The phrase “guilty pleasure” was coined for movies that are bad by most objective measures, yet also somehow enjoyable despite the incompetence. And that notion certainly applies to this Marvel Comics-inspired tale of Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), an unemployed investigative reporter who tries to revive his career looking into the activities of shady tech billionaire Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), and subsequently winds up hosting a powerful, symbiotic alien organism called Venom. Hardy’s performance is twitchy even before Eddie has another consciousness inside his head, but once he’s infected, the movie turns into a bizarre hybrid of The Incredible Hulk and All of Me, built on the inappropriate comments of the Venom-voice and Hardy’s unhinged physicality. It’s all dumb stuff, even by comic-book-movie standards, with director Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) blowing nearly all of his action energy on one massive chase through the streets of San Francisco, and a third act that turns into the obligatory CGI donnybrook that plays like a kid smashing his action figures together and making explode-y noises. But does the weirdness deliver a few incredulous laughs? Guilty as charged.
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Producer: Avi Arad, Matt Tolmach, Amy Pascal, David Householter, Stan Lee, Kelly Marcel, Tom Hardy, Edward Cheng and Howard Chen
Cast: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Scott Haze, Reid Scott, Jenny Slate, Melora Walters, Woody Harrelson, Peggy Lu, Malcolm Murray, Sope Aluko, Wayne Péré, Michelle Lee, Kurt Yue and Chris O'Hara