom Hardy was good, but at times I thought he was channeling Dustin Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy, with his shaggy loser beginning. Once he meets Venom, things got fun. I also didn’t hate Michelle Williams. I find her very forgettable but here, she was acceptable. It was also nice seeing Jenny Slate break into the Marvel world. 

Judd: I also thought there was something a little off about Hardy’s performance, and I place the blame for that squarely on Fleischer. It would be almost acceptable if we were accusing Hardy of phoning it in, but his performance seemed to be exactly what Fleischer wanted, and that’s where it went wrong. I enjoyed the movie, and I had fun, but it is definitely incomplete.

Swanner: That’s what I meant about Hoffman. Hardy added too much to a character that turns into creature that bites off heads. In my book Hardy can’t do much wrong, so yes, it was Fleischer’s fault. Get a better director in for part two, and that should fix everything. Venom was a lot of fun even with it’s problems. Maybe the 40 minutes cut from the film would have made a difference. I guess we wait for bluray to see.

Swanner: 3 stars
Judd: 2 ½ stars

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