‘Gotham’: Shane West Defends Bane Suit, Talks Taking a ‘Little’ of Tom Hardy’s ‘Dark Knight’ Voice (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Shane West makes his debut as Eduardo Dorrance on next week’s episode of “Gotham.” The character — who will turn into Batman’s nemesis Bane in due time — returns to the city after years away to help Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) restore order to the city and reclaim No Man’s Land.

But before viewers of the Dark Knight prequel series even see West step on screen for the show’s fifth and final season, we know they’ve already gotten a look at his Bane suit, thanks to some official — and unofficial — photos and footage. And while not everyone is a fan of the Fox drama’s chosen look for the character, West tells TheWrap he is.

“I loved the costume,” West told TheWrap in the interview above. “For me, we had a whole different thing, because I was out there for two-and-a-half months doing the build and it took a long time to put that costume together. But the point of the costume always, which is apparently the point of what they do for all of their heroes and villains on the show — which I wasn’t aware of — they build here,” he said, framing his upper body with his hands.

Also Read: ‘Gotham’: Final Season Trailer Shows Off Shane West’s Bane in Action (Video)

“They do kind of like in a comic book, artistic sense they build everything for the face, for the chest and the abdomen and the arms and the head and that’s kind of it, because they kind of fade out and they’re expecting things to film — angles, colors,” he added. “So things have to be filmed correctly when things are coming out.”

West says he was disappointed with how the first photos of him in costume as Bane got out, thanks to paparazzi snapping pictures in broad daylight while they were shooting the Fox drama in New York.

“And you’re just coming out there — I had like six-inch heels on the boots that they added — and you just walk out there and they’re waiting and they’re just snapping godawful photos,” he said. “The joke was, at least let me pose. Or at least come in for a real one rather than me just sitting here and looking like this monster that’s going to fall over.”

Also Read: ‘Gotham’ Final Season on Fox Gets Premiere Date

So, yes, West says it was “kind of a bummer” that it was released before it was intended to be — or how it was intended to be. But he thinks fans have come around more since getting some official teases of him in action.

“Some of the photos are better than others and then I think once you see it on film — and now that I finally have, I’m very happy with it the way it was filmed, the way it was shot,” he said.

In particular, West says he’s a “big fan” of the mask and notes “there were some people that didn’t like Tom Hardy’s look in the [‘The Dark Knight’], even though I think that he looked amazing.”

Also Read: ‘Titans’: DC Universe Series Reveals a Very Murderous Batman (Video)

Speaking of Hardy, we asked West if he’s going to be speaking like Hardy on “Gotham” — seeing as the voice Hardy used for the Christopher Nolan film is basically a

“They liked my voice already, of just how it’s naturally husky in that sense,” West said. “I wanted to add whatever I had for that, a little bit of Hardy, a little bit of his singsong like his up and down the fluctuation of his voice, I liked, whether some people didn’t or not I liked, so I was going to try and combine those two. And then I really relied on the animated series, ‘Batman: The Animated Series.”

Watch our interview above.

“Gotham” airs Thursdays at 8/7c on Fox.

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Kelly Marcel to Write ‘Venom’ Sequel for Sony

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Sony Pictures is moving ahead with a sequel to the box office hit “Venom” and has hired Kelly Marcel to write the script for the film, an individual with knowledge of the project told TheWrap.

Marcel was one of the screenwriters of the first film, which grossed more than $800 million worldwide. Marcel also served as an executive producer on “Venom.” Tom Hardy and Michelle Williams are expected to return, and Woody Harrelson is set to star as Carnage in the sequel.

Avi Arad, Matt Tolmach and Amy Pascal will return as producers. A director has not yet been announced for the sequel. Ruben Fleischer directed the first film but he might have a scheduling conflict, as he will be shooting the sequel for the studio’s “Zombieland.”

Also Read: ‘Venom’ Passes $800 Million – and ‘Wonder Woman’ – at Global Box Office

Marcel’s other screenwriting credits include “Fifty Shades of Grey” and “Saving Mr. Banks,” and she is working on films like “Cruella” and the currently untitled Elvis Presley project. She is represented by WME and Casarotto Ramsay & Associates.

Sony had no comment.

Variety was the first to report the news.

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Tom Hardy’s ‘Taboo’ Heads To China After Alibaba & Youku Strike Deals With The Media Pioneers

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Tom Hardy’s Taboo has headed for China after Alibaba and Youku struck deals for the FX and BBC drama.
The two companies struck the deals for the period thriller with The Media Pioneers, a UK-China media group run by Managing Director Maggie Liang. It w…

‘Venom’ Coursing In China With $79M For $100M+ Weekend Bow; Will Lash Past $600M Global Box Office Today

Read on: Deadline.

