‘Venom’ review [2 of 2]: Tom Hardy is a fantastic chameleon

Once you realize that Ruben Fleischer’s ‘Venom‘ functions more as a comedy, then good time is bound to follow.

Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 first introduced ‘Venom’ as an amorphous symbiote latching on Peter Parker’s suit, which causes him to have a radical change in his personality. And with that, we are served with an infamous scene that’ll be forever etched to our memory – a ‘so bad, it’s good’ clip of Tobey Maguire dancing in the street while ladies correspondingly roll their eyes in disgust. The stand-alone Venom movie has none of that storyline involving the beloved web swinger. Director Ruben Fleischer, along with his three screenwriters, cook up an alternate story and the result is a film with contradicting tones of serious stakes and black humor.

Sure, there’s a missed opportunity to do something groundbreaking here – a reimagined tale of Spider-Man vs. Venom, but in the latter’s point of view. However, Sony Pictures wants to make a statement that a Venom movie without Spider-Man is indeed possible. It’s time to take a jab at the term ‘superhero fatigue’ by spinning a former villain into an anti-hero. If only the trailer sets the expectation early on that this film won’t take itself seriously, then this would’ve been panned less by the critics. But guess what. Venom mostly worked for me.

Aches and pains. Tom Hardy delivers an unhinged performance in ‘Venom.’ Photo via Sony Pictures.

The unwilling host remains to be Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), an intrepid TV journalist who contracts the symbiote upon breaking into Carlton Drake’s (Riz Ahmed) lab, in the hopes of exposing the latter’s unethical practice of human trials. Much of your enjoyment here will depend on whether you’ll dig Hardy’s unhinged performance as he bounces back and forth between two personalities. His voice manipulation skills are put into play (I did not realize he also voices Venom until the credits) but it is in his body movements where his full commitment is most evident. He’s sweats, yells, grunts, twitches, raises his hands, then pulls them back during a scene where he’s asked to surrender while Venom stubbornly takes over his body.

But none of that compares to an outrageous seafood restaurant scene where Eddie jumps inside an aquarium to eat a live lobster, with the actor bearing a ‘what the f— is going on’ look in his face. This is where the film’s tone gets really jarring that it took awhile for me to accept what’s happening on screen. In hindsight, I actually love it. I honestly feared for the actor’s well being at times – which is the goal considering he has an alien entity wriggling inside him.

Michelle Williams and Tom Hardy in ‘Venom.’ Photo via Sony Pictures.

Nevermind that Eddie has little chemistry with his supposed fiancee Anne (Michelle Williams in an underused role), the heart of this film has to be the bromance between Eddie and Venom who turns out to be a regular dude. “On my planet, I’m kind of a loser like you,” the symbiote says. The film succeeds in making it a character in itself – Venom is a drama queen who hates being called a ‘parasite’ and a third wheel who keeps on meddling with Eddie’s love life. Once the two are bonded, the film unexpectedly morphs into a delightful and riotous buddy comedy. Pacifist Eddie tries to control Venom’s ‘hangry’ outbursts and incessant desire to chomp off human heads. If this is a romcom, then they definitely complete each other. True enough, the two sort of make out at one point.

Towering built, vampiric teeth, milky eyes, booming Darth Vader voice – Venom’s design is on point with the comic illustration. But the decision to change the rating from R to PG-13 ultimately decreased the fear factor going on, with the film holding back on graphic violence. Personally, I’m fine with it if this means younger fans who have been acquainted with Venom through Spider-Man, get to enjoy this as well. Anyway, this minor tweak does not hinder the film to inject ingenuity in its action scenes – Venom’s shapeshifting and regenerative abilities are utilized for maximum cinematic effect. It all culminates in a vicious combat with another symbiote named Riot – at which point I heard Deadpool’s voice in my head saying, “Big CGI fight, coming up!” It’s not one of the most iconic battles in Marvel history, plus we miss Hardy when he’s disappeared inside the goo, but it’s whiplash fun nonetheless.

