Despite the character of Venom being one of my all-time favourites in all of comic book history, my reaction to his solo outing back in 2018 was concerning at first. I went with the ‘so bad it’s good’ mindset which seemed to be a general consensus. But on a repeat viewing, I could not bring myself to classify Venom as even that.
The film stank of desperate and hasty screenwriting, an obvious clash of visions leading to massive tonal shifts and a performance from Tom Hardy so weird that I couldn’t help but feel second-hand embarrassment. The character of Venom has so much potential and an endless amount of possibilities for future films, which is what I want to look at here today.
Make it R-Rated
Fans were clamouring for Venom to be as violent and gory as possible even before the film came out. You can imagine the sigh of disappointment that echoed when the most brutal thing that happens in the entire film is Venom biting off somebody’s head in the cleanest possible manner with absolutely zero blood to show.
Venom is someone who can flit between a very funny and likeable symbiote to a cannibalistic, dumb brute with savage tendencies. The only thing standing in his way is his urge to not disappoint Eddie Brock. We’ve seen how much acclaim goes towards comic book films that adaptations like Logan and Deadpool, so why can’t Venom do the same?
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Get Carnage right
Carnage is considered to be Marvel’s equivalent to the Joker, with some going as far as saying Carnage is even more disturbing. The psychotic red symbiote has historically been associated with serial killer Cletus Kassidy. The pair of them forming the depraved, mass-murdering arch-rival of Venom.
Considering Carnage’s barbaric deeds over the years in the comics, it would be the biggest wasted opportunity if we received a watered-down cookie-cutter villain of the week. One who will be defeated at the climax and never seen again.
Even if this is a one-off appearance for Carnage, there is so much to do with him and with Woody Harrelson as Kassidy; we can expect a hammy, self-aware yet completely deranged psychopath.
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One of the things that Venom defenders praised years back was that they enjoyed the personality clash between Eddie and Venom as they literally bonded. On my rewatch, I found it too few and far between for fun moments between the pair and their friendship was forced a bit too quickly.
They don’t seem to like each other very much, but Venom inexplicably reveals that the reason he stayed on Earth was because of how he felt for Eddie… which just sounds like Stockholm Syndrome to me.
Regardless, the paths opening up in the Venom sequel are wide enough for even the most simple of alternative ideas. A buddy film where Eddie and Venom bounce off each other can lead to a plethora of humorous situations but I am also very keen on the two of them acting like a bickering couple. This could allow for the most mundane scenarios to be entertaining but also lend themselves to some pathos that could resolve in the films third act to great dramatic effect.
For anyone wondering where they can obtain a close-to-perfect representation of Venom, I cannot recommend the original Spider-Man game for the Playstation enough. Not only is it the greatest encapsulation of everything that is quintessentially Spider-Man (with the exception of Into the Spider-Verse), but this has perhaps the most entertaining and faithful portrayal of the hulking blue symbiote ever.
Not only is he intimidating as hell when he shows up early in the game as one of Spidey’s foes but when he and the webhead are forced to work together, Venom is absolutely hilarious. He comes out with some of the quirkiest lines you could imagine – his whole reckless, thuggish persona is so charming to watch. And his apparent longing to try and be a better hero than Spider-Man yet having no idea what makes a true hero is the height of endearing.
With the darker tone, this film should adopt with the inclusion of Carnage, it’s going to be important to maintain the humour that Venom is known for and I think looking at this game, in particular, can help the writers ensure that it isn’t bogged down in nihilism.
I am not part of the fanbase that is eager to see more iterations of Peter Parker, multiverse or not. Now, notice I said Peter Parker here – not Spider-Man.
I think a great addition to this universe would be possibly a set-up for Miles Morales to make his live-action debut in this universe, someone I think would make a great foil in Venom’s future.
If this is going to lead to a conclusive third chapter in Venom’s story, after Carnage there is only two real options as a final battle for him (not including celestial beings like the Symbiote God, Knull), those being Spider-Man and Toxin, an offspring of Carnage who is considered the most powerful natural symbiote of all.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage will be released on 24 September 2021.