I saw this despite it’s negative reaction and 33% Rotten Tomatoes rating, and while I wouldn’t urge you to see it (go and see Mandy instead), I find the hostility to it puzzling. The story centres on investigative reporter, Eddie Brock, with Tom Hardy in likeable mode, which is a welcome change from “I can’t understand what he’s saying” mode. He investigates Elon Musk type billionaire Carlton Drake who is experimenting on ‘volunteers’, who then mysteriously disappear. This costs him his job and fiancee, so we see him moping about a bit. This might be one cause for the negative reaction – it takes a bit of time to get to superhero phase.

Drake has brought back four ‘symbiotes’ in his space car rocket. These are bonding with, and subsequently killing, all the volunteers Drake brings to them. Tipped off by a helpful scientist, Brock breaks into the lab, and of course, becomes infected or bonded with one of the symbiotes, Venom.

This head-munching alien seeks to take control of Brock, and this provides the films best moments. Hardy does body comedy surprisingly well, and some of the dialogue between the two is funny, if not quite Guardians of the Galaxy level humour. Towards the end it follows a familiar path, with a boring CGI slug-fest and inevitable resolution. But nearly all Marvel films suffer from this. Venom is a more interesting character than the more lauded Captain America (yawn), and the movie is nicely contained without making an effort to link to parts of the Marvel universe. I suspect this was another demerit for it in the eyes of Marvel fans.

So, in short, it’s allright, not brilliant, but not as bad as you might expect. Does that qualify for least engaging review ever?

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