Tom Hardy and Riz Ahmed in ‘Venom.’ Photo via Sony Pictures.

Venom has plenty of clunky dialogue which are intentionally funny, plot holes that are otherwise forgivable for the sake of enjoyment, and a bland supporting cast – Jenny Slate as a whistle-blowing scientist is merely a plot device and Ahmed’s Drake is a two-dimensional, megalomaniac villain with weak motivations. But amid its flaws, it would be unjust to put a low rating on something that I truly enjoyed.

This film could have fared better in a 2000 era where comic book films are not expected to have a deep level of profundity. It’s a bouncy film that knows how to amuse its viewers with a nonsensical plot. It does not care if you’re laughing with it or at it – what matters is that it keeps you engaged. The clashing tone is somehow alike to Eddie and Venom’s relationship and in the end, the film achieves its symbiosis. I stand by this when I say that, Venom is not a bad franchise starter for Sony’s Spider-verse. Grab a group of friends and enjoy this bizarre dark comedy.


3.5 out of 5 stars


Directed by Ruben Fleischer and written by Jeff Pinkner, Scott Rosenberg and Kelly Marcel, ‘Venom‘ stars Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Scott Haze, Reid Scott, Michelle Lee, Mac Brandt, Jenny Slate, Sope Aluko, Wayne Péré, Woody Harrelson, Scott Deckert, Marcella Bragio, Christian Convery, Sam Medina and Ron Cephas Jones. Run time: 112 minutes.

‘Venom’ review [1 of 2]: A parasite that bites the dust

“Ruben Fleischer’s ‘Venom’ crafts a mediocre film without Spider-Man.”

For Marvel comic fans, the idea of ‘Venom’ starring in a stand-alone movie is a dream come true. Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 may have relegated the character to a third wheel villain, but it nevertheless gave hope for the possibility of having its own spin-off. It is Ruben Fleischer, best known for his work in Zombieland, who confidently steps up in an attempt to bring the anti-hero to life. It has the strong potential to be one of the most MARVELous movies yet made in the superhero genre.

But Venom disappoints immediately with a dull first half. A spaceship crashes on earth, leaving an amorphous, liquid-like form symbiote (‘Venom’) that requires a host to bond for survival. Then it follows the introduction of Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) who lives in San Francisco with his fiancée Annie Weying (Michelle Williams) whose work is connected to Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), the founder of Life Foundation that specializes on symbiotes. Enter its lengthy setup where Eddie loses his reporting gig and his fiancée – his life going off the rails when he decides to confront Drake on his malicious practice of experimenting human test subjects. To cut the long story short, Venom ends up merging with Eddie and together they try to figure out how to work in a shared body, while being hunted by Drake’s henchmen.

Coming into the screening with the preconceived notion that Venom will be bad, I decided that it’s best to enjoy this film as a casual viewer than a critic. But with so many flaws, it’s hard not to be critical. Whatever success that Fleischer pulled in Zombieland, he didn’t quite find the correct, same angle for Venom. The bromance relationship, comedic banters, and personality clashes between Eddie and Venom are really fun to watch but it doesn’t fit on the serious tone that the movie demands. The action is thrilling – seeing Venom brutally taking off heads of an entire SWAT team gives a little verve, albeit the camera angles sometimes mess up. Most of the time, the movie sets up the action in night where the Venom’s features are begging to be highlighted. It’s quite hard to keep track of what the audience are supposed to see, save for an amazing final battle where Venom and another symbiote, Riot, have both discernible forms. Overall, the plot is decent enough – it’s easy to understand yet not too boring. I can pick several moments in the film genuinely enjoyed.

Hardy suits the character very well and it’s safe to say that he did a better job than Topher Grace, but the lack of chemistry between him and Williams make the performances unengaging. There’s no strong establishment of their relationship in the beginning, considering that Eddie’s personal goal here is to reconcile with her.

