Here’s a hot take: I don’t hate Venom. Sure, he’s the poster boy for the XXXTREME DARK EDGINESS that was so prominent in 80s and 90s comics. He does, however, have some cool elements going for him, like Todd McFarlane’s iconic design, a menacing set of powers (especially absorbing people’s essence like a parasite), and being a fairly compelling metaphor for addictions and school bullying. He’s a character with plenty of potential for horror and weirdness, which makes him consistently enduring in the Spider-Man lore. With that said, the Venom trailer doesn’t seem to be displaying said potential… at all.
Oh boy, where do I start with this? Making a Venom movie without Spider-Man in it seems… kind of dull? A huge part of what makes the character thrilling is the fact that he has a terrifying obsession with tormenting the web-slinger and boosting his own ego in the process, and in an era where stalking is easier than ever before, that could have been an interesting angle.
But let’s try to find some joy in here. Venom’s edgelord roots are showing in a delightful fashion. The enterprise is taking itself very, VERY seriously, and since there aren’t any signs of anything resembling self-awareness or deliberate humor, it looks rather funny in all the wrong ways. It’s in little touches like Jenny Slate’s odd pronunciation of the word “symbiote”, that early 2000s motorcycle stunt to get on with whatever the kids think is cool, and, of course, Tom Hardy and his combo of hysterical voices. I have no idea what he’s trying to do, but he’s one of the best actors alive, so who am I to question?
This trailer finally reveals what Eddie Brock will look like in his alien version, and I gotta admit the design in and of itself is pretty neat in still form. But once he starts moving his mouth… I don’t know where to point my finger at, but there’s something goofy about the animation that takes away all the menace he’s supposed to convey. I guess he’ll join Scooby-Doo and The Cat in the Hat in the pantheon of cartoon characters that don’t work in live action no matter how hard you try.
Venom will get to theaters in October so that Avi Arad can keep trying to build a cinematic universe out of secondary Spider-Man characters with no Spider-Man in it. 1
- Remember that Aunt May: Super Spy movie?