“Venom,” released on Oct. 5, gives Marvel Comics fans a new perspective on the horrifying union between Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) and a tar-like alien life form called a Symbiote.
“Venom” has accumulating a worldwide gross of over $463 million and remaining in the top three at the box office since its release (according to boxofficemojo.com).
The film has sparked conversation within the Marvel community about the artistic liberty which director Ruben Fleischer has taken in deviating from the supervillain’s comic book origins.
Fleischer, in conjunction with Sony Pictures, first teased details about the movie at Comic-Con Experience 2017 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
He revealed that the film would primarily draw inspiration from two comic book runs: “Lethal Protector” and “Planet of the Symbiotes.”
“Venom: Lethal Protector” is described by collider.com as a six-issue comic series published in 1993 which establishes Eddie Brock’s origin story as well as Venom’s connection to Spider-Man.
In the series, the alien life form initially bonds with Spider-Man but is rejected by him once discovered to be a living organism rather than a simple, new super suit.
Because Symbiotes tend to form emotional attachments to their hosts, Venom resents Spider-Man, and this scorn begins his journey as a widely recognized adversary to the hero.
The Symbiote subsequently feels drawn to Eddie Brock, a down-and-out journalist who also harbors a grudge against Spider-Man.
Bonded through mutual hatred and adrenaline, the two join their physical forms and minds to become Venom.
In contrast to the comics, the film does not feature Spider-Man at all, and it subsequently bypasses that aspect of the traditional Venom origin story.
The absence of the hero may be due to the growing indicators that Marvel is adopting a multiverse approach with their movies, and keeping Spider-Man out of the Venom timeline could open both individual plots to greater possibilities.
Another theory behind Spider-Man’s erasure from the plot is that Sony Pictures wanted the freedom to make a darker movie without attracting an unsuitably young audience.
The PG-13 movie is steeped in body horror, and the union of man and Symbiote resembles a possession or werewolf-like transformation.
Throughout Venom’s comic book appearances, the character shifts between villain and anti-hero status as he alternately battles against and with Spider-Man.
In the movie, this anti-hero status is established as Eddie Brock struggles to curb Venom’s appetite for living tissue and eventually compromises on only consuming evil people.
Venom is additionally situated in a hero position when he fights against Riot, a fusion of another Symbiote and Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), in an attempt to save the planet against the nefarious plot of Drake and his company, the Life Foundation.
Ultimately, the moral character of Venom and Eddie Brock is left undetermined, and any subsequent films could easily transform the characters into a villain or an unlikely hero.
Viewers are left to draw their own conclusions about the implications of Venom’s violence against the antagonists of the film.
The presence of the rival Symbiote, Riot, indicates other Symbiotic villains could be incorporated into later installments of a series.
In true Marvel fashion, an extra scene after the credits end reveals the presence of yet another Symbiote — Carnage (Woody Harrelson).
The inspiration for a follow-up Venom versus Carnage movie is massive, and one major source would be the four-part comic series, “Spider Man: Venom vs. Carnage.”
Personally, I’m not usually a big super-hero movie buff – however, I really enjoyed “Venom,” as did my roommate (who IS big into the superhero genre).
I really enjoyed the lack of Spider-Man in the movie because it felt like it allowed the characters to breathe and develop on their own without having to live up to the shadow of such a big and well-known hero.
The movie was fun and really easy to follow, even if you didn’t have a whole lot of background knowledge going in.