Venom Trailer First Thoughts

Well, the teaser trailer came out recently and did not show us much.  However, yesterday, shortly after an image “leaked” and ran rampant across social media, we got the full first trailer for Sony’s upcoming take on godfather of symbiotes, Venom.  Let’s break it down:

  • Mysterious crash site, presumably an alien ship or an earth ship containing alien “samples”.
  • Writhing ooze in test tubes…yes, multiple symbiote samples, indicating right off the bat that our pal Venom is one of many.
  • Eddie’s one true love, played by Michelle Williams, is established as working for the “enemy”.  Ah, but she only works for the firm that works for the enemy…she’ll have an altruistic moment at some point in the movie, no doubt.
  • “You should be extremely afraid”…an ominous line from Eddie, followed by some symbiote action!  the black, gooey tendrils of the alien lash out from Eddie’s body making short work of the various henchmen.
  • Golden Gate Bridge…yes, the setting for this movie is San Francisco…oh, hey, that’s the setting for the Lethal Protector mini series from the 90’s…
  • Brock’s day job is now revealed…he’s an investigative reporter that asks the tough questions…
  • Uh oh…Brock is being followed by someone from the nefarious Life Foundation…oh, but it seems she is actually a whistle blower, and she needs Eddie’s help.
  • Yes…the Life Foundation has symbiotes…note the plural again…
  • Carlton Drake is the head of the Life Foundation, and looks to be one of the central antagonists for the film.  He is researching and developing the symbiotes, no doubt for financial gain.  But, something obviously goes horribly wrong with his less than ethical experiments…
  • Flash to some “volunteers” in obvious mental and physical discomfort, a minor side effect of being taken over by an alien life form.
  • Oh crap…one female escapes…and she doesn’t look friendly…
  • Brock is back home from his Life Foundation field trip, and he is feeling really sick.  Here is the start of the glorious partnership.
  • “Eddie…”…a voice inside Eddie’s head…it’s vile, it’s sinister, it’s…Venom!
  • Goons break into his apartment to retrieve the missing symbiote…bad move…they are early cannon fodder for the movie.
  • “Why would WE do that…”  ahhhh yeah, they got the plural form when speaking of themselves…Venom is not a single person, but a collaboration between symbiote and host.  They need each other to survive, and are a team…there is no I in team.
  • Eddie making a deal with his new friend…”you will only hurt bad people…”, but, who decides who is bad?
  • The alien counters, “The way I see it, WE can do whatever WE want”…Eddie is struggling to control the power inside of him.  No doubt this will be a continual power struggle throughout the movie.  Who is really in control?
  • Embrace your inner anti-hero…a tag line for the movie is flashed across the screen in between chase scenes, Eddie and Venom running for their lives…
  • Eddie going full Evel Knievel on a motorbike…but, no fear, the symbiote grabs the bike and pulls it back to him…erm, to them…and they are back on their way.  The CGI here looked a bit unrefined and cheesy, hopefully this is not the final look for the film.
  • “What the hell are you?”, asks a goon leaning over Eddie while he lays helplessly on the street…or is he/they really helpless?  He rises from the street, grabs the goon by the throat while the symbiote oozes up around his body and face and he politely answers the man’s question…”We…are VENOM!”…
  • We now get our first good look at the glorious combination of human and alien…all his teeth, a villainous smile, and out comes the tongue!  Scream random goon…scream!
  • And that’s it…we are reminded the movie comes out in October, but no official date yet.

There is a lot to like about this movie so far.  Tom Hardy is an excellent actor, and I think he will nail this role.  They got the plural self reference that Spider-Man 3 so ridiculously ignored.  The internal power struggle between human and alien, walking the line between good and bad, is going to be an obvious, ongoing theme.  The teeth, the tongue…it looks like Venom has a very comic inspired look.

But, there are many obvious questions here.  Who are the other symbiotes and how many will they try to cram into this movie?  Woody Harrelson is in the movie and presumably playing Cletus Kasady, whom we all know is the host for the Carnage symbiote…will he play a bigger role in the movie, or will he be set up for a future sequel?  Hopefully they do not try to shoehorn too much into this movie, and don’t try to squish the entire Carnage story into the final act (this would be Spider-Man 3 all over again).

The obvious missing link is, of course, Spider-Man.  For me, Venom is, and always will be, a Spider-Man villain.  And, not just any villain, we’re talking one of his (arguably) top 2 or 3 villains of all time, for many, THE top villain.  We all know that the alien symbiote’s first “true love” is Peter Parker, and after Parker shuns it, the symbiote then bonds with Brock.  Their mutual hatred for Parker is what drives them.  From its time spent bonding with Peter, not only does it develop its spider-like abilities, the symbiote also learns all of Peter’s secrets and feelings…and this is what truly makes him dangerous!  I always think back to one of my all time favourite Amazing Spider-Man issues, # 317, where Eddie shows up at Aunt May’s unannounced, revealing that he knows Peter’s secret identity.  The tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife!

Now, we don’t KNOW that Spider-Man won’t be in the movie, that is definitely true. There have been various rumors of Tom Holland appearing in the movie, but nothing confirmed as far as I know.  But, even if Tom is in the movie, I am not sure that the Homecoming version of Spider-Man (if you can even really call him that) is at the point in his character development where he could have already worn the symbiote…he hasn’t even swung through Manhattan yet, and we’re supposed to believe that he has already conquered the monumental struggle of the alien suit saga?  More importantly, Sony and Marvel are glossing over one of the greatest comic book stories of all time (in my humble opinion)?

So, even if Spider-Man IS in the movie, a mere reference is not enough, in my opinion.  Spider-Man MUST wear the symbiote first, as this is what gives the Brock/symbiote union one of its primary motivations and what makes him so lethal as a Spider-Man villain.  We can only wait to see how this major part of the origin story is addressed.

For me, Venom without Spider-Man is not really Venom…BUT, this does not mean the movie could not be enjoyable.  I could very well walk out of that theatre (yes, I will be there opening weekend) feeling entertained…but, if they miss out on the Spider-Man connection, Sony and Marvel are really missing out on an opportunity for telling one of Marvel’s greatest stories (and to correct the mistakes from Spider-Man 3).

For now…WE wait for the next trailer to reveal more…




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