Just when you feel like you’ve had your fill of superhero movie trailers for a while, Sony comes along and drops a brand new one for Venom. Suck it, Avenger: Infinity War, Deadpool 2, and Jessica Jones. In the arms race of superhero movie/TV show hype campaigns, your trailers are no longer the most recent. That honor belongs to Venom, Sony’s attempt to build its own cinematic universe even though they already have Spider-Man in…um…hold on.
What’s going on here, again? Is Tom Holland going to cameo in this thing or not? Or are they still taking all of their Spider-Man characters and building a universe around them without Spider-Man because, na nana nana, Marvel Studios?
Google, do you know?
Huh. And what’s going on with that mysterious animated movie, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,the one with Miles Morales in it?
Ok. Screw it. You do you, Sony.
On to the Venom teaser:
With this opening shot of what turns out to actually just be a picture in a hospital room, it’s almost like they’re saying, “Remember when Tom Hardy was in The Revenant? This…isn’t that movie!”
Movie Trailer Voice: From the company that probably won’t even be making movies anymore in a couple of years…
Movie Trailer Voice: And the producers who clearly liked California’s newly generous tax credits…
Movie Trailer Voice: Comes a movie where, for a change, we’re not going to cover Tom Hardy’s beautiful face the whole time.
Movie Trailer Voice: And co-stars a woman who’s probably going to have the answer the “Did you get paid as much Tom Hardy?” question for the rest of the year.
Movie Trailer Voice: We’ve got super sweet car stunts!
Movie Trailer Voice: And bad guys doing…something!
[Talks to producer ]That black goo’s the symbiote, right? It is? Cool. Let’s do the line again:
And bad guys who probably want to weaponize black goo!
Movie Trailer Voice: Go, Team Ventu…I mean, Venom!
Mulligan: The Movie. Due out October.
A bit too snarky on my part? Probably.
There’s nothing really wrong with the teaser, although who really thought it was a good idea to have Tom Hardy narrate the thing. Even when he’s not doing his Bane voice or Dunkirk voice, he’s still a bit of a marble-mouthed fella. Beyond that, there’s very little ingenuity here. It’s just a standard teaser with the same old Hans Zimmer-imitating music, quick shots of characters the comic book fans will recognize, and context-less shots of visually striking action beats. The boldest move they make is not revealing the actual Venom of it all or the villain (believed to be Carnage), which, really, kudos.
But have you seen the crazy shit Deadpool is up to in his trailers? Or the mastery of horror imagery in the New Mutants trailer? The Venom filmmakers have talked about looking to old John Carpenter and David Cronenberg movies for inspiration and how this is going to be “a horror film” with “more pop and fun.” There are certainly hints of Cronenberg body horror with Hardy in the hospital, and maybe, kinda, sorta Carpenter big-brother’s-out-to-get-ya action elsewhere. Yet I am left not completely sure what kind of movie this is going to be.
In truth, that’s not what inspired the snark, though. See, Spider-Man: Homecoming didn’t repair my trust in Sony; it merely re-confirmed Kevin Feige’s genius as the most prolific and populist movie producer of the modern era. With Venom, I’m all too aware that we’re back into 100% Sony territory without any outside assistance from the Marvel Studios people. So, as they were with the two Amazing Spider-Man movies Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach are back in charge, along with Amy Pascal. I don’t trust those two as producers anymore (Pascal’s a bit more hit and miss). In Ruben Fleischer, they hired a good (Zombieland), but not great (30 Minutes or Less, Gangster Squad) director. The casting department certainly deserves a pat on the back since in addition to Hardy and Michelle Williams as the leads they’ve also cast Riz Ahmed, Jenny Slate, and Reid Scott (Veep).
However, I’m going to need to see more to get excited for Venom. That the teaser didn’t completely turn me off the movie makes it at least somewhat successful, I guess. What do you think? Let me know in the comments.
Venom is due out October 5.