Sony's... Surprisingly Well-Conceived VENOM Films

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Harbinger O Great Justice
AKA
X
#76
So, I'm holding off on reading the full review until I see the film tomorrow night, but just the title and intro-summary of this makes me feel like I'm gonna get EXACTLY what I want out of this film: Venom Is a Surprisingly Solid Action Movie That Just Wants to Show You a Good Time
Venom strikes an imperfect balance between two extremes—sticking too close to, or straying too far from, Marvel’s source material. And that’s a testament to Sony’s belief that audiences are going to want to watch a charmingly-disheveled Tom Hardy murder and eat people in the name of twisted justice in this movie and any potential sequels.
Yes. That is, in fact, exactly what I want and expect from this film.




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Carlie

CltrAltDelicious
AKA
Chloe Frazer
#78
Is currently sitting at a 30% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Some people are comparing it to Catwoman and the last Fantastic Four movie which I find ridiculous especially since Catwoman along with Elektra killed the female superhero genre for more than a decade. Consensus so far is that the movie is meh which is better than the trainwreck we all thought it would be when Sony announced they were doing it.
 

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Harbinger O Great Justice
AKA
X
#79
SO! I just saw it~

I read the review that I posted the summary of above, and that was absolutely the right way to go into the film. In the article, one of the author's comments to talking about the film's mixed reviews from viewers is spot on:

The movie’s all over the place and, I feel like, depending on what kind of mood you go into the theater plays a big part of how you receive the film because there’s plenty to love and just as much to be disappointed by.
Enjoying Venom is absolutely VERY much about how you feel about it going into the movie. I feel like Venom fans will unabashedly love it, and people who aren't super into the character will probably have some mixed opinions on it, and critics won't really dig it. (EDIT: Yup, Rotten Tomatoes now shows 30% for critics – but an 88% for the audience score. No surprises there whatsoever).

Here's what I'd recommend to have the best time with the film:

The Into the SpiderVerse scene that plays as the full aftercredit literally starts with the text, "meanwhile in a different universe" so it's really easy to think of this as being the Venom story that's JUST about Venom. The regular comic book versions've happened in a universe somewhere, and even the Spider-Man 3 version happened in another universe (especially given the flashbacks we see from the Peter Parker in the latest trailer). What that means is that you should really be looking for this version of the story, to focus the ENTIRE scenario on the relationship between Eddie & the Symbiote on the two of them meeting and learning to become Venom as his own sort-of-hero.

Unquestionably, the best parts are when Tom Hardy just gets to play off of the situation between his two selves, and them learning to be Venom, and just watching the fun and just embracing it in action and in just normal interactions – and I absolutely loved every moment of that stuff ta bits. Given that those things are my favourite things about the Venom comics – it was just everything I was hoping for.

I definitely could've been let down depending on what I was looking for, but with the right expectations, I'm just sitting here thinking about how much damn fun it was.

So, this film does set up its adaptation from Lethal Protector & Planet of the Symbiotes. They didn't use everything, and there's plenty of room for more growth and understanding on their relationship in the future, but they did plenty of good things to make the origin feel original and also memorable.

In this, we start with the LIFE Foundation collecting the Symbiotes from a comet somewhere out in space, and the ship crashes on return, setting of the them loose (slowly making its way back to the LIFE Foundation), and the rest of them are recovered and brought back to SF. When we meet Eddie, he's a successful investigative reporter, and you get hints of something happening in New York, and Eddie moving to SF to be there with his fiancée Anne and start over there together. She's looking into a legal case with the LIFE foundation, and he gets called to do an interview about the ship crash. Eddie can't give up the opportunity to grill the Elon Musk-type Carlton Drake about being shady. He ends up snooping on her laptop about the legal case, and using it to grill Carlton Drake about the fact that he's been testing pharmaceuticals on poor people. The interview gets cut off, and he gets kicked out and fired from his job, Anne gets fired since the information leaked from her, and she leaves him.

Six months go by, and Eddie's on his own and kind of a wreck just getting by miserably, and seeing people in shitty situations and still trying to be kind to people he interacts with while holding his shit together: being kind to some homeless lady he sees regularly (a nod to the homeless story in Lethal Protector), and his chats with Mrs. Chen about his life, while she keeps getting pressed for protection money from some local gangsters, and just generally not knowing what to do with himself. The LIFE Foundation is testing with the Symbiotes because Carlton Drake wants to use them as a way to make it so that people can survive on another world, and has ramped up to doing tests on people he's been taking off the street. The host/symbiote pairs can rejected like organ transplants, and outright kill the hosts, whereas others slowly waste once they're bonded. One of his head scientists isn't comfortable with what they're doing, she finds and tries to convince Eddie to investigate. He tells her that doing that literally ruined his life and he's not interested. He wanders by his ex's place and she's dating a surgeon, and gets to the point where he is hitting a low with nothing to lose and goes for it.

