Across most of his big screen performances to date, Tom Hardy has been a bristling ball of visceral energy.
From Bronson, to Warrior, to The Dark Knight Rises and Mad Max: Fury Road, his characters seem to encompass a battle of their id to contain themselves, often boiling over with rage both inside and outside their control.
He’s like a kettle slightly too full of water. Against the odds, he will boil, and both the other characters and the audience will be scalded by his searing heat.
Venom is perhaps his most perfect role.
As Eddie Brock, an investigative TV journalist with a mission to uncover corporate and civil shenanigans, he crosses a line, losing both his job and relationship to girlfriend and D.A. Anne Weying (Michelle Williams).
Fortunately, there’s help on hand to turn his life around in the form of a gelatinous organism from space, a “symbiote” named Venom, in need of a host. Venom crash-landed to earth aboard a rocket-ship owned by genius tech gazillionaire Carlton Darke (Riz Ahmed) and has been subject to experiments in the name of science, leaving behind a trail of corpses from unsuccessful attempts to bond to a human host.
Eddie & Venom are perfect for one another, and once they meet and Venom begins to merge with Brock, Hardy delivers a balls of steel performance, firstly as Eddie an imperfect man in many ways, and then as a split personality when Venom gradually forms half of his identity.
The story moves along briskly, and is always straightforward to follow, a smart move for those in the audience like myself not so familiar with the Venom backstory.
We have seen the character onscreen before, in Spider-Man 3, in a similar physical incarnation, firstly taking over Peter Parker’s Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire), before it mutated and overcame that film’s Eddie Brock (Topher Grace), pitting Venom against Spider-Man in a climatic battle scene.
There’s a rawness and an honesty that Hardy brings to his interpretation of Venom, and clearly he is having an absolute blast in the role. I can’t wait to see what he and Woody Harrelson as Carnage/Cletus Kasady bring to a sequel. This is a great school holidays movie for Dads and teenage sons, but perhaps a little too frightening for kids under 12. I am a 13 year old kid at heart so I absolutely loved this film.
4 Stars – “Outstanding. Tom Hardy is Electrifying”.