Venom squanders its potential to do more. The decision to cut 40 minutes of Hardy’s favorite scenes and to switch the rating from R to PG-13 ultimately lowered the film’s capacity to fully embrace its anti-hero side. Somewhere in Fleischer’s file is a R-rated director’s cut that is much worthy of viewing. But as far as I’m concerned, this theatrical version bites the dust. That is not to say that this film will flunk in the box office – films with negative reviews can still find commercial success, and Marvel still has the option to connect this to their cinematic universe.

P.S. There are two end credits scenes. One will give more hype and an unimaginable follow up, while the other will take you to ‘another universe.’


2.5 out of 5 stars


Directed by Ruben Fleischer, ‘Venom‘ stars Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Scott Haze, and Reid Scott. Run time: 140 minutes

‘Venom’ poster highlights Tom Hardy’s hero duality

Columbia Pictures has just revealed the new trailer for its upcoming action thriller Venom which may be viewed below.

Check it out now and watch Venom in Philippine cinemas October 5.

One of Marvel’s most enigmatic, complex and badass characters comes to the big screen, starring Academy Award® nominated actor Tom Hardy as the lethal protector Venom.

Directed by Ruben Fleischer from a script by Scott Rosenberg & Jeff Pinkner and Kelly Marcel and Will Beal, Venom also stars Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Scott Haze and Reid Scott.

Venom is distributed in the Philippines by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

WATCH: New ‘Venom’ trailer reveals Tom Hardy as the anti-hero

Columbia Pictures has just revealed the new trailer for its upcoming action thriller Venom which may be viewed below.

Check it out now and watch Venom in Philippine cinemas October 5, 2018.

One of Marvel’s most enigmatic, complex and badass characters comes to the big screen, starring Academy Award® nominated actor Tom Hardy as the lethal protector Venom.

Directed by Ruben Fleischer from a script by Scott Rosenberg & Jeff Pinkner and Kelly Marcel and Will Beal, Venom also stars Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Scott Haze and Reid Scott.

Venom is distributed in the Philippines by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

WATCH: Marvel’s ‘Venom’ unleashes its demons in first teaser

“We all have our…demons.”

One of Marvel’s most enigmatic, complex and badass characters comes to the big screen, starring Academy Award® nominated actor Tom Hardy as the lethal protector Venom.

Check out Venom’s newly released teaser trailer below and watch the action-thriller in Philippine cinemas October 5, 2018.

Directed by Ruben Fleischer from a script by Scott Rosenberg & Jeff Pinkner and Kelly Marcel and Will Beal, Venom also stars Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Scott Haze and Reid Scott.

Venom is distributed in the Philippines by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

Tom Hardy displays true grit as heroic pilot in ‘Dunkirk’

Nominated for an Oscar for his performance in the epic frontier drama The Revenant, Tom Hardy re-teams with frequent collaborator Christopher Nolan (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises) in the action thriller Dunkirk (now showing in Philippine cinemas).

Dunkirk opens as hundreds of thousands of British and Allied troops are surrounded by enemy forces. Trapped on the beach with their backs to the sea, they face an impossible situation as the enemy closes in.

The story unfolds on land, sea and air. RAF Spitfires engage the enemy in the skies above the Channel, trying to protect the defenseless men below. Meanwhile, hundreds of small boats manned by both military and civilians are mounting a desperate rescue effort, risking their lives in a race against time to save even a fraction of their army.

Tom Hardy, who plays Farrier, the more senior RAF pilot, had perhaps the most personal connection to the project. “My granddad was at Dunkirk,” he reveals. “He told me about it.”

Producer Emma Thomas says there were other reasons Hardy was perfect for the role. “He’s in a small cockpit of a plane, so his movements are very restricted, but Tom has a very big presence and can use his physicality in very interesting ways. And once again, we have much of his face covered, but the reason you can do that with Tom is because he is such an expressive actor you don’t need to see all of his face. There are moments in the film where all that’s visible are his eyes, and yet he can communicate and tell a story just with that.”