In the lab, he's seeing the people wasting away as the scientist keeps one of the guards busy. As he's looking, the homeless lady he knows recognizes him and panics, desperately trying to get out. He tries to help break her out and sets off alarms. Her symbiote transfers to him, and she dies, and he panics and runs. From there there's a TON of fun with Eddie slowly learning what's happening to him, while having occasional powers & strange impulses. When it first says, "Eddie" while he's looking into the mirror, he screams, stumbles back and falls into a bathtub, and knocks himself unconscious. He's panicking over having evidence of LIFE Foundation killing people, being infected with something, and possibly going crazy. THIS is the part of the film where you can tell that Tom Hardy had an absolute fucking field day. It's lots of him in varying levels of comfort and panic, and figuring out what the situation he's in is. He tries to get his evidence to his ex, and her surgeon boyfriend ends up checking Eddie out (eventually discovering that he's suffering from organ failure, as the film uses the fact that the Symbiote has to occasionally eat living things to keep its host alive).

Watching Eddie and Venom going through fighting with each other, to learning how to work together, and then going full-blown Venom is just goddamn excellent. It's fun, the actions good, they manage humor, and moments like him genuinely panicking as Venom bites someone's head off where you see their morals butting heads. This was the part of the film I was most looking forward to was the dynamic between the two of them, and that stuff is absolutely everything that I wanted and more. Like in Planet of the Symbiotes, you eventually learn that Riot's planning an invasion and takes Carlton Drake as a host, to be able to use his rocket to go get more symbiotes and stage an invasion, while Eddie has a bit of a crisis with the Symbiote when he finds out about his progressive organ failure. Eventually they get back together and you find out that Venom's kind of an outcast and a loser like Eddie and he likes being with Eddie and living here where he's not an outcast. They have the big battle with Riot as he attempts to escape – where it becomes clear JUST how much more capable and dangerous some of the other Symbiotes are compared to Venom and why he'd be able to feel like a hero here on Earth, but not among his own kind. After their victory, Venom seems to've succumbed to the flames of the explosion, burning off of Eddie and wishing him goodbye. Later, Eddie's chatting with his ex about getting a new job, and moving on with his life. Venom has a nice little comeback reveal at the end with some surprise lines in Eddie's head. We see Stan Lee telling both of them not to give up, and Eddie and Venom establish the rules of not being able to hurt good people, and needing to learn how to tell what bad people were and that SOMETIMES he can eat bad people – cue the scene of the guy trying to rob Mrs. Chen, and Venom getting to chow down on another bad guy.

Our aftercredit is Eddie interviewing Cletus Kasady, making the setup for Venom Vs. Carnage as the clear place they want to go next, and dear gods it would be the literal best if they get to do it.

Really, I just want it to do well enough to get a sequel SO BADLY. They've got enough established to have a ton of fun, and with what they have in place, they could have an absolute FIELD DAY. If they let Tom Hardy keep doing what he did with the solid dialogue between his two selves, and just ramp up the action into more full-blow superhero sequel territory (like it obviously wants to), I'd just be endlessly pleased.

Also, there's a full few minutes of Into the Spider-Verse after all the credits, and it's clear that that film is gonna be absolutely fucking spectacular.





X:neo:
 
#80
It is a movie that doesn't take itself seriously, and I think has a particular audience. Once I viewed it from that context, and suspended a significant amount of belief, it was not too bad. Then it just has the average things I dislike about movies these days:
Forgettable car chase scenes, shitty cgi fight scenes (granted, I did like the fight in his apartment), dazzling fight scenes at night that are visually hard to follow.
However, quite watchable. 3.4/5 stars.
 

Kuja9001

Ooooh Salty!
AKA
roxas9001, Krat0s9001, DarkSlayerZero
#83
Saw the film the other day. Venom is definitely better than his SM3 incarnation, film should've been rated R for the full experience. I'd give it a solid B ish for now.

I'm not sure how they're going to do the
Carnage
stuff without Spider-Man.
 

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Harbinger O Great Justice
AKA
X
#85

On comparisons to Upgrade:
I've heard some people talk about Upgrade as being like what they wanted from Venom, and while I understand where that's coming from, I think that it's also missing a lot of the point of Venom by doing so. Upgrade has Logan Marshal-Green (who I've seen referred to as "budget Tom Hardy"), and it's got an exterior entity that controls his body who he can converse with, and there's a lot of well-choreographed and extremely violent action. If you're looking for the R-Rated, two entities in a single body film, that's the one for you. Venom has a little bit of that, but where it deviates from Upgrade are some of the things that I think are most important in Venom's story as a character.