SATURDAY UPDATE: Sony’s Venom has its jaw firmly clamped on China, taking $78.6M through Saturday in the market. With Sunday’s results, we’ll see a $100M+ opening, making it just the second superhero movie ever to hit the century mark during a 3-…

‘Venom’ Reaction: ‘One Cool Scene Doesn’t Make Up for a Bad Movie’ (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Sony Pictures’ new attempt at building out a superhero film universe “Venom” hits theaters this weekend and is expected to break box office records, but reviews of the film have been disparaging. TheWrap’s film reporters Beatrice Verhoeven, Umberto Gonzalez and Trey Williams talk what worked about the film and all the things that didn’t.

The film, rated PG-13, was marketed as a darker, violent kind of superhero film, and while Venom — the alien symbiote Tom Hardy’s character Eddie Brock turns into — is ruthless, the film plays more for laughs. The problem with that? We’re not sure it’s supposed to.

The studio cut roughly 40 minutes out of the finished film and as a result, the movie feels a little disjointed.

Also Read: Sony Fixed How Everyone Pronounces ‘Symbiote’ in ‘Venom’

“Venom” is goofy and should play well for the intended PG-13 audience, but it doesn’t seem to rise to the level that superhero films have reached in recent years with the likes of “Black Panther,” “Logan” and “Thor: Ragnarok.”

Some of the film’s best moments are the banter and fighting between Hardy and the Venom voice inside his head telling him what to do.

In “Venom,” Hardy’s Brock is a down-on-his-luck journalist who tries to revive his career by investigating the mysterious experiments being conducted by the Life Foundation and its shady leader, Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed).

Also Read: ‘Venom’ Mid-Credits Scene Explained: What You Need to Know About Woody Harrelson and Carnage

But along the way, an alien symbiote being tested by the organization bonds with Brock, transforming him into the titular monster. Brock finds himself being dragged into a fight with the Life Corporation, all the while being tempted by Venom into unleashing his darkest impulses. Michelle Williams and Jenny Slate also star, with Ruben Fleischer directing.

The film pulled in $10 million in early Thursday night showings, scoring it an October preshow record, and has a 31 percent rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.

Watch their reaction video above.

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James Corden, Reggie Watts and Jenny Slate Made a ’90s Rap Video for ‘Venom’

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James Corden has that ’90s rap and dancing thing down, but the “Late Late Show” host is pretty lacking when it comes to super-strength. On Thursday, Corden, his bandleader Reggie Watts, and actress Jenny Slate made a music video in ho…

‘Venom’ Scores Record $10 Million at Thursday Box Office, ‘A Star Is Born’ Shines With $3.2 Million

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Bradley Cooper’s “A Star Is Born” earned $3.2 million at the Thursday box office ($4.55 million if you include Tuesday and Wednesday Special Event Sneaks), while Tom Hardy’s “Venom” grossed $10 million, giving it the best October preview record of all time.

In comparison to “A Star Is Born,” “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” earned $3.4 million in preshows, before it opened to $35 million in July. “Mamma Mia 2,” however, was a sequel in an already-established franchise that opened in the summer.

 “A Star Is Born,” which has earned critical acclaim from its premiere at the Venice Film Festival and is sure to lure Lady Gaga fans in droves, is expected to gross at least $30 million this weekend as it faces off against “Venom,” which is looking at an opening weekend of at least $55 million, with some independent trackers expecting a new October best of at least $60 million. The current record is held by “Gravity,” which earned $55 million.

Also Read: ‘A Star Is Born’ Sells Out Hundreds of Preview Showtimes on Fandango

“A Star Is Born” stars Cooper as Jackson Maine, a famous yet fading singer-songwriter who has turned to alcohol. During his latest tour, he encounters a talented yet unknown singer named Ally (Lady Gaga), with whom he falls in love with and helps propel to stardom. But as Ally’s career soars, Jackson’s continues to fall apart. Dave Chappelle, Andrew Dice Clay and Sam Elliott also star in this film, which is Cooper’s directorial debut.

“Venom,” however, stars Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock, a down-on-his-luck journalist who tries to revive his career by investigating the mysterious experiments being conducted by the Life Foundation and its shady leader, Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed).