Hardy says he was eager to reunite with Nolan, stating, “Chris is the best at what he does. He pushes and inspires me as an actor. I’d jump on any role just to be in the company.”

Dunkirk features a multigenerational ensemble cast, including Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy and Barry Keoghan, with Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance and Tom Hardy.

Dunkirk is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

Tom Hardy to lead ‘Venom’ for Sony’s Marvel Universe

Columbia Pictures has just announced that Oscar-nominated actor Tom Hardy (The Revenant, The Dark Knight Rises) will star in the action adventure Venom for director Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland).

Venom will be the first film out of the gate from Sony’s Marvel Universe after Spider-Man: Homecoming. The film will be released worldwide on October 5, 2018 with a production start date of fall 2017.

Scott Rosenberg (Jumanji) and Jeff Pinkner (The Dark Tower) are writing the script for Venom, with Avi Arad, Matt Tolmach, and Amy Pascal as producers. Palak Patel and Eric Fineman will oversee the production for Columbia Pictures.

Venom is one of the most popular superheroes in the Marvel Universe and is unique because Eddie Brock is able to converse and have a relationship with the symbiote, which culminates to him becoming Venom

Throughout the history of Marvel Comics, Venom has appeared alongside Spider-Man, Iron Man, Deadpool, Hulk, and many other Marvel Comics characters.

Ruben Fleischer is the best choice to direct the property as he brilliantly showcased his ability to bring together dark themes with humor in Zombieland.

Likewise, Tom Hardy is a huge fan of Venom and has a strikingly similar look to the original comic’s depiction of Eddie Brock.

‘The Revenant’ to have advance screenings on Feb 2 last full shows

Leonardo DiCaprio’s award-winning and acclaimed film, “The Revenant” from Academy Award winning director Alejandro Iñarritu holds its public advance screenings in Philippine theatres (2D and IMAX screens) as last full show nationwide on February 2, Tuesday – hours ahead of its opening (following) day on February 3.

Based on true events from legendary Hugh Glass’ accounts on surviving the wild, uncertain times and even returning from the dead, “The Revenant” is this year’s most awaited cinema event. In THE REVENANT, the highly anticipated film from 20th Century Fox, Leonardo DiCaprio plays Hugh Glass, a fur trapper and frontiersman who is left for dead deep in the unchartered American wilderness by a traitorous member of his team, John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy). With sheer will as his only weapon, Glass must navigate a hostile environment, a brutal winter and warring tribes in a relentless quest to survive and exact vengeance on Fitzgerald. Inspired by a true story, the film is directed and co-written by renowned filmmaker and Academy Award-winner Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman, Babel).

Copyright © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. THE REVENANT Motion Picture Copyright © 2015 Regency Entertainment (USA), Inc. and Monarchy Enterprises S.a.r.l. All rights reserved.Not for sale or duplication.
Copyright © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. THE REVENANT Motion Picture Copyright © 2015 Regency Entertainment (USA), Inc. and Monarchy Enterprises S.a.r.l. All rights reserved.Not for sale or duplication.

Glass’s mythology began in 1823, when he was among thousands joining the fur trade, a driving new force in the US economy. It was a time when many saw the wild as a spiritual void that demanded to be tamed and conquered by the steeliest of men. And so they poured into the unknown, plying unmapped rivers, disappearing into impossibly lush forests, seeking not only excitement and adventure but also profits — often in fierce competition with the Native tribes for whom these lands had long been home.

Many such men died anonymously, but Glass entered the annals of American folklore by flat-out refusing to die. His legend sparked after he faced one of the West’s most feared dangers: a startled grizzly bear. For even the most tested frontiersmen that should have been the end. But not for Glass. In Iñárritu’s telling of the tale, a mauled Glass clings to life – then suffers a human betrayal that fuels him to continue at any cost. In spite of tremendous loss, Glass pulls himself from an early grave – clawing his way through a gauntlet of unknown perils and unfamiliar cultures on a journey that becomes not just a search for reckoning but for redemption. As Glass moves through the frontier in turmoil, he comes to reject the urge for destruction that once drove him. He has become a “revenant” — one returned from the dead.