On the lack of Spider-Man:
Venom is a terrifying Spider-Man villain because of being immune to the spider sense, and being a bigger, meaner, stronger, and singularly-hell-bent on Spidey's destruction. He's a literal dark foil to the friendly neighborhood web-slinger in almost every day. That being said, I've been going back and reading a bunch of Venom & Carnage comics to look at where the story could go next, and the more I read, the more I find that the time where Eddie & the Symbiote are singularly focused on bringing out the worst in each other is abysmally boring and one-note. As much as it seems controversial to say, taking Venom far away from Spider-Man is always what's made him a more worthwhile character, and the comics lately seem to understand that particularly well – Lethal Protector and Planet of the Symbiotes being really good places to draw from to define Venom, rather that his technical comic book origin story (although there was a brand new Black Suit Spider-Man comic recently that told a story that helped establish who the Symbiote was when acting on its own that was really damn good).

More and more, the visual similarities that the Klyntar (Symbiotes) have to Spider-Man is depicted as being largely coincidental, with their eyes always having the similar look, even in hosts long before Spider-Man and on different individuals as well. That visual coincidence was especially pushed really strongly with the recent introduction of Knull's draconic chest symbol having strong similarities to the Venom spider. It all seems to be moving Venom more and more towards Venom being someone whose identity is most heavily centered on the relationship between the Venom Symbiote and its host. Surprisingly, the film being forced to build that relationship without Spider-Man at all, pushed it more into a place where the development and struggles it portrays feel like they're more closely connected to the current comics – especially ever since Venom came back to Eddie, and they've struggled to rebuild their relationship / identity. As such, they give a lot more of the Venom fans of the character really like, rather than the villain version he started out as.

The dichotomy and crossover between the two of them itself has been the thing that kept Venom in his struggles in the spectrum of anti-hero to hero. Over time, we've also gotten a look in to the Venom symbiote itself and the motivations that it has, and how it struggles. We've seen it connected to a proper hero like Flash where the Symbiote gets reconnected to the hive to help with its mental distresses, and they bash around as Venom: Space Knight after their time joined with the Guardians of the Galaxy. After that, we see it injured and subjugated by a crazed, power-hungry murderer, before it gets back to Eddie. That, and the current run have focused REALLY heavily in getting to learn who the Symbiote itself is, and what kind of being it is at its core. It's been capable of manifesting independently for stretches of time, and showing who it is apart from a host. It's also been pushing really hard in showing that Eddie and his Other function like a slightly toxic, codependent relationship: They occasionally bring out darker aspects of one another, but in doing so, they're also forced to address those things, and end up being better to each other and those around them as a result. Most recently in the comics
after killing Knull by trapping him in a blast furnace, the Symbiote is so injured that it's lost the ability to speak and needs help, while Eddie's been totally unconscious while being Venom, and it seems like they're in for a WORLD of pain as they just learned that Flash is dead (killed by Carnage in ASM #800).

On the Symbiote & Eddie's relationship:
Seeing them as in a relationship is also something that the film seems to establish rather delicately.
While they don't yet do anything as overt as referring to each other as "love" when we see Anne as She-Venom, she kisses Eddie to give the Symbiote back, and when asked about it she says, "That was your friend's idea." which manages to play delicately with the balance that the Symbiote likes Anne and wants to help make Eddie happy, but also implying that the relationship it has with Eddie is closer than just an alien and his bro. Doing all of that is important for a few reasons: First and foremost – Carnage is their child, and selling that relationship and how they see it is important. The film did well establishing that Venom is "kind of a loser" like Eddie, and we see that when they fight Riot, and Riot has the ability to form an arsenal of weapons that Venom's incapable of. Venom's always more bulky and liquid, whereas even Carnage is capable of hardening and forming an arsenal of weaponry.

Given that they've teased Carnage, and loosely mention the incident with the Globe back in New York makes me fairly certain that they're gonna be focused on a couple specific storylines. Given that we're gonna be dealing with violent murderers, I'm betting that we'll be seeing Sin-Eater & Carnage since they're both murderers more violent than Eddie, and provide a good foil to Eddie's protection of innocents. Additionally, both of those stories have threads that can connect to difficulties that will force Eddie to choose between his relationship with Anne, and his relationship with his Other. The first film did BRILLIANTLY in how it avoided portrayals of toxic masculinity in a positive way (something that villainous Venom did a lot), and how you really understand that Eddie learning to let go of Anne is gonna be important for him, and doing that is gonna free him, as well as really wrap up his identity with the Symbiote.

