Spider-Man has been a personal favorite super hero of mine. Despite the debacle with different studios and without having Spider-Man, I personally rooted Venom to succeed. However, the jarring tonal shift, occasional clumsy dialogues and heavy reliance on CGI are eerie reminisces of less sophisticated super hero movie from early 2000. It's disappointing because there are some good set pieces here and Tom Hardy tries his damn hardest.
On a quick glance Venom can be an action thriller, the tone fits perfectly almost in Daredevil crime drama fashion. It almost reaches such darker place but doesn't dare to take the final step, instead it instantly switches to humor. While this new more cynical Venom is not entirely bad, he is such a good character to establish a more intense atmosphere. It does hurt the nuance, toning down on the menacing aura.
Whatever element works on Venom can be credited to Tom Hardy. He displays the reluctant anti-hero so dysfunctionally well. His gesture, slight twitch and banter with the alien invader are a blast. Pacing and script can be problematic, but Tom Hardy just goes all in with sheer tenacity. When it goes to Venom, CGI is inevitable. It's rather unconvincing at times and a more physical choreography would do more wonder than the black suit.
I want to see this as standalone movie, but in the end Venom does need Spider-Man. He could've been a stronger faster version of Spidey and with Tom Hardy as anti hero, that would've made such an interesting clash. Also, if it wants to go for sci-fi thriller route, there's already a recent movie with same premise, Upgrade, which sadly did everything better.
It's not devoid of entertainment, sometimes the humor hits sweet spot, but if you're here for the sentiment of the Venom namesake, this is not the Homecoming you want. It might not be even the Andrew Garfield kind.
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