“The Revenant is a story of harsh survival but also one of inspirational hope,” Iñárritu says. “For me, the important part was to convey this adventure with a sense of wonder and discovery, as an exploration of both nature and human nature.”

“The Revenant” opens in cinemas across the nation starting February 3 (also in IMAX screens) from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros. Check your nearest theatres for schedule and advance ticket purchase.

the revenant movie

‘The Revenant’ opens Feb 3 with one-week IMAX run

Leonardo DiCaprio has portrayed a kaleidoscopic array of characters – from Howard Hughes to Jay Gatsby to Wolf of Wall Street’s profligate Jordan Belfort – but the role of the Hugh Glass in “The Revenant” was an entirely new challenge, taking the actor into borderlands that few in our modern world have experienced. It is DiCaprio’s most intensely physical role and at the same time, an almost wordlessly raw performance.

Academy Award®-winning director Alejandro G. Iñárritu brings the legend of Hugh Glass to the screen with “The Revenant,” an epic adventure set in the unchartered 19th century American Frontier. Immersing audiences in the unparalleled beauty, mystery and dangers of life in 1823 America, the film explores one man’s transformation in a quest for survival. Part thriller, part wilderness journey, The Revenant explores primal drives not only for life itself but for dignity, justice, faith, family and home.

DiCaprio was also enthralled by Iñárritu’s aim to bring Glass’s story to life with a realism that would plunge audiences into life in primordial Western lands long before cowboys and outlaws. “I’ve never really seen this time period in American history put on film, so that interested me,” he says. “This was a unique time and place in the history of the American West because it was far more wild than what we think of as ‘the wild, wild West.’ It was like the Amazon, a completely unknown wilderness, a no man’s land where few laws applied. These trappers who came from Europe and the East Coast had to learn to live a life in the middle of the elements — surviving like any other animal in the wilderness.”

The director emphasizes that DiCaprio faced tests no actor could fully prepare for in his performance. “Leo was working in the toughest of conditions, under a challenging wardrobe, in extreme make-up, going to the most emotionally uncomfortable and dark places. But no matter what he is going through, something immediate comes to life when Leo is in front of the camera. There’s an incredible power,” Iñárritu observes.

The bear attack that threatens to end Glass’s life immediately took DiCaprio into a mano-a-mano struggle with one of nature’s most skilled predators. “The bear attack was incredibly difficult and arduous,” DiCaprio recalls, “but it’s profoundly moving. In the film, Alejandro puts you there almost like a fly buzzing around this attack, so that you feel the breath of Glass and the breath of the bear. What he achieved is beyond anything I’ve seen. Glass has to find a way to deal with this full-grown animal on top of him. He’s at the brink of death – and you are fully immersed in this moment with him.”

DiCaprio did many of his own stunts: he was buried in snow, went naked in minus five-degree weather and jumped into a frigid river, each moment bringing him more in touch with Glass’s will. But as he makes his way, Glass does not just abide – he also changes profoundly, something DiCaprio reveals in a multi-hued range of subtle details that add up to the film’s stirring climax.

“Throughout, there’s that question of whether some kind of revenge is ultimately the thing that will quench Glass’s thirst at the end of the day. But the need to continue on becomes something more to him…it becomes a kind of spiritual endeavor,” he concludes.

An immersive experience to be fully experienced only in theatres, get ready when “The Revenant” opens in cinemas on February 3, 2016 as released by 20th Century Fox and to be distributed by Warner Bros.