Also Read: ‘A Star Is Born’: How Bradley Cooper Worked for 6 Months to Become Country Singer Jackson Maine

But along the way, an alien symbiote being tested by the organization bonds with Eddie, transforming him into the titular monster. Eddie finds himself being dragged into a fight with the Life Corporation, all the while being tempted by Venom into unleashing his darkest impulses. Michelle Williams and Jenny Slate also star, with Ruben Fleischer directing.

“A Star Is Born” holds a score of 93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, while “Venom” only came in at 28 percent.

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Sony Fixed How Everyone Pronounces ‘Symbiote’ in ‘Venom’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Nice work, Internet. It seems mocking a certain aspect about of “Venom” actually got it fixed.

The weird thing about the titular anti-hero in “Venom” is that he’s actually two characters in one. The person under the gooey black costume is Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), an investigative reporter who’s a bit of a screw-up. But the gooey black costume is also a character — it’s an alien creature called a “symbiote” that bonds with Eddie and turns him all super.

The word “symbiote” is a Marvel Comics invention, riffing off the scientific term “symbiosis,” in which two creatures have a mutually beneficial relationship. Despite it being a made-up term, there’s apparently a right way to pronounce the word “symbiote,” and in the first trailer released for “Venom,” actor Jenny Slate’s character Dr. Dora Skirth was unlucky enough to say it wrong.

Also Read: 13 Major Lingering Questions We Have After Watching ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’

It seems that’s no longer the case in the movie, though, likely thanks to the liberal dunking on the movie by the Internet (as well as actual debate over the pronunciation). In the trailer, when Skirth explains the situation about the symbiotes to Eddie — her company, the Life Foundation, has captured several of alien creatures and her boss, Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), is trying to bond them with various test subjects against their will — she pronounces the word “sim-BYE-oat.” In the released film, though, Skirth, Drake and anyone else who happens to use the word pronounces it correctly (according to Marvel): “sim-BEE-oat.”

Apparently, all those various posts about the “Venom” trailer and the way Slate said a made-up word caught some attention over at Sony. The properly pronounced “symbiote” seems to be the only major change from the trailers, though. The much-discussed moment in which Venom threatens to bite off the arms, legs and head of a man trying to rob a convenience store — leaving him rolling down the road “like a turd in the wind” — is still in the movie. It’s a pretty perfect encapsulation of the silly, dark comedy that makes “Venom” a lot of fun.

In fact, looked at from a comedic standpoint, maybe Sony should have left in all those mispronunciations of “symbiote,” just to goof on fans.

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‘Venom’ Mid-Credits Scene Explained: What You Need to Know About Woody Harrelson and Carnage

‘Venom’ Mid-Credits Scene Explained: What You Need to Know About Woody Harrelson and Carnage

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

(Spoilers ahead for the end of “Venom.”)

“Venom” got off to a rough start with critics, with reviews garnering only a 30 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes at press time. Despite that, Sony is banking on “Venom” being the start of a new film series — going so far as to tease a Woody Harrelson-starring sequel in a surprise mid-credits scene.

If you’re not particularly well versed in Marvel Comics lore, though, you probably have no idea what was going on in that scene between Harrelson and Venom himself, Tom Hardy, or what the significance is of Harrelson’s character popping up there.

And that’s OK! That’s what we’re here for.

Also Read: ‘Venom’ Forms Symbiotic Relationship With (Mostly) Bad Reviews: ‘Loud and Stupid’

In the scene, we see Hardy’s Eddie Brock paying a visit to someone in the deepest reaches of San Quentin prison — this is the big interview he mentioned to Anne (Michelle Williams) at the end of the movie. This person is a very, very dangerous serial murderer. And it’s Woody Harrelson! A pretty big name to pop up for the first time in a mid-credits stinger.

So after a little bit of back and forth, Harrelson delivers this big declaration: “When I get out of here, and I will, there’s gonna be carnage.” That’s actually a pun, because Harrelson’s character is none other than Cletus Kasady, who in the comics bonds with a symbiote called Carnage.

Now, Carnage is not just another symbiote like Riot. Carnage is actually the “spawn” of Venom, so they’ll have a different sort of relationship than the symbiotes in this movie do.

It’s not likely that Kasady has the Carnage symbiote just yet, though, unless it was somehow created by accident during the movie without us noticing. More likely they’ll save that whole thing for the next movie, should it happen.

Also Read: Lady Gaga Fans Take Credit for Trolling ‘Venom’ Ahead of ‘Star Is Born’ Debut

It’s notable that in the comics Carnage is much more powerful than Venom because, essentially, of how intense and murderous Kasady is. It’ll be particularly interesting to see how they handle that dynamic — typically it requires Venom and somebody else, like Spider-Man, to deal with Carnage.

