Even though I was an original Spiderman comic collector, I swore off superhero movies after Thor: Ragnarok, so unsophisticated it curdled my blood. But I’m glad I’ve returned to watch the latest entry from the Marvel world, Venom. Wonderfully directed by Fleischer and with Tom Hardy in top form as a slouchy, bumbling kind of hero who melds with a reptilian “symbiote,” the movie hews close to its superhero-creation myth, a narrative that is both cliched and epic. The rest of the cast has little room to show nuance, but the script is deliciously tight and the dialogue is two notches better than the pap of other recent superhero outings. I classified the film into two parts, a portentous, creepy setup that worked well, and a “mismatched buddy” adventure starring jokey Hardy and jokey symbiote, which I also enjoyed, though the transition between these two halves jarred for a few minutes. Quite why they needed to portray the symbiotes as so excessively loony, instead of something more scary, Alien-style, I’m not sure, but it was easy to enjoy the usual CGI battles and amazing chase scenes. Not the most imaginative of entries into the crowded superhero universe, Venom nonetheless pleases with its fast pace and uncondescending intelligence.