Full disclosure: I love me some Venom. Barring Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3, Venom can do no wrong in my eyes. On a cerebral level, I adore the concept of how this black alien symbiotic being is made to mirror Carl Jung’s idea of the “Shadow”. The Shadow being an unconscious aspect of the self that can represent our repressed impulses and the worst of human tendencies but is also a source of infinite creative expression and brilliance. Which is exactly what the Venom symbiote has done to its host! I adore Donny Cates’ current comic book run of Venom, fleshing out the character’s rich and fascinating mythology from alien to cosmic to straight up involving primordial gods!
Oh and most importantly, the design of the character is just so damn cool. Everything from the way its elegance in simplicity with the suit just being a mass of black but also leaving enough room for some truly insane appendages and horrors to be extended. It’s like Venom’s body is a canvas for Eldritch terrors to pop out off! When Venom gets mad, that shit is freaking Lovecraftian. Then, there’s that symbol on his chest made to be a mockery of everything Spider-Man stands for. Oh my gosh, I love me some Venom.
So you can only imagine my elation when I heard that my boy would be making his way into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) beside Tom Holland’s Spider-Man in future films. Then I found myself confronted with a rather prickly question. Now, I know for sure I want Venom to be in the MCU but do I want Sony’s Venom to be in it? That’s a tough one.
Regarding Tom Hardy’s Venom
Against all odds, 2018’s Venom managed to become a huge commercial success, earning back around eight times its revealed budget! A lot of us, myself included, expected the film to fail. Personally, I saw the whole thing as one big joke (which it still is), a sort of middle finger to Disney’s Marvel from Sony. And then…we saw the official trailer. Holy shit, was it something else! Right off the bat, it tried to set this sombre tone that the awkward dialogue and disjointed editing immediately betrayed.
All this before becoming utterly laughable with Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock behaving more akin to a mentally challenged man than that of a brooding anti-hero struggling with his inner demons. Come on! “If you’re going to stay, you will only hurt bad people.” What the hell kind of line is that? It’s hilarious but mostly in an ironic so-bad-it’s-good kind of way. Nonetheless, I was sold. I made it a point to watch the film upon premiere night and it was every bit as cheesy bad as I expected it to be…and I loved it.
Setting the boring plot and Venom mythos aside, I thoroughly enjoyed Tom Hardy’s performance as Venom. There is just such a wonderful commitment and devotion that the man pours into every single one of his roles. The man’s range encompasses everything suave charisma like his role in Inception to poignant emotional resonance in films like Locke. But the man truly shines however in the realm of bat-shit-off-the-wall lunacy! Films like Bronson, Legend and The Revenant, expose this raw, random and frankly frightening side of Hardy that could snap off at any minute.
Which often results with audiences either greeting it with cathartic laughter or blood-curdling shivers but rarely ever is it met with boredom. Tom Hardy, without a solitary doubt, was the only reason that the film was made watchable. He brings this off-kilter kinetic energy to the character with scenes in which Brock eats a live lobster and barely cooked Tater-tots. So while the film is devoid of any true dramatic merit, Hardy has brilliantly lifted the film up into the realm of commendable physical and absurdist comedy. Is that comedic style, however, complementary to the MCU’s Spider-Man films?
Unlike Deadpool, there’s nothing particularly risque about Sony’s Venom or his brand of comedy per se. Safe for some of the violence but even that wasn’t anything too gory. The main reason why Deadpool we feel should not be in the MCU was because of Reynold’s vision for the character. He’s made to be a parody of the comic book film genre and all the foibles that come with it. So naturally, Disney would have an aversion to taking risks like that. Venom, however, beyond perhaps Hardy’s idiosyncratic performances, is pliant with regards to the MCU.
So far Spider-Man in the MCU is depicted as a more light-hearted and jovile young man in comparison to his more grimmer seniors. Spider-Man: Homecoming show us the tone that Marvel Studios is trying to establish for future films involving the wall-crawler. They’re meant to mostly reflect Peter’s fun, carefree and happy-go-lucky attitude. Which is exactly why I believe Hardy’s Venom would be a great match with Holland’s Spider-Man.
They don’t necessarily need to have a hero-villain dynamic to work out, I mean we’ve seen in the past that Disney has no problem reappropriating certain characters to play different roles. The most obvious example being Tony Stark taking up the role of surrogate uncle/father to a teenage Peter Parker. A role that by all means should belong to Uncle Ben. So instead of having the two go through the motions of fighting one another and rehashing the same old tired plot point, why not have the two of them team up.
Both Venom and Spider-Man each possess their own unique comedic patterns. Spider-Man is a likeable, socially awkward boy who has the tendency to overtalk and make pop-cultural references while in battle. Venom, on the other hand, has a wicked sense of humour, making goofy and yet grim quips before taking out the bad guys. Peter could be the yin to Venom’s yang. Rather than being in conflict, I believe that both characters would complement one another. Perhaps even forming a…symbiotic relationship.
Imagine Spider-Man having to explain to Venom why he can’t go around eating people and Venom showing Spidey how to be tough and intimidating. There’s a lot of material to work with here! As for how Sony’s Venom could actually enter into the MCU, Disney could merely explain this away with multiversal travel. I mean the MCU is planning on fleshing out its multiverse in Far From Home and Sony’s Into The Spiderverse is loosely connected to Venom via multiverse as well. Disney could agree with Sony to make a joint film with Venom appearing the MCU for a bit. As for the villain, the two of them could team up to stop a soon to be assembled Sinister Six. Hell, they could even have Carnage, who was teased in Venom’s post-credit scenes, join the group. Now that would be awesome!
While a few tweaks would have to be made here and there to Venom’s more homicidal traits, I still believe that he would make a great addition to the MCU. It would give Spider-Man an excellent partner for comedic chemistry and utilize some of the odder decisions made in 2018’s Venom to good use. This time the laughs will be intentional. Furthermore, it would add a little more diversity to future Spider-Man films. They already have a buddy-superhero film in Ant-Man and the Wasp, so why not Spider-Man and Venom?