But Spidey is locked into the MCU and Venom’s on the outside looking in for now, so it’s likely that Venom will have to figure out how to handle Carnage on his own in a hypothetical “Venom” sequel.

Either way, the prospect of Woody Harrelson as the bad guy in a “Venom” movie is pretty enticing. Let’s just hope he doesn’t suffer the same fate as Paul Giamatti’s Rhino from “Amazing Spider-Man 2” — lost to history because they never made that third movie.

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Does ‘Venom’ Have a Post-Credits Scene?

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

“Venom” may be a comic book movie based on the Marvel Comics character, but it’s not part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe which is so fond of tossing in teases for future movies after the credits of each film. While MCU films always have something extra in store after the credits roll, it’s not a guarantee with other comic book movies.

So that’s the question: once the credits begin, is it safe to bail for the bathroom or do you need to stick around for a bonus post-credits scene?

Well, it turns out that “Venom” actually features two pieces of extra content after the credits start, the second of which you might care about even if you didn’t enjoy “Venom” at all: an extended clip from “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.”

Also Read: ‘Venom’ Forms Symbiotic Relationship With (Mostly) Bad Reviews: ‘Loud and Stupid’

The “Spider-Verse” clip will be at least conceptually familiar for those who read coverage of the film’s panel at this year’s Comic-Con, because it’s actually part of the footage we were shown in Hall H down in San Diego. It’s not a trailer — it’s actually a big action sequence from the movie, seemingly presented in full.

So you’ll probably want to stick around for that. As for the other extra bit, which comes midway through the credits, it’s a tease for the hypothetical second “Venom” movie. If you want those deets, you can find them below. If you don’t want to know, you should bail now.

For real, get out of here.

Also Read: 11 Riskiest, Priciest Movie Gambles This Fall, From ‘Venom’ to ‘Mary Poppins Returns’

The mid-credits scene sees Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock once again working as a journalist, and he lands a big interview with a serial killer. This character, in a big reveal, is played by Woody Harrelson. After some brief small talk, Harrelson’s character declares that once he gets out of prison, “there’s gonna be carnage.”

That is, of course, a reference to a symbiote named Carnage, with Harrelson’s human character being the brutal murderer Cletus Kasady, who will I guess be played by Harrelson in the next “Venom” movie should one be made.

And that’s all you need to know!

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‘A Star Is Born’ Sells Out Hundreds of Preview Showtimes on Fandango

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Bradley Cooper’s “A Star Is Born” has sold out hundreds of preview shows on ticket site Fandango, the company announced Thursday.

The drama starring Lady Gaga is also currently outpacing previous October hit films like “The Martian, “Gravity” and “Gone Girl” at the same point in the sales cycle.

Out of 1,000 moviegoers surveyed who are heading to the theater to see “A Star Is Born” this weekend, 90 percent are excited to see Cooper’s first outing as a director, while 89 percent are excited to see Lady Gaga on the big screen, 82 percent of moviegoers can’t wait to get their hands on the film’s soundtrack.

Also Read: ‘A Star Is Born’: How Bradley Cooper Worked for 6 Months to Become Country Singer Jackson Maine

However, Tom Hardy’s “Venom” is leading Fandango’s weekend ticket sales with 92 out of 100 Fanticipation points, while “A Star Is Born” is coming in second with 87 points.

“The multiplex will be packed this weekend, with different movies appealing to various audiences,” Fandango managing editor Erik Davis said. “‘Venom’ is a subversive kind of comic book movie opening a door to a new universe of anti-heroes, while ‘A Star is Born’ is a powerful and beautiful love story that demands to be seen on the big screen, and a certain frontrunner during awards season.”

Also Read: Eddie Vedder Inspired Bradley Cooper’s ‘Star Is Born’ Character: ‘He Was Like, What? Bro, Don’t Do That’

“Venom” is expected to open to $55 million this weekend, surpassing the opening weekend record for October currently held by “Gravity,” while “A Star Is Born” is looking an opening weekend of at least $30 million.

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‘Venom’ Forms Symbiotic Relationship With (Mostly) Bad Reviews: ‘Loud and Stupid’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The first reviews and reactions to Sony’s “Venom” are in, but unfortunately for fans of the symbiotic alien at the center of Sony’s “Spider-Man” sorta-spinoff, they’re mostly not great.

