April 6-7, 2024
The first of a proposed trilogy, will Venom live up to expectations of casual fans and diehard MCU loyalists? We unpack the new Tom Hardy flick before it opens on October 4.
The film is based around journalist Eddie Brock (played by Hardy) who is possessed by an alien symbiote with a serious attitude problem and the belief their power gives them the right to do whatever they want. But, in keeping with most comic versions of the character, it’s the symbiote that is more or less in control; something Eddie will struggle with in this film.
In the comics, the Venom symbiote first attached to Peter Parker, taking on his spider superpowers, which is why the character has always had the web on the front of his suit, but in this version, it looks like Eddie will be the first one to don the suit. Will he still have a hateful focus on a particular wall-crawler?
Venom was dreamed into existence by Randy Schueller, an American Marvel comic fan. Little did the comic book executives know that this character, who was introduced as a living alien costume in The Amazing Spider-Man issue #252 in May 1984, would turn into one of Marvel’s most iconic and enduring villains, with a series of parallel stories and new origins. (Ultimate Universe Venom is best comic Venom, for the record.)
The trailers are creating a stir with fans, introducing the mayhem that Venom is known for in the comic books. But how will this popular character and his penchant for pandemonium do on the big screen?
The Sony version of the story has Venom’s origin far removed from Spider-Man. As mentioned above, Spider-Man first wears the Venom suit, which draws from his spidey powers. When Peter realises the suit is up to no good he rips free from it, and the alien slinks away to find Eddie, whom Peter had once outed as having written a fake news story, costing him his job. And so Venom and Eddie bond over their mutual hatred, and become Spider-Man’s dark and dangerous foe.
With the web-slinger confirmed to be out of this story, this gives Venom the chance to be his own villain or anti-hero, unburdened by a connection to Spider-Man. Given that Venom’s original idea is as an “anti-Spider-Man”, it will be interesting to see a version that has nothing to do with Spidey. From the trailers, it looks like they’re still gonna bring Venom’s trademark ferociousness and animalistic tendencies to this new incarnation, so points for that.
But watching the trailers reveals that Eddie isn’t the only human to receive a symbiote… A quick check on imbd.com confirms that we can expect Venom to do battle with Riot and Scream – two equally violent symbiotes from the comics that should explode onto the big screen.
With the film recently given a rating of PG-13, it might be hard for Venom to deliver his famous lethal force when dealing with criminals. The trailer already hints at the soul-destroying fear this anti-hero creates. The big question is – will Venom be ripping heads off and eating brains, like he sometimes does in the comics? If you have a queasy stomach it might pay to lay off the choc top and popcorn as you watch from your cinema seat. But again, its PG-13 rating suggests a tamer version at this stage.
At San Diego Comic-Con, director Ruben Fleischer specifically cautioned that there are “no heroes in this movie.” He said Marvel fans should expect a “much grittier, grounded, complicated character” in Hardy’s Brock/Venom.
Any MCU fans unfamiliar with Venom should strap themselves in, as they meet a character different to any other that has come before. Venom has been a fan favourite character since he was introduced, and his moment in the spotlight has finally arrived! Comic book fans are waiting with bated breath; they know as well as the filmmakers do, this film has a lot to live up to.
The world has enough heroes. Get ready for Venom.