Venom review – Tom Hardy flames out in poisonously dull Spider-Man spin-off

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Can Tom Hardy play comedy – intentionally? The question remains worryingly unanswered in this clumsy, monolithic and fantastically boring superhero movie-slash-entertainment-franchise-iteration. The supposedly massive final showdown is so anticlimactic and pointless that it was only when it was followed by Hardy ruminatively sipping coffee on a stoop and chatting that I realised… that was it. That was the big finish. Hardy himself has said that the film’s best 30-40 minutes have been cut. At least that makes this shorter than it would otherwise be.

Venom is one of the Marvel characters still owned by the Sony corporation and not under the control of the legally separate Marvel Cinematic Universe, although it is still entitled to the statutory Stan Lee cameo. Venom was first glimpsed in Spider-Man 3 and this cumbersome movie – so different from the recent nimble, populous and often genuinely funny Marvel films – feels like something that should be facing off with Tobey Maguire.

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