‘The Revenant’ U.S. box-office opening edges out ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’

With multiple wins at the recent Golden Globes and major nominations in the upcoming 88th Academy Awards, film “The Revenant” starring Leonardo DiCaprio directed by Academy Award winner Alejandro G. Iñárritu is fiercely strong at the (U.S.) box-office with an incredible opening (Friday, Jan. 8) of $14.4 million, edging out “Star Wars: The Force Awakens’” ($10.75 million) that day.

“The Revenant” best seen on the big screen, is on its way to $100 million with an estimated gross of $97 million to-date. Inspired by true events, “The Revenant” is physically intense and emotionally gripping story of a man presumed to be dead but came back to life. The legend of Hugh Glass, as he is regarded to be the revenant, someone who came back from the dead, is played by Leonardo DiCaprio. Part thriller, part wilderness journey, The Revenant explores primal drives not only for life itself but for dignity, justice, faith, family and home.

 Copyright © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. THE REVENANT Motion Picture Copyright © 2015 Regency Entertainment (USA), Inc. and Monarchy Enterprises S.a.r.l. All rights reserved.Not for sale or duplication.

Copyright © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. THE REVENANT Motion Picture Copyright © 2015 Regency Entertainment (USA), Inc. and Monarchy Enterprises S.a.r.l. All rights reserved.Not for sale or duplication.

Glass’s mythology began in 1823, when he was among thousands joining the fur trade, a driving new force in the US economy. It was a time when many saw the wild as a spiritual void that demanded to be tamed and conquered by the steeliest of men. And so they poured into the unknown, plying unmapped rivers, disappearing into impossibly lush forests, seeking not only excitement and adventure but also profits — often in fierce competition with the Native tribes for whom these lands had long been home.

Many such men died anonymously, but Glass entered the annals of American folklore by flat-out refusing to die. His legend sparked after he faced one of the West’s most feared dangers: a startled grizzly bear. For even the most tested frontiersmen that should have been the end. But not for Glass. In Iñárritu’s telling of the tale, a mauled Glass clings to life – then suffers a human betrayal that fuels him to continue at any cost. In spite of tremendous loss, Glass pulls himself from an early grave – clawing his way through a gauntlet of unknown perils and unfamiliar cultures on a journey that becomes not just a search for reckoning but for redemption. As Glass moves through the frontier in turmoil, he comes to reject the urge for destruction that once drove him. He has become a “revenant” — one returned from the dead.

the revenant movie

Adds Leonardo DiCaprio: “The Revenant is an incredible journey through the harshest elements of an uncharted America. It’s about the power of a man’s spirit. Hugh Glass’s story is the stuff of campfire legends, but Alejandro uses that folklore to explore what it really means to have all the chips stacked against you, what the human spirit can endure and what happens to you when you do endure.”

“There are powerful themes for me in the film: the will to live and our relationship with wilderness,” explains DiCaprio of his immediate attraction to the story. “I’ve also previously played a lot of characters who were incredibly articulate in different ways and had a lot to say, so this was a unique challenge for me. It was about conveying things without words or in a different language. A lot of it was about adapting in the moment, about reacting to what nature was giving us and to what Glass was going through as we filmed. It was about exploring the most internal elements of the survival instinct.”

Copyright © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. THE REVENANT Motion Picture Copyright © 2015 Regency Entertainment (USA), Inc. and Monarchy Enterprises S.a.r.l. All rights reserved.Not for sale or duplication.
Copyright © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. THE REVENANT Motion Picture Copyright © 2015 Regency Entertainment (USA), Inc. and Monarchy Enterprises S.a.r.l. All rights reserved.Not for sale or duplication.

Based in part on Michael Punke’s novel “The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge,” 20th Century Fox and New Regency present “The Revenant,” also starring Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter, Forrest Goodluck, Paul Anderson, Kristoffer Joner, Joshua Burge and Duane Howard.

Powerful epic saga unfolds on the big screen when “The Revenant” opens in Philippine cinemas this February 3, 2016 from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.