In his review, TheWrap’s Alonso Duralde calls “Venom” “the kind of comic-book movie that people who hate comic-book movies think that all comic-book movies are like.”

Variety’s Owen Gleiberman meanwhile calls it “a textbook case of a comic-book film that’s unexciting in its ho-hum competence, and even its visual-effects bravura.”

And writing for THR, Todd McCarthy deems “Venom” to be “thoroughly irredeemable.”

Also Read: ‘Venom’ Film Review: Tom Hardy Gets Buried in CG Goo, as Does the Plot

But it wasn’t all bad. Some critics embraced what they saw as an imperfect, but fun film with camp sensibilities. For instance, Jonathan Shieber of TechCrunch cited its “script that aims for humor and hijinks and (seemingly) embraces the camp within its source material.” And Molly Freeman of Screenrant called it “a fun and entertaining ride.”

And even The Telegraph’s Robbie Collins, who panned “Venom,” still deemed it “interestingly terrible” on Twitter.

Based the classic “Spider-Man” comics villain,  though not a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the film stars Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock, a journalist attempting to save his career by investigating a shady corporation, who instead bonds with an alien symbiote that gives superpowers to its host. Directed by Ruben Fleischer from a script credited to Jeff Pinkner, Scott Rosenberg and Kelly Marcelt, it co-stars Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Scott Haze and Reid Scott. It hits theaters Oct. 5.

Also Read: Lady Gaga Fans Take Credit for Trolling ‘Venom’ Ahead of ‘Star Is Born’ Debut

See reviews below.

Alonso Duralde, TheWrap: 

“Leaping from plot point to plot point without the hindrance of logic or characters, this big-screen return of the legendary Spider-Man nemesis — last seen in the franchise-hobbling “Spider-Man 3” — is aggressively loud and stupid without being much fun at all. It exists as a waste of time (although, one hopes, a sizable payday) for some very talented actors, and it’s proof that even Marvel doesn’t always get it right.”

Laura Prudom, IGN: 

“The best description of Venom as a movie is provided by a quote from the titular antihero itself: “An armless, legless, faceless thing… rolling down the street like a turd in the wind.”

Molly Freeman, Screenrant: 

“‘Venom’ is certainly a flawed superhero movie, but Tom Hardy’s performances as Eddie Brock and Venom make for a fun and entertaining ride.”

Also Read: 11 Riskiest, Priciest Movie Gambles This Fall, From ‘Venom’ to ‘Mary Poppins Returns’

Jonathan Shieber, TechCrunch: 

“To be clear, ‘Venom’ doesn’t quite hit the meta-movie high notes that made ‘Deadpool’ a smash, but powered by the performances from Williams and Hardy (who seem to have chemistry) and a script that aims for humor and hijinks and (seemingly) embraces the camp within its source material, Sony should have a solid foundation on which to build a new superhero franchise.”

Owen Gleiberman, Variety: 

“Venom could have been a fun creation, but the film spends too long watching him… originate. The movie ‘Venom’ actually wants to be is the sequel.”

Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter: 

“The only startling moment in the thoroughly irredeemable Venom that makes you sit up and take notice comes at the 71-minute mark, when the sight of a disheveled, stubbly, sweaty and bloated Tom Hardy jolts you with the realization that here is the perfect actor to one day play Harvey Weinstein.”

Also Read: New ‘Venom’ Trailer Unleashes Tom Hardy’s Body-Ripping Alter Ego (Video)

Nick Schager, The Daily Beast: 

“An absurdly sloppy comic-book extravaganza about a noggin-chomping villain who becomes something of a hero, ‘Venom’ is like its title character: so unbelievably bad it’s almost good. Almost.”

Robbie collins, The Telegraph: 

“‘Venom’ can be quite a lively watch, both as a reminder of why Hollywood stopped making superhero films like this, and also for the occasional glimpse of the off-the-wall, star-driven freak-out that might have been: Hardy did say earlier this week in an eyebrow-raising interview that his favourite 40 minutes of footage did not make the final cut, which is easy to believe. But in terms of basic entertainment, let alone as the foundation of a franchise, it is miserably shaky stuff.’

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‘Venom’ Film Review: Tom Hardy Gets Buried in CG Goo, as Does the Plot

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

If you replaced Tom Hardy for Steve Martin in “All of Me,” and switched out Lily Tomlin for a wad of chewed-up black licorice, you’d have “Venom.” The difference being that “All of Me” is a charming screwball comedy, and “Venom” is the kind of comic-book movie that people who hate comic-book movies think that all comic-book movies are like.

