My personal biases keep me from being able to enjoy these trailers for the new Spider-Man (without actually having Spider-Man) villain stand-alone movie, “Venom.” First of all, Sony Pictures comes off to me as one of the biggest production companies to not know what the hell they are doing when it comes to producing. Films like “Ghostbusters” and the last run of “Spider-Man” movies before Marvel Studios took over, not mention they employed Adam Sandler for oh so many years. Now, they showed some smarts by allowing Marvel Studios to helm Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), but why not just take it a step further and let producer Kevin Feige take the helm of all the Spider-Man characters? Because Sony wants to cash in. And it appears that even Marvel Studios have pushed them aside, with a card in the latest “Venom” trailer reading “In Association with Marvel,” meaning this character originated from the Marvel comics, but this has no bearing on the MCU and is not sanctioned by the genius that is Feige.
Another bias I have is that Spider-Man and his universe has always been my favorite when it comes to the superheroes. It’s the only one I really followed as a kid and it’s the one I know the most about. So watching Sony screw up these films is hard to watch. I’ll give them credit for Sam Raimi’s”Spider-Man 2″ which was a perfect storm, but “Spider-Man 3” remains one of the worst films I have ever seen, not just as far as superhero films go, but just in general. And “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” showed that they really did not learn from any of their mistakes. Why not put these characters in the hands of people who obviously know what they are doing and can bring these characters to justice? As with “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” Sony was still making money off that deal and I assume they make money every time Spider-Man is in an MCU movie. “Venom” is not going to be a box office monster like “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War.” It will never happen for Sony like it has for Marvel and they simply need to come to terms with that. To me, you put a Sony label on almost anything and I’m going to be turned off by it immediately.
The trailer for “Venom” looks uninspired. There’s no originality. The characters feel stale, especially Tom Hardy, who, if not pushed to do something special, will drag his feet, it seems. I can’t think of a bad performance from Riz Ahmed, but his villain role here looks like a caricature. He does not stack up against absolutely any of the villains that the MCU has presented us. Michelle Williams and Jenny Slate both look wrongfully cast. Plus, the visual effects look dismal and the voice they’ve given to Venom, which I assume is Hardy’s voice but effected, is laughable. This is the man that gave the iconic voice to Bane in “The Dark Knight Rises,” and although that vocal performances had its flaws, it was terrifying and memorable. This one feels hokey.
The biggest problem I can’t get around, as a Spider-Man fan, is the fact that in most of the iterations of the comics, Venom is basically born of Spider-Man. The symbiote mimics the appearance of Spider-Man’s suit. If Spider-Man has absolutely no connection to this film, then why, god, why does Venom in this film look like a version of Spider-Man? I could not have rolled my eyes any bigger when rumors came out that Tom Holland’s Spider-Man would have a cameo in the film. This reeked of Sony trying to capitalize on the success that Marvel Studios had with the character. Kevin Feige has openly denied its connection to the MCU while Sony has been trying to play stupidly coy about it, as to not drive away potential viewers. But we’re not stupid. And if by some miracle Holland is in it, I feel absolutely terrible for him and the MCU and as much as I love Feige’s work, I hope it somehow has some negative effects, because I just want Sony to finally realize these amazing villain characters deserve better than they have to offer and relinquish them to Marvel Studios for good.
However, I must give them credit where credit is due, the poster for the film does inspire confidence. Unfortunately, that is literally the only thing that does.
Synopsis: One of Marvel’s most enigmatic, complex and badass characters comes to the big screen, starring Academy Award® nominated actor Tom Hardy as the lethal protector Venom.
Starring: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Jenny Slate, Scott Haze, and Reid Scott.
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Release Date: October 5, 2018
Studio: Columbia Pictures & Sony Pictures Releasing