"I was surprised at the length of it", Hardy admitted to Variety's Marc Malkin on the carpet for the movie's premiere in Los Angeles.
Like he does with Eddie Brock, Venom gets under your skin and slowly begins winning you around. He gets dumped by Anne and loses his job after trying to expose science genius and billionaire entrepreneur Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) for conducting experiments on humans.
If producers Matt Tolmach and Avi Arad have their way, the release of Venom this Friday will launch an entirely new Marvel film franchise - dubbed "Sony's Universe of Marvel Characters" - that will nearly exclusively feature characters, mostly villains or anti-heroes in nature, who have crossed paths at some point with Spider-Man. Director Ruben Fleischer, who made his name with the fluid and entertaining Zombieland almost a decade ago, is unable to make heads or tails of the action set pieces here.
In a particularly rough review, Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian said that the film was a "clumsy, monolithic and fantastically boring superhero movie-slash-entertainment-franchise-iteration", called Williams' character "outrageously boring and submissive" and said that director Ruben Fleischer is "uninspired". While Eddie Brock was planned as being part of the movie, Raimi had no interest in introducing Venom, citing the character's "lack of humanity".
Spoiler alert: the movie features two post-credit scenes, so if you love the comics, make sure to stay until the end. Furthermore, the bond between Carnage and Kasady in the comics is stronger than the one between Venom and Brock, with the former referring to themselves as "I" instead of "We". He mostly succeeds at this, but where Hardy shines the most is how he deals with what is essentially schizophrenia-hearing the voice of Venom in his head and conversing with the alien inside him (at least that's the Hollywood portrayal of schizophrenia). But the Venom filmmakers also realized that it would take a talented actor to straddle both the personalities of Venom and Eddie Brock.
Even the PG-13 rating is the safe choice.
The story is a Jekyll-and-Hyde tale where Hardy's journalist character tries to keep Venom's bad behaviour under control. She ultimately felt that Hardy's "committed performance" in Venom just couldn't "overcome a painful script and indecisive direction".
How does Venom fit into the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
Carnage is Venom's most famous adversary and the symbiotes have fought on the page numerous times, so it's not surprising that Sony are looking to sow the seeds of that conflict for future movies. Will there be negotiations over who gets which villain going forward? To explain just how disappointing this is, Venom's now sitting at only 1% higher than classic superhero turkeys like Green Lantern and Ghost Rider.
Do you still plan to see Venom? Unlike the usual backstory of the character in comics, Tom Hardy's portrayal will not depend on Spider-Man, since there is no Spider-Man in this universe, at least not so far.
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