After Batman, it would be hard for anyone to say that Spider-Man does not have the best rogues gallery in comics. From Doc Ock to the Goblin just about every Foe of Spider-Man is worth some time up on the big screen. Now one of our favourite Spider-villains is returning to for Sony’s new Spider-Verse with Venom.
A huge fan favourite of anyone who read the comics Venom is effectively the Anti-Spider-Man, the Crimson Dynamo to Iron Man, Bizarro to Superman or Professor Zoom to the Flash. This black pool of goo was initially introduced into the comics when Spidey, as part of the Secret Wars with Nick Fury, found what he thought was a new suit that would slide on and off at will (saving a lot of time changing into the Red, Black and Blue under-roos we all know and love).
It wasn’t until returning to earth that Spidey learnt that the suit was an Alien lifeform, a Symbiote, looking to bond permanently with him. After managing to get the creature off of him, it sought out someone who shared it’s hatred of Spider-Man/Peter Parker and found a recently fired reporter for the New York Daily Globe – Eddie Brock becoming Venom. At least that’s how it happens in the comics; we choose to ignore the Topher Grace Venom from Spider-Man 3.
Loosely following the same path, but an origin story mixed in with the Venom Lethal Protector mini-series, the film sees symbiotes being brought to earth by the Life Foundation (big bad corporation in the comics, think doomsday preppers for the ultrawealthy with their own giant robot – Trisentinel). The Life Foundation CEO Carlton Drake with his SpaceX like company seeking to use the Symbiotes to further his goal of leaving our climate change affected planet.
While in the comics the Symbiote joins with Brock over a mutual hatred of Spider-Man the absence of Spidey does change the character quite a bit. As Brock and the Symbiote become intertwined when Eddie is investigating the Life Foundation. It’s really once the Symbiote joins Eddie that things really start to happen with some of the best banter and dialogue of the movie happening between Eddie and ‘Venom’. That alone might even have us put Venom in our top 5 Spider-movies because of it.
The big question you might have is, is Venom part of the MCU? And after watching we are going to rule on the side of…. no. We might call Venom MCU adjacent at this point. While there are a few references to a common universe with Spidey like an Astronaut named Jameson (in the comics Jonah J. Jameson son is an astronaut) Venom has too many commonalities with our world than the MCU. Small details from being set in San Fransico, the location of Pym Technologies HQ, the Life Foundation being modelled after SpaceX (when we already know Elon Musk is MCU cannon from Iron Man 2), even the call out to Apple instead of say an Oscorp or Stark Industries phone just make us think it is separate. While this could change in future movies right now, this is where we stand.
So should you go see it? While Venom is not without its faults (that “Turd in the Wind” bit might just have overtaken “do you know what happens when a Toad gets hit by lightning”), we could happily watch an entire movie of nothing but Eddie/Venom banter. An R rated edition was easily possible, and may still happen with 40 minutes worth of dialogue being cut, the movie being toned down for wider audiences does not lose anything (except maybe some blood splatter). If you love Venom from the comics, you will definitely be seeing this and hoping for a sequel where they add the big white Spider to the costume.
Venom is in cinemas across Australia from today.