Yes, it’s a cartoon, and yes, I’m going to review it. I got a cheap Wednesday seat at the local multiplex, and I thought, why the hell not.
So what’s the deal here? Okay, the story is set in an alternative dimension where Spider-man is … different. Following the obligatory lab accident in a facility owned by the obligatory billionaire super-villain, the walls between dimensions are punctured, and Spider-folk from other realities start pouring through. The home-team Spider-man has to stop the villain and get his counterparts home … and that’s all I can say.
So what’s it like? Well, as I said, it’s a cartoon, so I wasn’t expecting to be blown away; but you know what? I think it was …
These days you can split the Marvel super-hero flicks into two camps: the films made by Disney (who own Marvel Comics), and the films made by Sony. Sony has made a nice little niche for itself by snapping up franchises for the movies that are much less family friendly: the likes of our old friend Deadpool, and now, Venom.
The film follows Eddie Brock, ably played by the infinitely versatile (if you don’t mind the mumbling) Tom Hardy. Brock is a down-on-his-luck and somewhat self-centred journalist who, by way of crashed spaceships, mad scientists and poor security at airports, finds himself bonded to an alien parasite/symbiote that grants him superhuman powers. Now, the alien itself seems to get tetchy when you tell it it’s a parasite, but since it starts feeding on its host’s organs if not regular supplied with live prey, then I’m sure it’s a lot closer to a parasite than a symbiote – though should I ever encounter one I’ll probably keep my opinions to myself.
This was always going to be a chancer, but Ryan Reynolds and co. have managed to pull it off … but only just.
First, the good: the film is funny. It’s very funny. Not as funny as the first one, but still gets a few good laughs through a two hour stretch that could have done with being a little more pacey in places. Reynolds relies a lot on breaking the fourth wall to keep the smirks coming, but I think the trick doesn’t work quite as well as it did in the first outing.
And the film is good. Well … when I say good, I mean that it knocks the spots off anything the DC Universe has produced to date, but when compared with the rest of the Marvel/Sony collection, I’d say its sailing near the lower-middle of the pack.
Okay, Ryan Reynolds was obviously born to play Deadpool and Josh Brolin turned in a creditable performance as Cable, though it was probably a little more intense than I was expecting. Zazie Beetz (no, I have no idea who she is) was really good as Domino, which again was something of a surprise because I’m assuming this isn’t her day job.
The script was okay, but it lacked the relaxed, anarchic feel of the first outing. I got the impression that writers were out to prove that the phenomenal success Deadpool 1 wasn’t a fluke, and as a result they ended up trying too hard. Some of the humour seemed forced, and some of the sequences leading up to the joke were a little contrived. The plot bounced all over the place, occasionally flying off on blind tangents,just about holding the story together, but not always keeping the audience interested.
A nod to the action sequences though: some of the best fight scenes I’ve seen on screen; just a pity there weren’t more of them.
If you’re a fan and you liked the first one, then definitely see the sequel. If you’re kind of on the fence about the whole Deadpool thing then you might be a little disappointed. It’s a good movie; I just expected better.