Leaping from plot point to plot point without the hindrance of logic or characters, this big-screen return of the legendary Spider-Man nemesis — last seen in the franchise-hobbling “Spider-Man 3” — is aggressively loud and stupid without being much fun at all. It exists as a waste of time (although, one hopes, a sizable payday) for some very talented actors, and it’s proof that even Marvel doesn’t always get it right.

Tom Hardy stars as Eddie Brock, a motorcycle-riding investigative reporter who tools around San Francisco uncovering city corruption and investigating unsolved murders. (Why someone who covers a local SF beat works for a national news network is never explained, but “Venom” is not the kind of movie that rewards pulling at loose threads.) He gets fired when he turns a puff-piece interview with billionaire Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) into a gotcha piece, based on intel that Eddie stole from the laptop of his lawyer girlfriend Anne (Michelle Williams). She also gets canned from her job, and breaks off her engagement to Eddie in the process.

Watch Video: New ‘Venom’ Trailer Unleashes Tom Hardy’s Body-Ripping Alter Ego

Six months later, we see that Drake is working with alien specimens recovered from his science-lab spaceship that crashed at the beginning of the movie. The idea is to meld these extraterrestrial symbiotes with human beings so that people will gain the ability to live on other planets; if a bunch of homeless people die in the clinical trials, well, that’s just the price of science. Except for Dr. Skirth (Jenny Slate), who thinks Drake has gone too far, and she reaches out to Eddie to blow the whistle on the experiments.

Long story short, the alien Venom (voiced by Hardy) winds up inside Eddie’s body, and while Drake and his goons (led by Roland Treece, played by Scott Haze) chase Eddie down, Anne and her new boyfriend Dr. Dan Lewis (Reid Scott, “Veep”) try to figure out how to remove this alien parasite that is killing Eddie.

Also Read: ‘Venom’ Poised to Set October Opening Weekend Record With $63 Million

Or is it? “Venom” posits that even human hosts that can tolerate the alien symbiote will eventually suffer organ failure, until that idea gets jettisoned. Venom tells Eddie that he plans to lead an invasion of the Earth by his species, until he decides not to and helps Eddie fight alien Riot, who has jumped into Drake’s body. The neither-here-nor-there plotting is matched by the wispiness of the characters, who rarely seem to have clear-cut motivations or anything resembling depth.

And that’s what makes this film such an egregious misuse of a fine ensemble. Hardy is always mesmerizing, even when the material is less so, but in “Venom” he’s finally found a project he can’t overcome by sheer talent. (The fact that he’s telling press that his favorite half-hour got cut out by director Ruben Fleischer might have something to do with all the film’s problems. Maybe we’ll get to see that version three Blu-rays from now.)

Also Read: 11 Riskiest, Priciest Movie Gambles This Fall, From ‘Venom’ to ‘Mary Poppins Returns’

Williams gets stuck with a role that’s mostly The Girl, although she does occasionally get to step up (after accepting the Venom situation in record time), and Ahmed and Slate give what may be their first bad performances, respectively overplayed and tentative. Heck, even Haze, who had a breakout turn in James Franco’s “Child of God,” can’t turn his character into anything but a grimacing henchman.

As for the big set pieces, they’re so chockablock with CG animation that they never pop in the material world. A car chase devolves into explosions and excessive cutting, offering none of the thrills of Black Panther zipping through the streets of Busan, while the climactic showdown between Venom and Riot looks like Michael Bay directing a battle between two gobs of phlegm after visiting a Jackson Pollock exhibition. (And for a movie loaded with people getting stabbed and beheaded by pointy alien extremities, all the violence remains resolutely, bloodlessly PG-13.) There’s one thrilling moment of Venom running up — and Eddie sliding down — the Transamerica Pyramid, but it’s over all too quickly.

One interesting bit of trivia: At one point, Anne notes that certain audio frequencies are Venom’s “kryptonite,” which means that DC Comics exist in this corner of the not-the-Marvel-Cinematic-Universe. Unfortunately, this film also proves that the bad decision-making that has plagued so many recent DC productions can happen to the Marvel shingle as well.



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‘Venom,’ ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Among Most Anticipated Fall Movies, Fandango Survey Finds

Tom Hardy and Director Ruben Fleisher Really Think This Version of Venom Could Fight Spider-Man Someday

New ‘Venom’ Comic-Con Footage Pits Venom Against All the Symbiotes – Including Riot and Carnage

‘Venom’ Star Tom Hardy Compares Marvel Antihero to ‘Ren and Stimpy’