Both Sin-Eater and Carnage are parts of Eddie's life that are gonna bleed over and potentially hurt Anne (and her awesome new boyfriend Dr. Dan) if he stays, which means that if they address them, they'd also free up Venom to be able to do anything, anywhere without leaving something necessary behind – which is important if Sony wants to use him as a big character elsewhere in their films. Obviously this is largely speculative based off of small clues that they've laid out, but it seems like somewhere that they've pushing things, and you get looks from them when things about their relationship is brought up.


There're about a million more things that I could go off about, but if anyone has questions or whatnot, I'd be happy to address them, rather than just do too much more random gushing, unless you find it genuinely interesting.




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The Twilight Mexican

Ex-SeeD-ingly good
AKA
TresDias
#86
As far as taking him away from Spidey goes, not that the origin of the symbiote necessarily needs him (it doesn't), and not that Eddie and the symbiote need him to highlight their relationship (they don't) -- what is lost when Venom is removed from the same landscape as Spider-Man is the metric by which we can measure how much he actually changes. Without that, the full scope of the arc of the original can never really be portrayed.
 

X-SOLDIER

Harbinger O Great Justice
AKA
X
#87
As far as taking him away from Spidey goes, not that the origin of the symbiote necessarily needs him (it doesn't), and not that Eddie and the symbiote need him to highlight their relationship (they don't) -- what is lost when Venom is removed from the same landscape as Spider-Man is the metric by which we can measure how much he actually changes. Without that, the full scope of the arc of the original can never really be portrayed.
I'll definitely give you that. I feel like Planet of the Symbiotes and how this film used that inspiration attempted to portray the differences the way that it did with Venom post-Spider-Man, which is by juxtaposing the Venom Symbiote against others of its own kind, and showing it as being a bit of an outcast by comparison to the others' disregard for their hosts and extremely violent tendencies. You're right in that it DEFINITELY doesn't serve as an arc for Venom himself in going from a REALLY dark place to somewhere much less-maladjusted.

Interestingly, I feel that the way the film has been presented leaves an interesting opportunity for achieving that, though:

Eddie's already shown to be selfish and a little protectively possessive in ways that can be overbearing & ruined his engagement and most of his life. We also know that if he gets separated from Venom, the Symbiote still cares about getting back to him, but is ok with using other hosts to get there. Assuming that they DO get the crossover with Spider-Man, they can have it where Eddie and his other get split up, and it bonds with Spidey as a way to keep trying to be a hero. Spidey being completely not ok with Venom's more violent tendencies when he discovers them, and church-belling it off would leave it feeling hurt and betrayed, and you could still have Eddie find it during their moment of weakness – The symbiote's injury and Eddie being left completely alone with nothing else to live for. That'd use the fact that Eddie's VERY protective over his Other when they reunite as fuel for being VIOLENTLY and obsessively vengeful against Spider-Man for it.

Assuming that the film between still deals with Carnage and needing to give up on Anne for good and leaving him with only the Symbiote in his life, it'd be a REALLY easy place to push Eddie. It'd be able to get the important parts in place without needing to fuel a Peter & Eddie-specific feud, since it's likely that the Sin-Eater storyline'd already be accounted for. Also, the important Spidey-centric-dark-rival bits of Venom knowing Peter's identity and being immune to his Spider Sense are powers established from the Symbiote's bond. That'd let them push Venom to an even darker place than he'd been before, but also need him to overcome his own slowly growing anger and rage to avoid becoming a full-blown villain.

It'd also let them show what being a hero means to the both of them, how they're different, and what keeps Venom from ever properly being like Spider-Man, and potentially once everything gets sorted out, even gives a reason for Venom to adopt the Spider symbol on his chest from that point on as a sort of a reminder to what it means for him PERSONALLY to go too far.




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X-SOLDIER

Harbinger O Great Justice
AKA
X
#89
I can see potential in something like that. Maybe you need to write it.
Hopefully they're already thinking along the same lines since...
They directly teased Carnage for the next one and have planted hints about Sin-Eater (the reference to the NY incident, and the use of She-Venom) so it seems like that is pretty much locked in for the next film. Additionally, Tom Hardy is currently signed on for 3 films, and the director has said in interviews that they'd want to ultimately build up to a confrontation with Spider-Man if possible:

"I think we laid the groundwork in this film for a pretty fun match-up in the future so I think that'll be a really exciting story to explore, but I'd be lying if I didn't say I'd love to see him face-off against Spider-Man at some point," Fleischer told ScreenRant. "It feels like that's inevitable and I know that Tom Holland's excited about it, and I know that Tom Hardy's excited about it so it's just a question of when and where, I guess. That seems like the natural evolution."
(Also, if you got that as the final film, you'd also squash all of the criticisms around not doing the proper origin story to start out with, and show why there was merit doing it the other way 'round, which'd be the best way to get as many people on board as possible for it).

