“See we didn’t forget to put Venom in the movie!”

That was Tom Rothman’s defiant boast from the stage of Sony’s CinemaCon presentation in Las Vegas. A couple months back his film studio put out a Venom teaser which was bereft of any actual shots of the titular anti-hero. This time around, the new trailer saves that particular reveal for the money shot.

There you go. Now we’ve all seen what Venom is going to look like in this movie. It’s at least a more convincing look than what Sam Raimi’s team ran with for Spider-Man 3. So, there’s that.

All cards on the table: I’ve never read any Venom comic books. I only know him from kids cartoons and, obviously, Spider-Man 3. He means next to nothing to me as a character.

So, I’m actually more intrigued to finally see Jenny Slate and even more of Michelle Williams, both of whom have more than earned the right to have a bit of fun in a movie like this. Plus, at this stage comic book movies, at least those not made by Marvel Studios, really need to work extra hard to give us something we haven’t seen before. A modified body possession angle where Tom Hardy (playing clearly terrible reporter Eddie Brock) is fully conscious, can hear Venom in his head, but seems to have no control over what Venom actually does ticks a certain “I haven’t seen that before” box.

To be fair, Young Justice did something similar with Blue Beetle, and the shots of Venom spouting out of Eddie’s body to either attack or cushion a fall vaguely reminds me of Spawn‘s cape and chains having a mind of their own. But those are both examples from animated TV shows. Live action, however, well congrats, Venom. You’re doing something kind of new. Granted, there’s also JARVIS always talking in Tony Stark’s ear, but that’s not really the same as what Venom is doing. So, good of them.

As for the rest of the movie, meh. Evil corporation has symbiotes. Reporter botches a gotcha move during an interview and gets infected. Strange shit happens. Early 2000s action movie chase scenes ensue. Not one but two oddly time-filling establishing shots of the city. Lots of night scenes because the special effects were probably easier to pull off that way. Tom Hardy doing his best but maybe reminding us why Nolan likes to hide him behind masks.

Ultimately, I am more intrigued than I was after the teaser. At least they’re taking a big swing with Tom Hardy talking to the Venom voice in his head, even tempting fate by staging one such scene with him walking down a crowded city sidewalk (maybe he’ll pass an emo dancing Peter Parker). But there’s still a certain “blah” quality to this film. It doesn’t look bad, necessarily. It more looks entirely disposable.

What do you think? Am I underselling it? Or perhaps overestimating the novelty of putting an anti-hero’s voice inside Tom Hardy’s head? Let me know in the comments.

Venom is due Oct. 5.

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Posted by Kelly Konda

Grew up obsessing over movies and TV shows. Worked in a video store. Minored in film at college because my college didn't offer a film major. Worked in academia for a while. Have been freelance writing and running this blog since 2013.

7 Comments

  1. It looks fine but I’m probably not going to bother to see it at the cinema. On a positive note, at least it doesn’t reveal too much… but I can’t imagine the third act will be that surprising (I’m guessing Brock/Venom murders everyone at the science lab and blows it up.)

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  2. I have to admit, that is the first time, I have felt a spark of interest…not because they showed off Venom, but because Tom Hardy really sells his desperation. I am still not that optimistic about the movie overall.

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  3. Well, what I got out of that video was:
    Hey! It’s Ruiz Ahmed! &
    Ewww! That’s disgusting!
    I’ll probably go see it. It looks like a typical horror movie, and I don’t know enough about Venom for that information to get in the way of my enjoyment. (I’ve read maybe three or four graphic novels about Venom.)

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  4. This looks really dark which isn’t a great move if Sony wants to do a deal with Marvel to pit Venom against spiderman in the future. Love Tom Hardy but surely he is miscast here. I mean he is beyond Tobey Maguire old or even Mark Hammond old. Hoped they would get a kid like Marvel did for Spidey. Maybe I should stop comparing but surely Sony want to capitalise on the success of the spidey franchise rather than go complete solo. Too bad they didn’t link the film “Life” to this film the same way split links to unbreakable. Sony why do you keep missing these great ideas. BTW I have read and watched venom and do rate the character a lot. But it works best as a mirror for spiderman.

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  5. I predict over an hour of just tentacles and talking, and then he won’t actually fully turn into Venom until almost the end, and even then he’ll rip that “mask” off within 5 minutes so we can all see his face again.

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    1. Rothman boasted that they did remember to put Venom in their Venom movie, but this trailer doesn’t really answer exactly how much of Venom we’re going to see. I’m guessing your take on how it will play out is probably spot-on. I just wonder if this is a creative choice or budgetary because this movie looks a lot cheaper than I was expecting.

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      1. I couldn’t help but think of The Darkness game from a decade ago with all those goofy black tentacles flying around.

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