‘Venom’ Is a Buddy Movie Between Tom Hardy and the Alien That Lives Inside Him
“Venom” is a buddy movie. In it, two post pubescent misfits argue, fight and whine about holding down jobs and eating brains. The fact that one of them is human and the other a gooey, tarry, stringy mess from outer space doesn’t make their love/hate companionship any less real.
Failed journalist Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) has always been his own worst enemy. But as bad as Brock’s self destructive tendencies might have been in the past, they are enhanced when a shape-shifting alien symbiote named Venom (also Tom Hardy) takes over his body in a scheme to eat the human race.
This is a bad time for Brock. In the past few months, Brock is fired from his last chance job and dumped by his fiancé. Assigned to interview Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), a Elon Musk-type rich genius with a habit of experimenting on his fellow humans, Brock, an investigative reporter known for being a troublemaker, does what anyone with half of brain could have guessed he’d do. He starts trouble, gets kicked out of the interview, and is then fired from his job. And we are left with the question of why did his editor assign this story to him anyway?
Seen as complicit, Brock’s girlfriend Annie (Michelle Williams) is also fired from her law firm and that ends the romance. Now Brock can’t find work of any kind. He hides in his crummy apartment, away from the world and without hope.
And then Dr. Dora Skirth (Jenny Slate) approaches him. Skirth is Drake’s top scientist. She has grown disillusioned with her boss and offers Brock a chance for revenge as well as a mind-blowing news story. Drake is in possession of slimy aliens and they are killing people.
But not Brock. When he steals into Drake’s massive complex, Brock does what Brock does. He sets off every alarm in the place and becomes infected with one of the aliens. Suddenly possessing superhuman powers, he escapes with Drake’s thug force on his trail and a strange kind of monkey on his back, a monkey that will become an ever-increasing part of his life.
But first we have to experience the usual stupid car chase in some metropolitan center that goes on forever and hundreds are injured and the police don’t show up until it’s over.
Unfortunately the story doesn’t get much better after that. What does get better is watching Venom and Brock. Venom’s idea of a close friendship is living inside the body of his host, in this case Eddie Brock. His idea of a costume is a Hulk-sized Spider-Man outfit in black with an array of ghoulish pointed teeth. He’s a big guy and yells a lot. His only weakness is exposure to random loud noises, which means he wouldn’t be able to watch this movie.=
For such a terrifying figure, he doesn’t kill very many people. Brock even warns him off of eating the heads of policemen. And the creature listens. Venom gets involved in Brock’s love life and gives advice, telling Brock that he never apologized for getting Annie fired. Once when in possession of Annie’s body, he even forces the two to kiss.
For his part, Brock attempts to normalize the relationship by giving Venom strict guidelines as to when he can take over his body and what kind of people he can eat. Their banter and their repartee provide much of the fun of this movie. Yes, Hardy is talking to Hardy, but he pulls it off well.
Will there be a sequel? The clues lie in the end credit sequences, but we can assume that the chances are good.
“Venom” opens Oct. 5 in theaters nationwide.