“Venom”: A Not So Poisonous Love Story

At some point in Venom I expected the anti-venom too come: the nexus where Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock gloriously spars, quips and congeals into his comical and horrifying CGI doppelgänger. The meet cute takes a little bit too long for my taste, but the final relationship is one of the great pseudo romantic comedy pairings of 2018. Yes, venom is a love story about monsters loving their humans and humans loving their monsters.

That is why Michelle Williams and Tom Hardy never click as a serious romantic couple. Hardy is too busy quarreling, reconciling, falling for the moments when this cutely monstrous Laurel occupies him so meaningfully that there is no room for anything else. In the inevitable sequel Williams will be the third wheel to the Venom-Brock buddy cop routine.

Venom is seriously broken when the two don’t share screen time. Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer treats the action sequences with enough comic zing to make the separations and mergings function as part of their cosmic relationship tangle, one that in true Marvel fashion requires them to save the world in order to save it for each other. Everything else is treated with exasperated impatience, the dull complications needed to move the love story forward.