But I'm really glad that I'm not the only one who feels like going about it that way would do a really good job of serving the character properly, especially since I significantly value your opinions on all the comics-related whatnots, Tres. :monster:





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X-SOLDIER

Harbinger O Great Justice
AKA
X
#90
So, Venom's now passed $500m, and is about to open in China. In terms of it's budget-to-gross, it's doing exceptionally well.

Also, with Silver & Black coming out next, likely followed by Morbius it feels almost like a foregone conclusion that they're gonna try to go for an adaptation of Maximum Carnage in one way or another. Depending on how successful the other two films are, it could be done as a standalone film, or if they don't find success it might be done as something like Venom 2 with cameos.




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looneymoon

hedgehog pandacat
AKA
Rishi
#91
I saw on tuesday. I was really stoned and had low expectations, so I had a pretty good time, despite it being super forgettable.

It's definitely really campy and silly. I bothered a bunch of people who were trying to have a very serious viewing experience because I couldn't stop giggling. The symbiotes looked silly, and everything that came out of Venom's mouth was comedy gold. Especially for someone who spent the entire time pigging out on popcorn and chocolate.
 

X-SOLDIER

Harbinger O Great Justice
AKA
X
#93
So, Venom is still a ways behind Spider-Man Homecoming's and miles short of Black Panther's total gross, it's looking like it's very likely to make more money internationally than any other superhero origin film, thanks to China, Socialist Venom, and Sony very much understanding what their audience wants, so they also released an official rom-com trailer for the Venom BluRay.



I just... They're absolutely KILLING it with the marketing for this film. If the (now-basically-guaranteed) sequel manages to be a stronger film, where this one wasn't, I don't think that anything will possibly stop it from being an even more utterly mind-shatteringly massive success.

As such, I think that we split out Sony's other "still-questionably-conceived" Morbius, Black Cat, etc. films into their own threads when there's more information on them, since this definitely deserves to stand on its own.





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The Twilight Mexican

Ex-SeeD-ingly good
AKA
TresDias
#94
So long as the Morbius, Black Cat, etc. movies retain the "questionably-conceived" label, I have no objection. :monster:

While impossible to argue with the success of "Venom," it remains to be seen if that will transfer into a successful cinematic universe.
 

X-SOLDIER

Harbinger O Great Justice
AKA
X
#95
Oh, absolutely. There's currently no reason to assume that those have the strength, direction, or appeal to be successful on their own. Even if they were objectively better than Venom was as films, they don't have the built-in fanbase to pull that audience. It'll be interesting to see if they're gonna try to use Venom as the things to linchpin a cinematic universe together, or if they're gonna let them live or die on their own, and only combine them if they work well.

Until then, they all DEFINITELY deserve the "questionably-conceived" titles.

The potential for the Maximum Carnage storyline is the only thing that makes me feel like the other films might use Venom the way that the earlier MCU films used Iron Man. I think to a bunch of executives, they probably all just seemed like misc villains they had rights to. Ultimately it'll come down to if they manage to get someone like Feige over a cinematic universe who can make it work coherently, and understand how to take less known characters and use their strengths to bring them into the spotlight of the general public.

On the other end, they could just full-on commit to the Spider-Verse of doing absolutely whatever the fuck they want wherever, and only teaming up who they want, whenever they want. After 1-2 animated films, I think that they'll've established that solidly enough to make use of it, especially the way that they had the Into the Spider-Verse scene as an aftercredit taking place in another Universe to suggest a connection – they could use that to tease other films, and also imply loose connections for all their movies. I still think that this seems like the safer and more versatile option, but who knows – it's all very questionably-conceived from what we know of it.




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X-SOLDIER

Harbinger O Great Justice
AKA
X
#99
Update: In addition to Andy Serkis, there's also Travis Knight (Bumblebee) & Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes)
https://deadline.com/2019/07/venom-...s-travis-knight-rupert-wyatt-more-1202655085/

I would be beyond thrilled with any of them tbh, because I think that they're all skilled enough to fix the weak points with the original film to REALLY make the sequel as spectacular as it could possibly be.



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